The Rams Were The Final Nail In Nathaniel Hackett’s Coffin

Written By


sean mcvay

The Denver Broncos were once again America’s football punchline this Christmas.

Made famous by Homer Simpson’s cry, and failures in past Super Bowls, the Broncos had their chestnuts roasted by the (checks list) Los Angeles Rams 51-14 in a Christmas Day beatdown.

It was so horrible that the Broncos took the unusual, but necessary, step of firing first-year coach Nathanial Hackett on Monday. The ‘Let’s Ride’ Broncos are 4-11, and quarterback Russell Wilson is…he is…he is…Bad. But you can’t fire the quarterback, especially when you’re paying him $242 million, so Hackett has to go.

For the Rams the victory was expected, because you know, they are defending Super Bowl champs and they have star Aaron Donald at defensive tackle, wide receiver Cooper Kupp and quarterback Matthew Stafford. They’re loaded and primed for another Super Bowl run.

Or not.

Donald, Kupp, Stafford are all on the shelf. The Rams are 5-10 and playing out the silly string. It was the most unexpected of Christmas gifts for Ram fans and here are 10 reasons why we’re still talking about it.

Farewell, Nathan, We Hardly Knew Ye

It’s never fun when anybody gets fired, seriously. It will happen to us all someday. Hackett made some bad game decisions early in the year, and let’s face it, the Broncos looked like a team that wanted to be anywhere else on Christmas. Hailed as an offensive guru, Hackett’s Broncos were lousy.

His tenure of 15 games is the seventh shortest in NFL history, but then it prompts one of the best trivia nuggets of all time. What’s the shortest tenure for any NFL coach ever? Bill Belichick, one day as the HC of the NYJ. So maybe Hackett will turn up again somewhere and win a bunch of Super Bowls.

Or not.

37 And Counting

The 37-point differential on Sunday tied the biggest margin of victory in an NFL game this season, with the Cowboys 40-3 win as the other. Still, the 5-10 Rams, have a point differential of -53 this season which ranks last in the NFL.

Big Win

The Rams 51 points ties the 10th most points ever scored by the Rams in one game, and it’s the most points they’ve scored since that epic 54-51 Monday Night Football game against the Chiefs back in 2017. It ties for the 1 6th biggest win (by margin of victory) for the Rams all time.

Big Loss

If there is a winner, well, then there must be a loser. Yes, the Broncos had had some notoriously bad losses (Super Bowl XXI, Super Bowl XXII and Super Bowl XXIV), but this one goes in the books as their 12th biggest loss in franchise history. Sadly, sorry Broncos fans, the 55-10 loss in Super Bowl XXIV is still the worst, for obvious reasons.

Together Again

The Rams and Broncos have now played 15 times and the Rams lead the all-time series 10-5. The 51-14 win was the biggest margin of victory ever in the series. The previous high was 21 points back in 1997 when the Broncos beat the St. Louis Rams 35-14. John Elway threw four TD passes in that game. Russell Wilson is no John Elway. I think we can all agree with that.

What’s That? A Scoreboard?

Entering Christmas, the Rams had scored a pitiful 167 points this season. Then, naturally, (checks list) Baker Mayfield and the Rams carved the Broncos defense up. The 51 points scored by the Rams is now 23 percent of their scoring output for the season. There’s no stat for that, but it has to be the first time a team averaging less than 12 points a game scored 51.

Who’s That Running Back?

Cam Akers, once a Rams hero, then once put on the trading block, ran through open holes for 118 yards and three touchdowns against the Broncos. He came into the game with 441 yards, so basically he increased his season yards by 21 percent in one game.

I’ll Take That…And That

Maybe it was the all blue pants look, but the Bronco quarterbacks sure liked throwing the ball to the Rams defense. The Rams had four interceptions, which is something they have now done 20 times in franchise history. By the way, they are only 19-1 in those games, losing to the Los Angeles Raiders in 1982 even though they had four picks. How does that happen? The Rams franchise record is seven.

How many interceptions did the Rams have before Christmas? 10. So less than one a game to four.

Sack Machines

No Aaron Donald for the Rams on Christmas, but they still had six sacks against the Broncos. (Doesn’t it look like Wilson just lost any sense of the pocket like he had in Seattle? I mean, he looks like a totally different player). They came into the game with 29.

The Fallout

Now the Broncos are back in the hunt for a coach. Where do they go? Dan Quinn? Sean Payton is out there and every team with an opening is going to be after him. The Broncos were recently sold to Rob Walton, yes, Walton of the Wal-Mart fortune, so money isn’t going to be an object.

Big picture, the Rams win on Christmas is just a nice footnote for a team that is now 5-10 and still going nowhere this year. But for the Broncos it might represent a major turning point in the franchise’s history depending on where they go from here.