The nightmare season for the Los Angeles Rams continued in Week 11 as they traveled to take on the New Orleans Saints and lost 27-20 to fall to 3-7 on the year.
No one could have envisioned this is how the 2022 season would go for the defending Super Bowl champs but the reality is that their playoff hopes are dead before Thanksgiving after this most recent loss.
It hasn’t happened often this season, but the Rams actually got off to a nice start in this one and took a 14-10 lead into halftime. Even without Cooper Kupp, the Rams found a way to create some offense. Matthew Stafford found Tutu Atwell on a beautiful deep ball for a touchdown and Sean McVay made it a point to establish the run, getting all three of his running backs involved early.
The second half was a much different story though as L.A.’s defense struggled to stop the Saints. Meanwhile, offensively the Rams got away from the run after they started trailing and were never able to recover.
While the Rams’ lack of execution in second halves has been a theme all year, this time it was a little more understandable with the injuries continuing to pile up for L.A.
Stafford suffers second concussion?
Arguably the most important position in sports is quarterback and the Rams have found that out the hard way the last couple of weeks.
Stafford missed last week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals after being placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol. L.A.’s offense, to no surprise, struggled greatly without him in the loss.
The Super Bowl-winning quarterback was able to clear protocols and return against the Saints though and got off to a nice start with 159 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-18 passing.
Unfortunately though, Stafford took a lot of hits throughout the course of the game due to the Rams’ inexperienced offensive line. Those hits added up and Stafford was eventually forced to leave the game in the third quarter with another potential concussion.
Head injuries are not something to mess around with so it is good to see that Stafford and the Rams took it seriously and removed him from the game.
Third-string quarterback Bryce Perkins took over from there though and while he has some duel-threat ability, the Rams’ passing game completely disappeared which allowed the Saints to key in on the run and earn the victory with their offense continuing to roll.
It remains to be seen if Stafford suffered a second concussion or if L.A. was just being cautious, but if it’s the former then it may be best to shut him down for the year to ensure the franchise quarterback does not suffer any long-term damage. At 3-7 and Kupp already out for an extended period of time, there’s no reason to rush back Stafford and potentially risk further issues.
Rams lose linemen on both sides of ball
Stafford wasn’t the only Rams player that got hurt on Sunday as they also lost defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson and left tackle Ty Nsekhe with knee injuries.
The Rams’ offensive line, in particular, has been extremely banged up all season as the team has started 10 different units in 10 different games. It looks like it will be an 11th next week with Nsekhe going down, which is unfortunate as he was actually playing pretty well for L.A.
With so many key players banged up, things may only get worse for the Rams in the second half of the season. Although the playoffs may be out of reach though, hopefully L.A. can use this time to find and establish some young players that can contribute at various positions moving forward in 2023 and beyond.