The Los Angeles Rams dropped their second game in a row Sunday, falling 30-23 to the Philadelphia Eagles at home. It’s the first time they’ve lost consecutive regular-season games under Sean McVay, so this is uncharted territory for them. Their play has been very sloppy on both sides of the ball, and their recent bye week might offer one explanation as to why.
Bye weeks can often be much-needed breaks to rest up and get healthy, or time for struggling teams to regroup. They can also be momentum-halters for teams that are on fire, and the latter appears to be the case for the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams have played their three worst games of the season since the Week 12 bye and they’ve appeared out of sync on both sides of the ball. In 11 games leading up to the bye week, the Rams averaged 35.4 points per game. In the three games since, they’ve averaged 19.7 points per game and haven’t topped 30 points once – something they did in nine of 11 games before the bye.
While the game against the Lions was a little sloppy, it ultimately turned into a win. The loss to the Bears was excused by the hostile road environment and cold weather, but there really was no excuse for what happened Sunday night. The Eagles were in disarray before this game, then suddenly looked like world beaters against the Rams.
Something clearly changed over the bye week, as the Rams have followed up their biggest win of the season over the Chiefs with three straight duds. The Chiefs have also looked considerably less impressive since their Week 12 bye, so maybe there really is something to the halted momentum theory.
Besides Jared Goff, the most notable regression has come in the offensive line. The entire unit had gotten into a real groove this season and was looking like the top line in football. Without losing any of the starters, the group has somehow crumbled and looked like a shell of itself.
It’s often said that offensive line play looks the worst at the beginning of the year because linemen take longer to knock off rust and get back into the swing of things, and perhaps the bye week hit a reset button of sorts. If that’s the case, then ostensibly the line should get better and better as the season draws to a close.
The current situation feels very similar to what happened to the Rams in the playoffs last year. The Rams had a ton of momentum and had already locked up the NFC West, so they rested all of their starters in Week 17. When they played the Falcons in the playoffs the next week, the team looked noticeably rusty and it appeared the time off had adverse effects.
The Rams also famously sat their starters the entire preseason this year and didn’t look their sharpest in Week 1 against the Raiders, letting a very bad Oakland team hang around until the very end. Clearly, the evidence suggests that this Rams team has some trouble shaking off rust, and that should overall be viewed as a good thing.
If that’s the case, then the Rams should only improve from here on out as they get further and further away from the bye week that completely killed all their momentum.
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News