Graphic by Rachel Wong
Well, it was fun while it lasted.
After a confidence-boosting three-game win streak, including two division wins against the Cardinals and Seahawks, the Rams have finally fallen back to earth with a 30-19 loss to the Buffalo Bills, thanks to the Bills’ unstoppable offensive attack.
The Rams tried and tried to get their offense going, but struggled mightily throughout the game, with six of their eleven drives ending in four-and-outs. Case Keenum had twice as many passing yards than Buffalo’s QB Tyrod Taylor, but also had two interceptions and zero touchdowns, which was the reverse of Taylor, according to Pro Football Reference.
Granted, while we’re discussing Taylor — I know this is supposed to be about the Rams, but stay with me through this detour — Tyrod Taylor is just a wonderful human being. Yeah, his stats weren’t phenomenal this game, but that’s going to happen when your running back (in this case, LeSean McCoy) has a god-like 150-yard game.
Taylor was simply smart enough to keep feeding Shady. And when he didn’t, Taylor just showed an innate awareness of the game that isn’t teachable. When he saw the pocket collapse — a common occurrence given LA’s inhuman defensive line — he usually seemed to find a quick solution to keep the play moving, whether it be sneaking out for a 22-yard run, or finding WR Justin Hunter in the corner of the endzone. He won’t get too much love because he’s slightly inconsistent and he plays for a small-market team that’s been held under the iron grip of the Patriots, but trust me: Tyrod Taylor is going places.
Now back to our previous program: complaining about the Rams. When Jeff Fisher is still your coach, what else can you do? This week in Fisher’s Follies America’s cranky step-uncle decided to run a fake-punt with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
It failed, obviously.
Normally, I live for aggressive, bold plays like this, but fake punts are the exception, especially near the end of a game. Why not just run a normal play? Do you really think the element of surprise will make up for the fact that your punter usually can’t throw or run well?
The Rams’ defense, normally a strong point, seemed to have a rough go of it as well. The D-Line was able to put pressure on Taylor, but only wound up with two sacks and no takeaways. And just a reminder: LeSean McCoy ran for 150 yards. A top-notch D-Line shouldn’t let that happen. That would be like if the 2000 Ravens let Mark Brunell casually pass for 400 yards.
And for yet another week, Todd Gurley continues to underwhelm. A ho-hum 72-yard, 3.13 yards-per-carry game is par for the course for Gurley, who has yet to top 100 yards this season. For a running back with high expectations, that’s not too hot. He can’t even crack the top-ten for total yards or yards per attempt. It’s almost like saddling a young running back with the task of carrying an entire team is a horrible idea.
Next week, the Rams will travel to Detroit to face the 2-3 Lions, who, like the Bills, aren’t a predictable team. So yeah, no prediction. Sorry.
Alright, fine. Here it is: It’ll be a close loss for the Rams. The Lions aren’t quite as good as the underrated Bills, but their offense is possibly even better, thanks to Matthew Stafford’s incredible year, in which he’s top-5 in the NFL for passing touchdowns. And that’s without modern legend Calvin Johnson. If Tyrod Taylor can make this solid defense look silly, imagine what the Lions will do.
Follow Jackson Hogan on Twitter: @carseatheadrest