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Cam Akers Strong Showing Overshadowed By Rams Loss to Saints

Despite a controversial start to the 2022 season, Rams running back Cam Akers has once again begun to demonstrate his prowess as the team’s potential lead back.

It is clearly not the best of times for the 2022 Los Angeles Rams.

The defending Super Bowl champions have dropped to 3-7 on the season after a 27-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Caesars Superdome. It was Los Angeles’ fourth-straight defeat, continuing their descent into last place in the NFC West … a division which by preseason consensus was expected to be theirs.

Though the Rams’ offensive prospects are currently bleak, especially with quarterback Matthew Stafford continuing to be evaluated for a head injury, their struggling running game did show signs of life on Sunday.

Despite failing to secure the win, the Rams rushed for a season-high 148 yards. Enigmatic back Cam Akers led the way with 14 carries for 61 yards, followed by backup quarterback Bryce Perkins rushing for 39 rushing yards on five carries. Reserve running back Kyren Williams also carried the ball seven carries for 36 yards.

While Los Angeles may find some silver lining in their balanced running attack from Sunday, they are likely to be most encouraged by Akers’ apparent return to the top of the depth chart.

Akers’ struggles throughout much of 2022 have been well-documented. Despite reports of his dissatisfaction with his role in the Rams’ offense and his highly publicized trade request, Akers remained on the roster through the trade deadline. Though he has been slow to return to form, he ran with power and purpose on Sunday, clearly demonstrating a desire to improve in spite of the Rams’ Week 11 loss.

“Obviously we didn't get the result we wanted,” Akers told reporters after the game. “ We ran the ball better today. Just got to work on finishing."

After missing nearly the entire 2021 regular season with a torn Achilles, Akers was expected to fill the lead-back role for the Rams this season. It was a duty that he had held since his rookie season of 2020, in which he was chosen as the 52nd overall pick in the second round. Akers finished the year having compiled 625 yards on 145 carries with two touchdowns.

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In 2021, Akers returned from his Achilles injury in time for the Rams' run to their championship victory in Super Bowl LVI. In the Super Bowl, Akers had 13 carries for 21 yards and 3 receptions for 14 yards in the Rams' 23-20 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. Still, har largely underwhelmed in the playoffs, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry.

Still, the Florida State product took advantage of his opportunities against the Saints by tying his season high in rushing yardage. Over the past two games, he has carried the ball 20 times for 83 yards, showing marked improvements in his efficiency.

If Akers continues to impress coach Sean McVay and the Rams' offensive brain trust, he may once again secure the top role for the team’s Week 12 road matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Follow Mike D’Abate on Twitter @mdabateNFL

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