The Los Angeles Rams cruised past opponents during the first two months of the season, but in recent weeks they've encountered two lopsided losses to the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers.
On Monday night, the Rams went into Levi's Stadium for their primetime slate and were pushed around by a more physical 49ers team, who went on to beat L.A. for the fifth consecutive time among their divisional meetings.
Here are five key takeaways from the Rams' Week 10 loss to the 49ers:
1) Matthew Stafford hasn't looked right the last two weeks
Stafford entered Week 10 looking to put his worst performance since joining the Rams from last week behind him. Meanwhile, Stafford kicked off his outing against the 49ers in a similar fashion, throwing two interceptions in the first half – one that bounced off the hands of Tyler Higbee, while the other was a blatant overthrow when targeting Odell Beckham Jr. on the opening possession. Stafford's inconsistency was a problem once again, and while he was without sure-handed pass-catcher Robert Woods, he did have Higbee and Cooper Kupp, two players who've been consistent starters all season. Stafford targeted them 18 times, yet the offense struggled to get going, only fining the end zone once.
2) Rams' pass-catchers must fix the drop issue
Stafford shoulders his fair share of the blame, but he didn't have much held either. Rams' pass-catchers committed five drop passes on Monday night – three of which occurred on 3rd down, stalling a drive. The Rams played the entire game from behind and as the game progressed it appeared players were pressing which ultimately led to these dropped passes. The Rams will head into their bye week where they'll need to ensure this isn't an issue that carries over into the Week 12 meeting they have with the Green Bay Packers.
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3) Rams' inability to stop the run is becoming a trend
The 49ers ran the ball 44 times and there was nothing the Rams could do to stop it. And the worst part was the Rams knew it was coming, yet they had no answers for slowing down the ground and pound running attack. This is becoming a trend among the losses that the Rams have suffered. When the Rams lost to the Cardinals, they topped 200 rushing yards. Last night, the 49ers ran for 156 yards. The blueprint has been set. Opposing teams will perhaps look to run the ball more than they pass against the Rams, taking their premium pass rushers and cornerbacks out of the equation.
4) Rams depth is showing it’s an issue
The Rams have been forced to deal with a multitude of injuries through the first 10 weeks this season. But it's football and injuries happen to every team. Therefore, turning the page and relying on the 'next man up' mentality is what presents itself. The Rams have had to do that, running out the likes of Ben Skowronek at wide receiver and J.J. Koski as the return man. Most notably on defense, the Rams desperately miss Sebastian Joseph-Day after he suffered a season-ending pectoral injury, whose run-stuffing ability would’ve been much needed against the 49ers. The Rams roster construction includes superior starters, however, the depth of the team isn't all that deep. Seeing how the team's rookies and reserve players answer the call when opportunities arise in the coming weeks, will be one aspect to monitor.
5) Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller need more time to get acclimated
When new players are brought aboard via trade or as a free agent in-season, there's an acclimation period that is required. Miller has battled through an ankle injury, limiting his reps in practice while still learning the playbook after joining the team two weeks ago. Miller said after the game, there were times where he didn't know the defensive play call so he just rushed the passer. As for Beckham, he's had just one practice with the Rams, so his understanding of coach Sean McVay's offense was surely not all that extensive just yet. Beckham played 15 snaps, running 11 routes, seeing three targets and logging two receptions. Both of their roles will grow in the coming weeks as they continue to get more familiar with play calls and their responsibilities following the bye week.
More from Ram Digest:
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- Rams CB Jalen Ramsey Receives Fine From the NFL
- Odell Beckham Jr. Details His Decision That Led Him to Sign With the Rams
- Rams GM Les Snead 'Not Concerned' With Odell Beckham Jr.'s Fit Alongside Other Receivers
- Former Teammate John Johnson III Questions Odell Beckham Jr.'s Decision to Join Rams
- Matthew Stafford Weighs in on the Rams Adding Odell Beckham Jr.