The Los Angeles Rams are 7-3, with losses to the Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers.
But specifically, the Rams' shortcomings against the Cardinals and 49ers were both separated by three scores – a margin that many would consider a blowout loss. So what is the underlying factor that resulted in L.A. being routed?
Surely, there's not one thing to point towards. But there is one common theme. And that's the ground and pound running attack that the Rams were beaten by.
The Cardinals ran the ball 40 times for 216 yards in Week 4 and the 49ers ran the ball 44 times for 156 yards last week.
The formula to beat the Rams has been presented to the league, and L.A. must respond following their bye week as teams are going to attack their run defense – an area they're most vulnerable at.
The Rams' best run defender Sebastian Joseph-Day, suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in Week 7. Last week, as the 49ers slammed the ball through the Rams' defensive front, Joseph-Day's efforts in anchoring the interior of the defensive line were desperately missed.
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The way the Rams' defense is constructed, their star players are suited to affect the passer. While Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd can all play the run in addition to the pass, their best traits are getting upfield and applying pressure on the quarterback when he drops back to pass. Jalen Ramsey, while he's one of the better tackling cornerbacks in the league, his best trait is his coverage ability.
When opposing teams run the ball 40-plus times per game, it unequivocally limits the Rams' defense in doing what they do best. And unless the Rams can prove they can stop the run, opposing teams are going to continue running it.
The Rams currently are on their bye week and a clear point of emphasis should include how they can better stop the run at a more efficient rate. They need more from the inside linebacking core that includes Troy Reeder and Ernest Jones.
The Rams traded linebacker Kenny Young ahead of the NFL trade deadline, meaning they were confident in Reeder and Jones moving forward. Now is their time to step up as Reeder and Jones – along with the defensive line – must make improvements down the home stretch or the Rams' are presumably going to see a similar approach from opposing teams as they saw on Monday night against the 49ers.
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