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5 Takeaways From the Rams' Week 9 Loss to Titans

What are the main takeaways we learned from the Rams' Week 9 game against the Titans?

The Los Angeles Rams got embarrassed on Sunday Night Football as the Tennessee Titans went into L.A. and delivered a beatdown, 28-16. They did it without the services of star running back Derrick Henry, who looks to be out for the season with a foot injury. The game was basically over at halftime after Tennessee scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to go up 21-3 at the break.

Here are five key takeaways from the Rams' Week 9 loss over the Texans:

1) Matthew Stafford had his worst game of the year

This was flat-out ugly from Stafford. He had two interceptions in the first half on back-to-back passing attempts that were both very uncharacteristic of him. One was thrown while he was getting tackled in the end zone as it was basically a prayer. The other interception was returned to the house by cornerback Kevin Byard after Stafford didn’t locate him and Byard jumped the route. Stafford finished with 294 yards, plus a touchdown pass but he needed to be a lot better in this one. Knowing how good he's been this season, this was likely just a one-off but it's still notable given the poor play against a high-level opponent.

2) The defense has to be better

This one may sound weird considering L.A. only gave up 143 yards through the air and not even 100 yards on the ground, but the unit has to come up with critical stops in key moments. The Titans' committee of running backs included journeyman Jeremy McNichols, Adrian Peterson, who's fresh off the street, and D'Onta Foreman, who's been a backup mainly. They only combined for 50 yards on the ground but when L.A. needed a stop inside the five-yard-line, they came up empty. The yards will look good on the stat sheet but 28 points to a Titans team without their best player is still not a great look. Let alone two of the three touchdowns the Titans scored on offense came in the form of their running game.

3) The offensive line didn't get any push

Perhaps the biggest thing none of us saw coming in this game was how poor the Rams' offensive line would fare against the Titans' defensive front. Tennessee's defense was coming in waves and the unit couldn't stop any of them. Stafford was under pressure all game long, and it also affected the run game as well. Darrell Henderson was the team's leading rusher with 55 yards on 11 carries, which isn't good enough. Teams have to run the ball effectively to win and usually, the Rams have been able to do that due to how good the line has been at opening up holes. That didn't happen in this one and when that's combined with poor pass protection, it's very hard for the team to do much of anything offensively. The Rams' offensive line allowed 15 pressures, 10 hurries and five sacks, per PFF.

4) Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp continue to be stellar

It feels like a weekly occurrence at this point with both receivers, but they have been as consistent as ever this season. It continued against the Titans and even though they didn't log a touchdown, both still had nearly 100 yards receiving. Woods this time led the way with seven receptions for 98 yards but was quickly followed by Kupp as he had 11 receptions for 95 yards. They're quickly becoming one of the best 1-2 punches in the NFL as Stafford loves throwing to them in key situations. Kupp especially has seen an increase in targets and yards this year as he can do it all. Want him to catch the short passes? He can do that. Want him to do a crosser over the middle or a deep post? He can do that as well. Kupp has destroyed the narrative that he's just a slot receiver as he can do it all. The Titans didn't have an answer for him or Woods even though they still ended up taking home the victory. That said, look for both players to be dangerous in each game down the stretch for the Rams. 

5) The schedule ahead only gets tougher from here

Next week will be a massive game for the Rams. They play next Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, going head-to-head against a divisional foe. They then have their bye week before taking flight to Green Bay on Nov. 28 to take on the Packers. The schedule then follows by seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, before two monstrous division games against the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. We're about to find out just how good this team is and the quicker L.A. can put this loss behind them, the better they'll be.

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