Wouldn’t people, just a few weeks ago, even mention the distant possibility of a Rams Chargers Super Bowl without laughing from the audience?
The Rams have lost three in a row, including Sunday 36-28 at Green Bay. The Chargers lost four out of six, falling in Denver, 28-13.
Heading towards the NFL regular season stretch, these teams are stuck in a parking lot with no patch cables.
Yes, there is time to recover, but these days local teams put L and A in BLAH.
Let’s start with the defenders. Two stars. Both teams played a decisive role in their runaway start, at some point even in duels with the most valuable player candidates: Matthew Stafford’s Rams hit the net 7-1 and Justin Herbert’s Chargers open 4-1.
Both Stafford and Herbert watched in horror on Sunday as their intercepted transmissions returned for touchdown. Stafford was set on fire by six picks for three games in a row. This season was supposed to be Stafford’s escape from Detroit.
The last three games have shown that Stafford is not so much a surgeon who makes his short passes accurately, but a tough guy with a huge hand who, at his best, makes those big top-down shots. At least two of his throws, although they were not intercepted, tickled the fingertips of the Green Bay defenders.
All this talk last week about a broken toe of Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers, and yet in this game the Rams were at their best. Two lost groping and interception.
It is very difficult to organize the passage of the game without the threat of being able to launch. Try as they might, the Rams were unable to muster enough ground play against the Packers to quickly launch a passing attack.
In addition, the Rams receive a weekly reminder of the importance of Robert Woods this season due to anterior cruciate ligament injury. Newly acquired Odell Beckham Jr. can’t deal with this weakness, and sophomore Van Jefferson isn’t ready for it either, and it allows the defense to impose limits on the very prolific Cooper Kupp.
In the third quarter, Green Bay’s Rasul Douglas stepped forward with a pass to Kupp, intercepted and returned 33 yards for his first touchdown in the NFL.
“Cooper Kupp, hasn’t he gotten about 10,000 yards in eight weeks already?” Douglas joked after the game.
Maybe, but it looks like a different season ago.
Beckham had a 54-yard touchdown Sunday, his first touch with the Rams, but otherwise largely belated, with 27 yards on his four other catches. However, Remus gave up on nothing but money to sign him as a free agent.
It was different with midfielder von Miller. In fact, the Rams rented him for the remainder of the season and gave a sizable amount of money to get him by sending rounds two and three drafts to the Broncos.
Miller had three tackles and two assists on Sunday, and when he did get to Rogers, he was tagged for a late shot. And remember, Rogers is playing behind a patchwork attacking line. Once the Rams fired him.
“We’re going to continue to learn from these things, it’s the only thing you can do,” said Rams coach Sean McVeigh, speaking generally about the defeat. “But we have to stop with some of these self-inflicted wounds.”
As in their previous game, losing in San Francisco, the Rams were on the wrong side of the defense. The Packers, like the 49ers, had possession for two-thirds of the game.
The Chargers and the Broncos tied on possession time, but Denver averaged 147 yards on the ground and converted eight of 11 third downs.
In their previous game, at home against Pittsburgh, the Chargers had the worst defense in the league. The Steelers didn’t even try to run, hitting 55 yards in 18 passes, but it wasn’t so much about the Chargers as it was about Pittsburgh’s trashy attack line and the game that turned into a gunfight. The chargers are still the last in the race.
So, in general, rams cannot run, and chargers cannot stop him.
There is little hope on the horizon for the Rams. They will host Jacksonville on Sunday, with the Jaguars losing a 21-14 home defeat to Atlanta.
The rest of the Ram schedule is terrible: in Arizona, Seattle, Minnesota, Baltimore, San Francisco. Now is not the time to grapple with identification problems.
The Chargers have a slightly more attractive finish, but certainly not an easy one: in Cincinnati, New York Giants, Kansas City, Houston, Denver, Las Vegas.
But all this nonsense about a February dream fight between the Los Angeles teams at their home stadium?
This is SoFi, not SciFi.