Rams’ record fell to 7-2 with a 28-16 defeat to the Tennessee Titans at SoFi Stadium.
Here’s what we learned from the loss of Aries:
Matthew Stafford sometimes has bad games
Look, we can all agree that Stafford was just as good, and sometimes better, than coach Sean McVeigh and general manager Les Snead thought as they held their breath on the profession that brought him to Los Angeles.
Stafford could very well lead Rams to the LVI Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium. He could be called the most valuable player in the NFL.
But Sunday’s game was another reminder that Stafford was imperfect.
He didn’t look his best on numerous passes, including the one that got intercepted and secured a landing for the Titans. His next pass, made while trying to secure him, was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
“I just need to make the best decision,” he said. “I mean, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I can’t just throw one right in the middle.”
Stafford said the stiffness of the back that distracted him from training last week was not an issue. He appeared to have suffered an ankle injury on Sunday but said he would be fine.
The attack line fought to defend Stafford
Titans line-backs Jeffrey Simmons and Denico Autry constantly invaded Rams’ backfield to fire Stafford, knock out passes and wreak havoc.
Simmons recorded three sacks in the first half. On one of them, he produced enough force to knock down guard David Edwards in Stafford. Autry had 1 ½ sack and hit two passes.
The line was not to blame for every bag. The secondary Titans were closing the receivers, and Stafford held the ball for too long at times.
Don’t let Jalen Ramsey’s star game get lost in a losing streak
Ramsey continues to make the case for being voted NFL Defender of the Year.
The all-star winger ended the Titans’ first possession by intercepting Ryan Tannehill’s pass, setting the stage for a possible landing. But the Rams were forced to settle for a shot for a field goal, which gave them an advantage in the first quarter before Stafford flopped in the second quarter.
Ramsey played and influenced other players all over the field, so the defense played well, but couldn’t get past the offense struggle.
Fines are the most expensive by a dozen
The Rams entered the game as the least penalized team in the league.
They then went out and made the season record of 12 penalties for 115 yards.
Ramsey recorded two penalties. Aaron Donald is different. Both attacks – Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein – were flagged.
The Rams’ previous maximum penalty was seven against the New York Giants, a team so weakened by injuries at the time that the Rams continued to win easily.
Nearly doubling that number against a winning team like the Titans was a formula for defeat.
Von Miller needs at least another week
There was a lot of expectation about how Miller would maintain the Rams’ punch, but the stellar outside midfielder, acquired in the November 1 trade with the Denver Broncos, was inactive as he is still recovering from an ankle injury.
Donald and Leonard Floyd recorded one bag each, while Greg Gaines and Obo Okoronkwo took the other together.
After the game, McVeigh said the Rams would be “smart” about when Miller could play. The Rams will play the San Francisco 49ers on November 15 at Levi Stadium.
“He does everything in his power to be ready to go,” McVeigh said.
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Kicker Matt Gay continued to perform well, making all three field goals, including one from 54 yards. Gay made 17 of 18 shots for the field.
Johnny Hecker averaged 49.8 yards for four antlers. Hecker made one hit within three yards of the line, but the game official announced that it was a touchback because he was knocked down by a player whose foot was in the end zone.
The Rams did not fall victim to the offside strike, ending a two-game streak.
Recipient Cooper Kupp kept catching jerks. But receiver JJ Koski also made his debut as a return punt.