Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Steelers Beat Rams 17-12

Team Suffers Multiple Injuries

 

November 14, 2019

George Laase

Rams linebacker Clay Matthews returned to the starting lineup last Sunday at Pittsburgh against the Steelers after being out a month with a broken jaw. The Rams lost the game 17-12.

Trouble in Tinseltown? A mere nine games removed from Super Bowl LIII, The Los Angeles Rams are dealing with their first real crisis in the Sean McVay era. Having two weeks to prepare for a Pittsburgh Steelers team that had been compromised, the Rams offense failed to show up. McVay is getting outcoached and quarterback Jared Goff's form is steadily regressing.

The Rams lost a lot more on Sunday than the 17-12 scoreboard indicated, their offensive front line took a big hit. Center Brian Allen had an MCL injury on his left knee and will be out for the rest of the year. Right tackle Rob Havenstein will miss at least two weeks due to a meniscus injury to his knee. Other injuries: Defensive back Darious Williams injured his ankle and is likely out for a couple of weeks.

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks is still recovering from a concussion he suffered in Week 8 but is asymptomatic. He will not play this weekend and will be reevaluated next week. With the Chicago Bears and their defensive front line visiting the L.A. Coliseum this Sunday at 5:20 p.m., the Rams' season is literally on the chopping block.

McVay on the offensive line changes: "I thought Austin Blythe did a nice job at center. He'll step into that position. Austin Corbett did some really good things at that left guard spot. Then I thought, before he ended up having to transition out to the tackle spot, David Edwards did a nice job at right guard."

"As far as the tackle position, exactly how we fill that void from Rob, you could at the Bobby Evans, some other options. Ultimately, it's about putting together the best five. But, in a lot of instances, you prefer to not necessarily feel like you're falling off at two spots, but just one if all things are equal. We'll kind of navigate through that over the next 24 hours."

Regardless of the front line's condition, the play of Goff and the offense is a major concern. They have yet to put together one complete solid performance this season. Against the Steelers it sunk to a new low. The offense failed to produce a touchdown in 15 drives at Heinz Field and produced one measly 30-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein late in the third quarter.

Goff has not been able to put the ball into the end zone for 19 consecutive drives going back to the win over the Cincinnati Bengals in London two weeks ago. Once again, Goff threw the ball over 40 times, a recipe for disaster in his book. He finished 22-42 for 243 yards while throwing three interceptions. A number of his passes weren't close to any receiver.

Goff also fumbled the ball three times, while luckily only losing possession once. He now has fumbled the ball 34 times in 47 NFL games started, an astonishing figure. He's only completed 60.3% of his passes this season, his touchdown percentage is a low 3.1 while his interception percentage is up to 2.5. Throwing 11 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions this season is proof in the pudding.

"I think there was a lot of instances, where offensively, we could of done a lot of things differently," said McVay, reluctant to criticize Goff. "I think he (Goff) would be the first to tell you that just being able to consistently play better throughout the game is something he expects to do."

"He's a big part of what we are going to do and what we need to do to consistently play well on offense. I think he can play better than that."

The Rams biggest failure on Sunday was the inability of the offense to score a touchdown in three drives during the fourth quarter. That's not surprising considering running back Todd Gurley did not touch the ball once after having rushed for 73 yards on 12 carries in the first three quarters.

"I would've preferred to have Todd get into more of a rhythm and maybe get some touches there.' There's nobody to blame there but me," said McVay. "That's where you say in hindsight, I should have done a better of doing that consistently throughout the game."

"I have to do a better job of, and we do is let's be more consistent offensively from an overall efficiency standpoint, so that we know what to expect week in and week out. I think those are things that we're working through. I know our players and coaches alike are motivated to figure out those solutions and work towards getting that done."

On paper, the Rams seem to measure up the Chicago Bears for Sunday Night Football at the Coliseum. The Bears 29th-ranked offense ranks is one of the worst in the NFL. They don't pass or run the ball well, ranking 30th and 28th respectively. They are led by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who ranks 42nd among NFL quarterbacks. Yet, that is three slots ahead of Goff at 45.

However, the 4-5 Bears are coming off a 20-13 win over the Detroit Lions and have yielded the fourth fewest total points with 157. They also have given up 327.3 yards per game, rated ninth in the league. They are led by linebacker Khalil Mack with 5.5 sacks this season and defensive tackle Nick Williams with 6 sacks.

Linebacker Danny Trevathan leads the team with 70 tackles, 50 of them solo. However, Trevathan injured his left elbow Sunday when he chased and took down Lions quarterback Jeff Driskel on a throw-away pass. It's very likely he'll be placed on the Injured Reserve list and won't be playing against the Rams. That's a silver lining for the Rams as they field a makeshift offensive front line for Sunday's matchup.

 

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