Sports

Rams Are Exponentially Better With Matthew Stafford At QB

Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half at Lumen Field on October 07, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

 

The Los Angeles Rams were already a playoff team last season, thanks to talented players on both sides of the field.

They had rookie running back Cam Akers, who finished with 625 yards and two touchdowns.

Likewise, receivers Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Van Jefferson were fielding balls downfield.

Meanwhile, they had the top-ranked defense in the league led by three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

Leonard Floyd was the second sting of the Rams pass rush while Jalen Ramsey shut down the other team’s best receiver.

Safety John Johnson ensured that opponents would not generate significant gains.

The Rams defense punished the Seattle Seahawks offensive line to win their Wild Card match-up.

Unfortunately, they did not generate enough points against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round.

Jared Goff finished with 21 completions for 174 yards and a touchdown pass to Jefferson.

However, Aaron Rodgers outplayed him with 296 yards, two touchdown passes, and a rushing score.

Those numbers tied Rodgers with Brett Favre for the most playoffs games with a passer rating of at least 150 by a Green Bay quarterback.

It’s also his 12th playoff game with 250 passing yards and two touchdowns, tying him with Joe Montana for second-most in NFL history.

But Goff’s struggles started way before that game, leading head coach Sean McVay to contemplate a change at quarterback.

Goff’s stock dropped further when John Wolford threw for 231 yards in Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals to clinch their playoff spot.

McVay was adamant in boosting their offense even if Goff is in the second year of a four-year, $134 million contract.

Therefore, he acquired long-time Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford via trade.

The results are worth it even if the Rams surrendered a king’s ransom of picks.

 

Rams Trampling Over Opponents On Offense

The Rams defense remains one of the NFL’s best by limiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 24 points and the Seattle Seahawks to 17.

However, it’s on offense that they made the big jump.

Stafford has no hesitation in making big throws to maximize his receivers.

In their season opener against the Chicago Bears, Stafford threw for 321 and three touchdowns.

He had 278 yards and two touchdowns versus the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.

But he was at his best when the Rams faced the defending Super Bowl champions.

The 2011 Comeback Player of the Year completed 27 passes for 343 yards and four touchdowns.

One of those scores was a 75-yard throw to DeSean Jackson.

Even in their loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams offense generated two touchdowns to Woods and Jefferson.

Stafford went back in top form versus the Seahawks with 365 yards and a touchdown.

His arrival also benefitted Kupp, who leads the league in receiving yards with 523 and touchdowns with five (tied with DK Metcalf).

Kupp already has two 100-yard receiving games, including a 163-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Colts.

He also has games of 96 and 92 yards against Tampa Bay and Seattle, respectively.

Overall, the Rams offense looks like the well-oiled machine that McVay envisioned them.

Their average yards per game jumped from 377 in 2020 to 408.2 in 2021.

Los Angeles’ passing attack improved from 250.9 to 310.2 yards per game in one year.

Gone are the days when the Rams offense was the liability every week.

Instead, they are a significant reason for their early success.

The Rams will look to continue their hot start against the New York Giants in Week 6.



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