Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brian Quick (83) reaches for a pass in the first quarter of the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Here’s three takeaways from the Los Angeles Rams during Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers.
For the fourth game in a row, the Los Angeles Rams came up on the losing end after falling to the Carolina Panthers 13-10 in Week 9. With the loss, the Rams dropped to 3-5 on the season as this team continues to dig a deeper hole in the NFC West standings.
So what exactly has been going wrong with Los Angeles? For starters, the offense continues to be nothing but a disappointment after the Rams were held to scoring just 10 points for the second straight game. Offense was the main concern for Los Angeles dating back to last season, but nobody could have predicted things would be this bad over the team’s first eight games of 2016.
To top everything off, Jeff Fisher‘s hot seat is heating up to a whole new level as the head coach was reportedly told the next four games would determine his future with the organization. If that’s the case, Fisher’s first of the four game audition certainly didn’t help his case for Los Angeles to keep him around.
From struggles on offense to an impressive effort on defense for the most part, here’s a look at three takeaways for the Rams from Sunday’s loss to the Panthers.
Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Eugene Sims (97) sacks Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) in the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Five Sacks on Cam Newton
Most games in which a team recorded five sacks on the opposing quarterback would result in a win, that is unless it happens to be the Rams. Unfortunately, the defense played well for the most part against Carolina, only to see their performance go to waste thanks to the offense of Los Angeles failing to come up on their end.
When looking at all of the weapons the Panthers have on offense, the Rams’ defense deserves plenty of credit for holding them to just 13 points in Week 9. Not to mention when looking at the body structure of Cam Newton, the fact that Los Angeles was able to sack the quarterback five times is simply amazing.
Even though the team has been dealing with numerous injuries throughout the season, the Rams knew their defense deserves to be in the conversation of being one of the best in the league. Turning their season around may seem like a long shot at this point, but let’s hope this solid performance by the defense will at least give Los Angeles some extra confidence moving forward as they prepare for their next game against the New York Jets.
If they can sack Newton five times, imagine what kind of day the Rams’ defense can have against Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein (4) misses a field goal against the Carolina Panthers during a NFL football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Two Missed Field Goals
Despite all of the struggles surrounding the Rams this season, the one positive factor has alawys been Greg Zuerlein in the kicking game. Prior to Sunday’s game, Zuerlein had converted all extra point and field goal attempts, but he came up short on two kicks against the Panthers that could have made a difference in the outcome of the game.
For a kicker that’s been reliable all season, it was frustrating to see Zuerlein miss two field goals in the first half, both of which were from 55 yards out. Not to mention Zuerlein had already been successful on two previous kicks from 50+ yards this season, which makes what happened on Sunday even more frustrating to accept.
When looking at how the Rams only lost by three points, it’s hard not to wonder what would have happened if Zuerlein even converted just one of these field goals. Obviously, the team’s inability to get into the end zone was a major factor, but this is the perfect example of how important field goals can be when it comes to the outcome of games.
Hopefully, this disappointing performance was only a one time thing for Zuerlein, and the kicker bounces back against the Jets.
Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) looks to pass against the Carolina Panthers during a NFL football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Offense Continues to Struggle
How much longer is Jeff Fisher going to go with Case Keenum as the starting quarterback for the Rams? For a quarterback that’s received every opportunity in the world to prove himself as the starter, it’s time to cut the cord on Keenum and give rookie Jared Goff a shot instead.
Just look at how poorly the offense of Los Angeles has played over the last two games with a combined 20 points against the New York Giants and Panthers. Even if the Rams don’t have the best group of wide receivers, Keenum should at least be capable of helping this team find the end zone more than once a game.
Plus, look at all of the money Los Angeles invested in Tavon Austin, who only caught one pass in Week 9, as the wide receiver continues to be nothing but a disappointment on offense. With all of the money he’s making, Austin should be doing whatever it takes to be making more plays on offense.
Instead, Austin continues to prove why he’s nowhere close to being the No. 1 wide receiver the Rams keep trying to make him out to be with only 316 receiving yards over the first eight games.