The Los Angeles Rams’ worst nightmare came true on Sunday, a trap game against the Miami Dolphins. The Rams fell 28-17 in an offensive collapse filled with almost comedic errors. The only problem was this was no laughing matter for L.A.
Now the Rams must utilize their current bye week and fix the problems they suffered against the Dolphins. Many of those issues fell on certain players that will need to improve dramatically against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. Here is a list of players that will also help the Rams be more consistent if they fix certain issues.
QB Jared Goff
Goff had a ton of yardage in the stat box, but his turnovers made that unnoticeable. Goff had 35 completions on 61 attempts for 355 yards and one touchdown. He had two interceptions and was sacked twice. His first interception helped set up short yardage for the Dolphins offense to score on a short pass in the end zone. One of his sacks resulted in a fumble touchdown while deep in the Miami red zone. This was just after a Rams defensive fumble recovery.
Goff’s situational awareness in the first half was mind-boggling, especially for a fifth-year player in his position. He will need to watch for his pass rushers and make better decisions when letting out the ball or taking a sack. He will also need to improve his throwing accuracy. Several passes were behind or out of reach of his receivers. Goff also seemed to panic in the pocket, much like last season. He has a strong line in front that should help against the Seahawks, though they too need to perform better than what they did against Miami. Goff will need to stick with a scheme that works, but in all fairness that falls on the coaching staff too. Head coach Sean McVay will need to set him up for success on the offense.
K Kai Forbath
Although Forbath just joined the kicking team, he will need to work on his fundamentals. He made both of his extra points but missed one of his two field goals. Forbath made a 23-yarder against Miami but missed a 48-yard field goal. The distance was tough, but it was the approach that was bad. Forbath appeared to awkwardly kick the ball low and wide left. One announcer commented that it was something you would see in pee-wee football. That will need to be corrected quickly, especially facing the Seahawks and other tough teams down the last stretch of the season. It’s clear that replacing Greg Zuerlein is no easy task.
RB Cam Akers
Akers had a tough start to his season after suffering from his rib injury in Week 2. He had a few good bursts against the Dolphins earning nine carries for 35 yards. He also had an impressive 19-yard reception causing several missed tackles. Akers has had trouble in the past few weeks in pass protection. McVay hopes to get him up to speed.
His improvement will carry the Rams running game to a new level. It will allow running backs Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson to substitute frequently when needed and protect Goff in the pocket. The Rams need to rely more on their backs to carry the ball, especially since they showed to have success with it against Miami. They did not seem as dedicated to the ground game as much as they should have been. Akers will add a new dynamic if he steps up and stays healthy.
TE Gerald Everett
Everett has his flashes of greatness and his still an integral part of the Rams offense. He will need to shine against Seattle, and he has a history of doing that. Everett makes incredible catches when he is on his game. He had five catches for 32 yards against the Dolphins. One problem he had last week was clock management. Everett failed to get out of bounds on a play to stop the clock toward the end of the game. Even though the Rams had little chance of mounting a last-minute comeback against Miami, Everett will still help his squad by being more aware. He must also put in a better effort to make his catches. He had several drops in this past game and throughout the season. Again, to be fair, some of that was also on Goff.
OLB Samson Ebukam
Ebukam is a favorite amongst the fanbase, especially after his unforgettable 2018 Kansas City Chiefs performance (along with Everett). The fans are waiting for him to make a big impact in 2020. It would be great to see him shine in the last half of the season once again. He had a few flashes last year, but this season Ebukam really needs to step up and not disappear in each game. So far, he has 13 tackles, half a sack and one quarterback hit for 2020. With Obo Okoronkwo on the injured reserve, improved performance by Ebukam will help the depleted linebacking corps. It has been a worry since the preseason. Ebukam is known to force fumbles, defend passes and make interceptions. He has not had any of those so far this season. He will need a good showing in Week 10, especially with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett running routes for the Seahawks. Pressure on Russell Wilson is crucial.
Bonus Mention: KR/PR Nsimba Webster
Special Teams is not just one person, but Webster is the focus of putting the offense in good field position on punt and kick returns. During a Dolphins punt, Webster muffed one of his catches but recovered it at the Rams 29 yard-line. He currently has 56 punt return yards and 133 kick return yards for the season. Going forward in the next half of the season, Webster will need to improve on his return fundamentals, as well as, take more risks moving the ball upfield. The return team needs a little more spark and not play as conservative.