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McVay: “This Loss is On Me"

McVay: “This Loss is On Me"
Myles Simmons
RAMS INSIDER

CHICAGO — This was not the Rams night.

This was a night where Los Angeles had only 214 yards of offense. Only 14 first downs. Only six points.

A night where quarterback Jared Goff threw four interceptions, setting an ignominious single-game career high. Prior to this night, he’d only ever thrown at most two picks in a game as a pro.

And this was also a night where head coach Sean McVay took responsibility for all of it.

“I’ve got to be better for our football team, but this loss is on me,” McVay said postgame. “I didn’t do nearly a good enough job for us today and I trust that we’ll respond the right way.”

This is something McVay has done for each of the Rams’ regular-season losses since he took over as head coach last year. But this was as self-critical as McVay has ever been — likely because this was as ineffective as the offense has been in his tenure.

“I’ll tell you this, when I’m looking at it in terms of some of the intent, what we were trying to do with a lot of things, I know this — I did not put our guys in good spots and that’s something that I have to better within the framework of my role and what I can control,” McVay said.

Indeed, this is the only time since the start of the 2017 season that Los Angeles has failed to score an offensive touchdown in a game. In fact, according to ESPN Stats and Info, this is only the second time in McVay’s 79 games as an offensive coordinator or head coach that his offense didn’t put the ball in the end zone.

And that’s part of what makes the numbers look so odd for this particular contest.

“I’d like to say no,” McVay replied when asked if he’d imagined there would be a game where his offense didn’t score a touchdown, “but certainly this is a humbling league and either you learn from it — you’d love to play consistently well week in and week out, but tonight was a humbling experience certainly for me as a coach and for our football team, but I do trust that we will respond the right way.”

But even with McVay’s self-criticism, players didn’t simply let themselves off the hook — particularly Goff.

“We definitely appreciate when he does that, but we need to be better and that’s the bottom line,” said Goff, who finished 20-of-44 passing for just 180 yards. “We are the ones on the field, we’re executing, need to make the plays, just need to do a lot of things better and we will.”

McVay often notes that he’s so self-critical because it’s what he and the rest of the coaching staff asks the players to do. And based on cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman’s postgame comments, that approach seems to be working.

“You just got to go home, look yourself in the mirror … and ask yourself, ‘Did I do everything that I [was] supposed to? Did I give all the effort that I was...
 

Rams lose 15-6 to chicago; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Rams dropped to 11-2 tonight with an ugly 15-6 road loss to the chicago bears. Tonight's loss had nothing to do with the extremely loud bears home crowd and nothing to do with the 29 degree weather, and everything to do with a dominant bears defense and a horrible night for Goff. The Rams were unable to find any method of getting Gurley to be a factor in this game, and that, more than anything else, is the common factor in games the Rams have lost in the McVay era. The Rams offensive woes wasted a solid effort by the defense which intercepted the bears 3 times, gave the offense some solid field position and every chance to win the game with even a mediocre performance. The bears played great defensively and deserve a ton of credit, but there is plenty to be seriously concerned about if the Rams really want to make a run at the super bowl as they are going to face other tough defenses ahead. In fact, tonight's game had many common elements to last week's showing against detroit, with the difference being that the bears are a really good team and the lions are lousy.

The Good

The defense had three interceptions (Peters, Robey-Coleman and Johnson) and twice those interceptions gave the Rams the ball in the red zone or close to it on strong runbacks. The rams held chicago to 19 first downs, less than 300 yards of total offense and 110 yards of passing. Nice sack for Fowler/Franklin-Myers early in the game. The defense also played well in the red zone for the most part keeping the bears from getting way ahead while the offense was doing absolutely nothing and hung in there despite the time of possession problems caused by the pathetic offense. This included a stop after the first goff int where the bears had a first and goal at the four and only managed a field goal. In short, while the defense could have done better against the run, the defense absolutely played well enough to win if the top offense in the league had even remotely showed up.

The fake punt was effective, although it took a review to prevent the Rams from getting screwed on the spot for the second time this year.
Saffold and Sullivan both made it back into the game after injuries knocked them out for a play or two each.
Leg made two field goals, including a 50 yarder (but see below on the costly miss)


The Bad

Hard to say where to start. The Rams had 14 first downs and only 23 minutes time of possession. Only 214 yards of total offense, about 230 below our average. Four turnovers on interceptions plus a fumble by goff that we recovered. No room at all for gurley to run the entire game and we gave up way too soon on the running game. Gurley wound up with 11-28 and 3 catches for 30 yards. We had 93 yards of offense in the first half and zero first downs in the third quarter. We were also an awful 3-12 on third down.

9 penalties for 57 yards including some terrible pre snap...
 

Tonight's loss- Revelations and Observations

The Rams have enjoyed two back-to-back excellent seasons resulting in two NFC West titles. They've been the deserving recipients of much praise during that time and have made football fun again. That said, some observations must be made.

Though not unexpected by me, tonight's loss was nonetheless disappointing. Credit the Bears, a good team who tonight were better, hungrier, more disciplined and tougher- overcoming a 3 int performance by their QB, who was rusty after a two-week absence, And thumbs down to Sean McVay, who continues to bewilder with his periodic unwillingness to utilize Gurley in the running game. This infatuation with the pass when you have the game's best back is mind-boggling to me. Certainly McVay is intelligent enough to know that play action only works when you establish a running game. Otherwise, the ball fake means nothing and defenses aren't fooled. Tonight, his unwillingness to get Gurley going early hurt the offense. It's almost like McVay overthinks stuff from time to time. And the use of timeouts- including an ugly stretch where we used two of them in a three second span- continues to conjure up images of Mike Martz. We simply have to have a better handle on processing play calls.

Goff, for all of the tremendous strides he's made, still has much work to do. He had the absolute worst game he's had in the McVay regime, looking totally lost and displaying the lack of poise shown in his rookie year. His mistakes were numerous and came in all areas of play. He misfired on numerous throws, missed open receivers, forced balls, showed poor pocket presence and threw 4 interceptions- one of which immediately followed a Rams defensive pick. Goff has regressed the past two weeks, and as we head towards the playoffs, this is a concern. It begs the question "Who is Jared Goff?" Is he a guy who needs everything to be perfect including great protection, a great back, and the weather to succeed? Or is he a guy who can succeed despite adverse conditions? Is he truly a potentially elite QB or simply the beneficiary of a lot of surrounding talent and a brilliant coach? His performance tonight feeds the stereotype of the West Coast/warm climate player: a guy who isn't tough and performs poorly in less-than-ideal weather and with some pressure in his face.

Tonight's game also drove home a point I've made time and again- to the disagreement of some in today's fantasy-driven offensive-minded NFL: Defense is still very important. The high-flying Rams were grounded tonight. And with the big names we have on defense, we have to be able to do this to a New Orleans, a New England or a Kansas City if we see them again.

Moving forward, I want to see improved balance from McVay with Gurley getting the opportunity to establish things early. I want continued improvement from the defense. And I want Goff to rebound from two sub-par weeks of football....

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2018 NFC West Standings

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NFC
W
L
T
Pct
PF
PA
Net Pts
Home
Away
Div
Conf
Strk
RAMS
11
2
0
0.846
425
313
+112
6-0
5-2
4-0
7-2
L1
HAWKS
8
5
0
0.615
340
266
+74
4-2
4-3
2-2
7-3
W4
CARDS
3
10
0
0.231
178
327
-149
1-6
2-4
2-2
3-6
L1
WHINERS
3
10
0
0.231
275
350
-75
3-3
0-7
0-4
1-8
W1

2018 : Next Game

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