California's INGLEWOOD — On Christmas Day, the Los Angeles Rams (5-10) defeated the Denver Broncos (4-11) with a score of 51-14, handing them one of their season's easiest victories.
Rusell Wilson was sacked six times, threw three interceptions, and just once reached the end zone—on a touchdown pass to tight end Greg Dulcich in the fourth quarter.
Three touchdowns from Rams running back Cam Akers highlighted a breakout day for both him and the rest of L.A.'s offence.
The Broncos finally felt the roof give apart during a Christmas Day tragedy, but it took 15 games in a lost season. Everything went wrong for Nathaniel Hackett and his employees at the worst possible time.
Hackett, who was under fire, witnessed his team's work, which will have a huge impact on any conversation regarding his future. The attempt was so poorly planned and carried out that it probably destroyed any momentum Hackett had built up in recent weeks. Temperaments broke out on the sidelines as a result of the Broncos' absurd penalties, including Randy Gregory's puzzling personal penalty in the fourth quarter.
Two words to sum up the game: Oh, right. After the game's first play, a lot of things happened, but it only took the Broncos one play to demonstrate that they still lack offensive patience.
When players move the ball, complete drives, and take easy completions, things flow more smoothly. On Sunday, however, Wilson threw the ball to a well-covered Courtland Sutton on the first play. The Broncos punted on the first time after a 1-yard run and incomplete pass, setting the tone for the remainder of the day.
The biggest flaw in the strategy: While hardly an excuse, the injuries to the Broncos cannot be overlooked. The Broncos have had 21 different players go on injured reserve since Justin Simmons did so in Week 2 of the season.
Hackett and the team's offensive coaches continue to call plays for the team they wish was on the field rather than the one that is really on it, despite the offensive line being more vulnerable than most positions. The Rams' defensive front cheerfully pushed through a number of their three-wide formations on Sunday. Two tight-end sets were when the Broncos were at their best, but a national audience was unable to witness it.
QB breakdown: Wilson needs to be honest with himself this offseason, and whether or not he does so will determine whether or not he can recover from a trying season. His first three ball attempts were two interceptions, each of which was a what-were-you-thinking toss that led to a turnover deep in Broncos territory. Momentum-killing plays like his third interception of the game left the Broncos unable to recover. Jeffrey Legwold
upcoming contest: at Kansas City Chiefs (Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET)
Los Angeles Rams
With nine catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns, tight end Tyler Higbee had by far his best game of the season for the Rams' offence during a balanced performance. In Los Angeles' first 13 games of the season, Higbee had not scored, but he also grabbed a touchdown pass on Monday in Green Bay. With Baker Mayfield at the helm, Higbee scored three touchdowns in just two games. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Mayfield is tied for second among quarterbacks with 39 touchdown passes to tight ends since entering the NFL.
Breakdown of the quarterback: Mayfield played his greatest game for the Rams in his brief career, completing 24 of 28 throws for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He did not throw a pick-six.With the exception of one offensive drive, he directed the Rams' offence, which scored 51 points, a season-high total. The second-highest completion percentage of Mayfield's career in a game was 85.7%.
Promising development : Cam Akers is the Cam the Rams hoped for when he returned from his Achilles injury. Akers has had five touchdowns in his last four games after spending nearly a month away from the team as Los Angeles looked for a new place for him to live. Akers gained 147 total yards against the Broncos on Sunday, including 118 on 23 rushes for three touchdowns and 29 yards from two receptions. With six rushing touchdowns in December, Akers has the most in the NFL. In his first combined 23 games of his career, he scored three touchdowns on the ground.
Football complementarity is a promising trend number 2. In the first quarter, the Rams scored two scores after interceptions. They have only done that once this season before entering the contest. The Broncos defence was superb going into the game, allowing an average of 18.1 points per game, third fewest in the league, despite the offence having multiple short fields. 17 points were scored by the Rams in the opening frame. This was only the fourth occasion the Broncos have given up points on a team's opening drive, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and the first time this season that they have given up more than seven points in the first quarter. Sara Barshop
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next contest: at the Los Angeles Chargers (Jan. 1, 4:25 p.m. ET)
Courtesy - Espn.in