TAMPA, Fla. – Rams head coach Sean McVay has consistently preached that they win as a team and lose as a team. However, after watching Sunday's performance against the Buccaneers, one in which he said the defense made enough plays for them to win the game but the offense did not, changes are in order.
"We've got to really figure out a lot of different things to be able to do," McVay said. "Whether it's different players, whether it's different schemes, different things like that, but this is not good enough. And I have to do better too. I'm a huge part of this. And that's just the reality of where we're at right now."
The Rams offense got the ball back with 1:57 remaining after defensive back Jalen Ramsey's pass breakup in the endzone led to a turnover on downs forthe Bucs. The Rams ran three straight run plays but were unable to pick up the first down and forced to punt from their own 13.
That put the Rams defense back into the position of having to stop a potential game-winning touchdown by the Bucs as the Bucs worked with a short field.
"I thought our defense did enough to be able to win that football game," McVay said. "Clearly, offensively, not even close to good enough."
The Rams generated a pair of explosive pass plays via a 69-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford to wide receiver Cooper Kupp as well as a 34-yard completion from Stafford to Kupp. However, on 8 of their 12 offensive possessions – excluding the 13th and final one with nine seconds left in the game – were 3-and-outs; they converted just 4 of 15 third downs while the Bucs were 9 of 21.
"We made a couple of big plays in the passing game, but just my biggest frustration was our inefficiency, my efficiency," Stafford said. "The whole season, I feel like I've done a decent job of keeping the ball in play, giving our guys opportunity to make catches, kind of keep the chains moving. Hasn't been good enough in a lot of instances, there's no question about that, but tonight, I definitely was just not good enough in some of those instances where 2nd-and-10, maybe 3rd-and-5, and don't give a guy a chance to make a catch to get us out of those third down situations. Just behind the sticks way too much."
When it comes to changes, whether that be scheme or personnel, McVay said that "everything's got to be up for debate." One area that could see adjustments is the offensive line, which had its eighth starting combination in eight games on Sunday as Chandler Brewer got the start at right guard. Asked if he was comfortable with that iteration of the Rams offensive line, the rest of which was filled out with Alaric Jackson at left tackle, Bobby Evans at left guard, Brian Allen at center, and Rob Havenstein at right tackle, McVay said "I think it's hard for me to say that."
Even if the defense made enough plays to put Los Angeles in position to win on Sunday, linebacker Bobby Wagner lamented that they didn't make enough to do so. And to that point, L.A's defense shared some blame with dropped interceptions. Wagner also indicated they could've done more to help the offense.
"I can only speak from a defensive perspective, and so I just think that we need to get off the field, get the offense more opportunities to score, create some turnovers," Wagner said. "We can do more."