LOS ANGELES – A 9-7 overall record is still a winning season and displays a winning percentage that only 12 other teams can claim.
Given the run to the Super Bowl last season and another playoff appearance the year before, though, a 9-7 overall record was not enough for the Rams to meet the high standards they have established for themselves.
They know there's still work to be done, and it starts with addressing what head coach Sean McVay felt was the biggest contributor to how this season went: A lack of consistency.
"I think it's really just getting a chance to step away, be able to really digest everything and look at yourself, number 1," McVay said, when asked what he can takeaway from this season and take into next season from this year. "And figure out, how can we develop consistent processes, standards, so hopefully we can play more consistent week in, and week out."
The Rams had six games decided by seven points or less this season and went 3-3 in those games, leaving them with a 6-4 record across the remaining 10 contests.
On paper, they were one play or scoring drive away from having 12 wins instead of nine, but there were "a lot of things" that led to that single play determining the outcome of those close games, according to McVay. It's one of the things he said he's excited to address at the start of the offseason.
"We talk about that all the time and I think in a lot of instances you make and create your own breaks, where then you end up making those things early on in the season and they can snowball," McVay said. "That momentum is a powerful thing, both positively and negatively. What I did love the most is we didn't let some of the negative momentum which we did face at times continue to snowball. We found a way to kind of gather ourselves and try to respond."
That Los Angeles finished with a winning record despite dealing with an uncharacteristic amount of injuries compared to previous years – the impact of which included having to re-shuffle the starting offensive line as well as the secondary – makes 9-7 a noteworthy accomplishment.
Even so, McVay wouldn't use the Rams' personnel changes this season as an excuse for 2019's shortcomings.
"There's a lot of different reasons that things don't work out, and really until I go back, you look at the entirety of it – I wish I had the answers, otherwise we would have played more consistent probably sooner," McVay said.
When McVay spoke of being more consistent Sunday, he specified implementing processes that lead to the Rams playing at a level consistent with how they played against the Seahawks, a 28-12 victory, and the Cardinals, a 34-7 victory, this month. He said it is his job to do so.
In the immediate aftermath of Sunday's win, though, McVay wasn't thinking about the future but the group he was just with.
"Right now, I'm appreciative of our players," McVay said. "There were a lot of things that we wish could have gone differently, but I think today was about our guys wrapping the season up the right way and I just want to be positive and appreciative of them for that."