By HCR Staff | Nov. 27, 2019
We went back and watched, in its entirety, the Baltimore Ravens thrashing of the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. And on a second viewing, it was even worse than we originally thought. We were shocked by what we saw, and here is a summary:
Shocker #1 – the entire Rams team seemed to lack fight. Once the Rams went down 14 points, the entire team just seemed to give up. There was no energy, and the body language appeared to give a sense of resignation. This type of response goes straight to the culture being cultivated by head coach Sean McVay. Over the course of the last two seasons, McVay was thrown a lot of bouquets by the national media for his brilliance with the X’s and O’s. This issue, however, goes far beyond that.
Shocker #2 – McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips made virtually no adjustments. Given their pedigree, we would have expected McVay and Phillips to have tried something, anything, to change the momentum in this game and give their team a spark. Neither really made any change in course in tactics or strategy during the course of the game. The Rams were completely manhandled and beaten on both sides of the ball. Every coach, of course, has this type of performance. However, we also saw something similar in the Rams’ performance against the San Francisco 49ers earlier this season. Like the Ravens, the 49ers also completely thrashed the Rams, with McVay and Phillips making little to no adjustments in that game as well. If our observations are correct, this appears to be a troubling trend for this coaching staff.
Shocker #3 – the Rams seemed to be completely unprepared for this game. McVay and his staff appear to simply be doing what gave them success in the 2018 season. In short, there has been little to no innovation in the 2019 version of the Rams. Monday night’s game against the Ravens obviously was very significant for the Rams–a loss would be a significant setback to their playoff hopes. We would have expected some wrinkles on both sides of the ball, but none were forthcoming. It’s as if McVay dusted off a game plan from the end of the 2017 season, when the Rams took the league by surprise. Monday night’s game made the 57 year-old Harbaugh look cutting edge, and the 33 year-old McVay look dated.
Conclusion. Every head coach is going to have bad games, and even bad seasons. It wasn’t that long ago that Harbaugh went 13-19 in a two-year stretch. McVay now is being confronted with the first real adversity in his young head coaching career. We feel he will respond positively, and the Rams will get things turned around. He has tremendous passion for the game, and he also takes great pride in what he does. However, the trend right now is troubling, and we simply would like to see his team show more resilience and effort. A talented team like the Rams simply cannot fold up like they did down two scores in the first quarter of a meaningful game. Again, that goes beyond X’s and O’s, and it’s up to McVay to get it figured out.