Two consecutive losses in spotlight moments have changed the fortune of the once-fortunate 7-1 Los Angeles Rams.
The two-game slide is already worrying the LA fan base over quarterback Matthew Stafford’s ability to shake off the Detroit demons and keep pace with the loaded Rams (7-3) roster — en route to the Super Bowl.
Observing the 2:4 TD-to-INT ratio in the new Ram’s last two games, Stafford’s skeptics are piling on top of the QB’s errant play.
One fellow quarterback that disagrees with the Stafford critics is Green Bay play-caller Aaron Rodgers. He joined The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday and was unapologetic in calling BS on the mid-season outrage directed at Stafford.
“Those are trash comments. I’m a huge Stafford fan and have been for a long time,” Rodgers said. “We played against him for so many years. He’s one of the most gifted throwers in football, definitely of my generation. I’m a fan. He’s a tough dude and has played through some crazy injuries. I’m a big fan, and he’s having a really nice season.”
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been critical of the team’s defense, while Stafford and the offense have maintained accountability for scoring 26 points combined in the last two games. Los Angeles averaged roughly 30 points per game in the first eight games, trailing only the Cardinals’ air raid atop the League’s best offenses.
After the eight-game run, things came to a screeching halt.
First came Week 9’s Sunday Night Football loss against Tennessee — playing in the weekend’s most-coveted time slot. The 28-16 loss to the Titans, sans Derrick Henry, could have been an indictment on the Rams defense, but Stafford’s two hard-to-stomach turnovers shifted the pundits’ attention his way.
Then came the Week 10 Monday night blowout loss, dealt by the San Francisco 49ers, 31-10. In this case, the offense’s struggles carried several storylines that could have foreshadowed the meager 10 points put up by LA days before game time.
Losing veteran wideout Robert Woods to an ACL injury was a critical loss. At the same time, the addition of Odell Beckham, Jr. signaled potential issues for the offense to include him in the game plan as soon as possible, which they could not do.
Cooler heads will ultimately prevail in Stafford’s case. The new starter has already played like an improvement over former Rams QB Jared Goff: tossing 24 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Through 10 weeks, Stafford still leads the league in passing yards (3,014) and has given Rams receiver Cooper Kupp a nearly 300-yard lead in receiving yards (1,141) this season over runner-up Tyreek Hill (855).
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela