Yes, Los Angeles should make the postseason. Yes, their contender status has been revoked.
This was the Rams team that looked like they could beat anyone. They were ready for the postseason. On Sunday, that dream ended with a 23-20 loss to the New York Jets. Yes, you read that right, the winless Jets took down a team that defeated Tampa Bay and Seattle weeks before.
What nightmare episode of the Twilight Zone is this again?
The Jets were so busy arguing on what jersey Trevor Lawrence would look best in that they let Sam Darnold do enough to get by. He had a season-best 71 percent completion rating and didn’t commit a turnover.
The Rams had every incentive to win heading into Week 15. At 9-4, the team was a game away from taking sole lead of the NFC West. Better yet, thanks to a victory by the Kansas City Chiefs, they could have gained ground for best record in the NFC.
But no. Too little, too late for the club out west. They were outplayed, outmatched and even outcoached for most of the 60 minutes in Inglewood.
Can the Rams return to glory?
Everything positive from the week prior disappeared in a matter of minutes. The Rams had over a week to prepare for a winless club and were given home-field advantage. A similar game plan to the one they used against New England would have likely sealed a win.
Cam Akers broke free on Thursday Night Football with a 171-yard performance. He tallied 63 yards and only saw half as many carries. Jared Goff, who’s best used as a game-managing option to chew down the clock, threw 34 times.
Two touchdowns and one of the worst interception of the year later, it led to three credited scores for the Rams’ quarterback.
The defense did enough to get by, holding New York to under 300 yards on the day. Three times the Jets came knocking in Rams territory and the front seven made them settle for field goals.
In the end, it didn’t matter. New York was close to winning twice this season, so a victory was in their future. Unfortunately, it had to come against a team many believed could win it all.
Los Angeles could have clinched a playoff berth Sunday. No, they should have. Now, they’ll wait another week to face Seattle and hope the division title is still up for grabs. But really, does it matter now? Any team who can’t be the Jets certainly isn’t going to be hoisting a Lombardi Trophy in February.
The Rams fooled everyone into believing they were a contender. In reality, they truly just fooled themselves.