The Rams allowed 30 or more points twice last year, which is part of the reason why their defense was seen as the backbone of the team heading into this season.
It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Thursday night’s 35-11 loss to the 49ers was the the third straight game that saw the opposition wind up over 30 points. The Niners rolled up 219 rushing yards on the way to the victory, something that left defensive end Chris Long with a bad taste in his mouth.
“It’s disgusting. It really is,” Long said, via Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com. “That’s not who we are, but if we keep playing like that, that will be who we are. When you give up that many yards in the ground game it’s a lot of things going wrong. We have a lot of things to correct.”
The Rams named Tim Walton defensive coordinator during the offseason, which makes him an obvious target for complaints about the downturn in effectiveness through the first month of the regular season. Long wouldn’t point the finger at Walton, saying that players have to do a better job of fulfilling their assignments but watching the Niners hit screens and draws for good gains made it clear that teams are going to try to take advantage of the aggressiveness of the front four.
Once you get past that front four, there are more problems. The Rams are very young on defense, something that has caused some issues at safety in particular, and cornerback Cortland Finnegan has struggled with both coverage and committing too many penalties this month. In the end, everyone needs to improve since their work adds up to 97 points allowed in the last three weeks and three straight losses for a Rams team that doesn’t look ready to play spoiler in the NFC West yet.