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Rams

Column: Rams spiraling out of playoff contention with games vs. 49ers and Seahawks ahead

Rams tight end Tyler Higbee is unable to make a catch in the end zone during a game against the Ravens at the Coliseum.
Rams tight end Tyler Higbee is unable to make a catch in the end zone against the Ravens at the Coliseum.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams are corkscrewing into the ground.

And they’re not alone.

Four of the six NFC teams that made the playoffs last season have been colossal disappointments — the Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.

The Rams and Bears are both dead in the water. The only reason the Cowboys and Eagles are still in the postseason hunt is because the NFC East is so lousy.

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Their humiliating 45-6 loss to Baltimore left the Rams with zero margin for error in their five remaining games. It’s almost certainly going to require a team finish at least 11-5 to be in the NFC wild-card mix, and the 6-5 Rams have hit their loss limit.

That means they have to run the table on the remainder of their schedule: at Arizona, Seattle, at Dallas, at San Francisco and a home finale against Arizona.

With the way they played against the Ravens, they realistically could go 1-4 or 2-3.

Yes, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is a generational talent. Yes, Baltimore is on a tremendous roll, having won seven in a row. But capable, self-respecting teams don’t lose at home, 45-6, before a national audience. Those defeats are soul-crushing.

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Unlike last year, when they were so dominant on offense, the Rams routinely stall this season. Running back Todd Gurley isn’t the same — hasn’t been since the NFC championship game at New Orleans — nor is quarterback Jared Goff. The offensive line, so solid and reliable the past two years, is now a series of revolving doors.

And the defense, revitalized after the trade for cornerback Jalen Ramsey five weeks ago, was thoroughly confused by the Ravens.

Goff tried to put his finger on what has gone wrong.

“A million things,” he said. “I think there’s no one thing. It’s just be better consistently. I know that’s easy to say, but it’s the truth. We need to be better down-in and down-out and not kill ourselves with little mistakes, penalties. I can distribute the ball better, we can do different things in the run game. There’s a million things. There’s not one thing, and I think you just have to focus every single day on getting better, trusting the people around you and just do your best.”

Ever try to assemble a huge jigsaw puzzle? How about one with a million pieces? That’s what this feels like.


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