(CBSLA/CBS Local) — What’s wrong with the Los Angeles Rams? After a 3-0 start, with nice wins over the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, the team seems unable to keep opponents out of the end zone. Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped an embarrassing 55 points on them in Week 4. Russell Wilson ducked and scooted his way to 30 more for the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5. With the undefeated San Francisco 49ers next on the schedule, the team is left looking for answers.
Fortunately for the Rams, the offense continues to put up yards and points. Jared Goff threw for 517 yards two weeks ago and 395 yards last week. Cooper Kupp has had back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. Goff’s showing in Seattle included a nifty last-minute drive to put them in field goal range. If Greg Zuelien’s attempt had sailed a few yards to the left, the Rams would’ve left town with a win. And that loss to the Bucs would seem more like a blip than the start of a trend.
Unfortunately for the Rams, despite their offensive production, the defense has been exposed. That seems surprising, given that Aaron Donald, among the League’s best defenders, anchors the line. But he can’t do it alone. According to Steve Smith Sr., analyst on Inside The NFL, “Aaron Donald is getting double and triple-teamed, so other guys have to step up, which they are.”
But they’re having issues in pass coverage lately. With Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib at the corners and the addition of Eric Weddle at safety, the Rams were projected to have one of the NFL’s better units. And that seemed to be the case early in the season. But they’ve given up four TD passes in each of the last two weeks. “What is really getting them in trouble is their secondary,” observed Smith. “The secondary is not as good as they were last year, and they are having some struggles. And the new pieces have not stepped up in the way that they thought they would.”
That secondary and the rest of the defense will have another chance to prove themselves this Sunday, when they host the still undefeated San Francisco 49ers.
You can catch Steve Smith Sr. along with Ray Lewis, Phil Simms and host James Brown when Inside The NFL airs tonight at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on Showtime.