by Paul Teetor
The Rams are done. Stick a fork in and place it next to the roast turkey and mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving.
You will be home for the holidays.
There will be no playoffs for them this year.
We have first-hand evidence for these depressing conclusions, premature as they may seem.
It’s one thing to watch a murder or suicide or even a corpse on TV. The raw finality of death is overshadowed by the glare of the television screen, the brilliance of the cathode ray tube bathing the whole carnage in a soft, refracted light that makes it less harsh, less real. Just one more piece of entertainment for the brain dead masses.
It’s quite different to see a murder, a suicide, or even a corpse up close and without a filter. As a seasoned reporter, I’ve seen all three up close and personal.
And let me tell you: It’s not pretty.
I bring up all this CSI: Los Angeles stuff because that’s what happened to the Rams Sunday afternoon: They were victims of a football murder-suicide.
On TV, a viewer wouldn’t understand the full meaning of how bad the Rams have been and how hopeless their near-term future looks.
To understand how it could happen, you had to see it up close and personal with your own eyes.
That’s what All Ball did on Sunday, courtesy of Original Live Oak legend Berdell “Berd” Knowles, the baddest Post player under 6ft tall who happened to have an extra ticket to the Rams 49ers game at SoFi Stadium
We made our way to Inglewood so I could see for myself what’s missing from the defending Super Bowl champions, who limped into their bye week 14 days ago with a 3-3 record that didn’t really reflect how bad they had played, still what an achievement. or the crossroads they now faced after two weeks of rest and recuperation.
This was her last chance to change the downtrend of her season. AAfter all, they’d lost seven straight regular-season games to the 49ers — despite beating them in the playoffs en route to the Super Bowl last season — and San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan has moved into a rent-free adjoining Rams coach Sean McVays feverish, playful brain.
Along with 70,000 other rabid fans, we witnessed the death of the Rams’ hopes as they rekindled them from that glorious day in early February when they won the Super Bowl in that same stadium.
And for this Rams fan at least, it was educational, but also painful and very difficult to watch. They didn’t even look like the same team as last year. Oh sure, they wore the same familiar blue and gold jerseys, but nothing else looked or felt the same.
For the 49ers fans in their red jerseys with Garoppolo, Samuel and Kittle on their backs, it was a non-stop party en route to a 31-14 San Fran win that lowered the Rams record to 3-4 and she killed chances of making the playoffs with more than half a season left.
First crime report observation: As 70,000 fans packed the magnificent $5.5 billion stadium on a glorious SoCal day with bright sunshine and blue skies as far as the eye could see, they split about 50:50 between Rams- fans and 49ers fans up. Right there was an ominous premonition of what was to come.
Second Observation: While some Rams fans still have the “Whose House? Rams House” shout and respond as the faceless voices commanded them to do from the huge, wraparound video panel that dominates the stadium skyline like the mothership in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it was done with a distinct lack of energy and enthusiasm .
Last year it was a cry of faith in the team and its championship destiny with a new quarterback in Matthew Stafford replacing the late and inept Jared Goff. This year it’s been a half-hearted cry of hope and despair as he slowly realizes that Stafford is but a shell of his former self.
As Berd pointed out when I mentioned the difference in tone and intensity in Whose House? Ritual this year: “All those early losses have taken their toll on the fans. How could they not?”
That lethargic tone changed for a moment when the Rams took a 7-0 lead, when Matthew Stafford took a 7-0 lead with a jump into the end zone, and again when Stafford threw Cooper Kupp with a 16-yard touchdown pass hit.
Then came the murder part of the afternoon.
After going into halftime with a 14-7 lead that gave fans hope the season might still be salvageable, the 49ers scored 24 straight points to give a 31-14 lead and the game effectively ending – and the Rams season right there.
But it wasn’t just a murder. In that sense, it was also a suicide: the 49ers new running back star Christian McCaffrey could have become the Rams’ new running back star if they’d only been willing to dig a little deeper.
In that game, McCaffrey recorded the rare trifecta of scoring touchdowns as a receiver, rusher, and passer. He also finished with 183 total yards to give the Rams the final headache in this one-sided NFC West rivalry.
The ironic part is that the Rams were in the running to acquire McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers when the Panthers put him on the auction block three weeks ago. The 49ers offered four draft picks and the Rams didn’t want to match, despite word on the street that McCaffrey would rather go to LA — who wouldn’t? — and the Panthers were willing to send him here if only the Rams would take up the 49ers’ offer.
Meanwhile, the Rams managed just 56 rushing yards while one of their best running backs, Cam Akers, was at home because the team is trying to trade him for “internal” reasons.
Whatever that means.
Also suggesting suicidality: Coach Sean McVay’s insane decision to keep star wide receiver Cooper Kupp in the game long after the decision was made. In fact, just minutes before the end, Kupp injured his right ankle in one of the final games of the blowout loss.
The future looks bleak for the Rams. The offensive line was decimated, with Stafford missing easy shots far left, far right, too high and too low throughout the day, especially in the second half when he seemed tired.
If your passing game is Stafford to Kupp and it is, if your running game doesn’t exist, you’re not going to win many games in the modern NFL.
The Rams finished the game with a measly 223 yards, a pitiful 58 of which came in the second half.
If you watched this game on TV, you might still think the Rams are a potential playoff team and maybe even a viable contender to repeat themselves as Super Bowl champions.
But if you saw it in person, you were an eyewitness to a murder suicide.
And you couldn’t change the channel.
Contact: [email protected]. Follow: @paulteetor. HE