Sean McVay’s sharp offensive mind took the league by storm when he was hired as the Rams’ head coach back in 2017. He is a disciple of the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan. McVay’s offense is mostly run out of 11 personnel, with one running back, one tight end, and three wide receivers.
A staple of his offense is the wide zone run. On a wide zone run, each offensive lineman runs in the same direction horizontally. This forces defenders to try to outrun the offensive linemen to their marks. If the defense flows too aggressively with the offensive line, it creates wide-open running lanes for the running back.
Of course, a great scheme is only as great as its personnel, which unfortunately for the Rams hasn’t been very good in 2022. They have the last-ranked offensive line in the NFL per Pro Football Focus and rank second-to-last in rush yards per game. Earlier this week L.A. made a puzzling decision to release Darrell Henderson Jr. who led the team in rushing yards and yards per carry.
The Rams’ passing game hasn’t been much better. After having one of the best seasons of his career in 2021, Matthew Stafford is averaging just 6.9 yards per completion and only has 10 touchdown passes this season. He is the third-most sacked quarterback in the NFL and the lack of an effective running game hasn’t done him any favors.
Stafford will miss this game with a neck injury, meaning the Chiefs will most likely face third-year quarterback Bryce Perkins. Perkins has spent most of his career on the Rams’ practice squad. He filled in for Stafford when Stafford went down late in the fourth quarter last week. Perkins is an athletic player who can make plays with his legs but struggles with throwing mechanics.
The Rams will also be down their All-Pro receiver Cooper Kupp. Their top receiver in his place is now Allen Robinson, who has been a disappointing acquisition for L.A. thus far. His big-play ability has diminished, and he is averaging only three receptions per game.
With how bad the Rams’ offensive line is, the Chiefs could get pressure on the QB by rushing only four defenders. That would allow them to drop seven in coverage and create opportunities to force some turnovers, which they haven’t done much of this season. The Chiefs have been stellar against the run and should have the athleticism to control the line of scrimmage against the poor L.A. rushing attack.