Doomed by a lifeless offense that was missing three of its best players in Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Allen Robinson, the Los Angeles Rams held their own in a Week 12 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Granted the scoreboard suggests Sunday’s game was a complete blowout, but the truth is, it was much closer than it could’ve been. In fact, if not for the Rams’ red zone defense, the Chiefs would’ve won by at least 30 points.
Entering Week 12, the Chiefs ranked third in the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage, finding the end zone on 72.1 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line. They scored touchdowns on 31 of their 43 red zone trips.
All things considered; you could not have asked much more of the Rams’ defense in the first half. The unit held Kansas City to two field goals in the red zone and only allowed 13 points.
“We fought pretty hard,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “I felt like we gave ourselves a chance. That’s a good team. They were in the red zone a couple of times, and we were able to keep them out of the end zone. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
Against the Rams, the Chiefs went 1-for-6 in the red zone, scoring one touchdown and four field goals, while turning it over once.
That turnover was an interception from safety Nick Scott. On a third and goal play from the six-yard line, Patrick Mahomes attempted a no-look pass to his star tight end, Travis Kelce, but ended up throwing it right at Scott’s chest.
In addition, Scott blasted Chiefs rookie running back Isaiah Pacheco in the red zone.
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In the second half, the Chiefs basically lived in the red zone. They ran 17 plays in the red zone during the fourth quarter alone, yet they didn’t score on a single one of them. The Chiefs settled for field goals on their next two possessions after Bryce Perkins threw interceptions.
“The defense did an amazing job being able to get red-area stops,” said Sean McVay. “Proud there. The guys just did a great job. Outstanding ability to make them snap it one more time, relentless pursuit of the football. I thought we were cleaner in our execution on the communication from the front to the back, on all three levels of the defense.”
It’s pretty significant that the Rams only gave up two touchdowns to the Chiefs all game long, and one of them was a 39-yarder to Kelce in the first quarter. Sure, they gave up 437 total yards, and five pass plays of 20-plus yards, but this was a classic bend-don’t-break defensive performance.
The Rams will look to take that defensive effort with them back home for Week 13 when they host the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium.
You can follow Kevin Tame Jr. on Twitter @Kevin_Tame
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