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NFC West Report Week 5: Los Angeles Rams

Questionable decisions by Jeff Fisher and a pick-six from Case Keenum had the Rams looking like the Rams we know.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams lost ground in the NFC West this week, falling to 2nd place with a 3-2 record. The Seattle Seahawks were the beneficiaries, taking over the top spot during their bye week.

NFC West standings through five weeks of football.

Week 5 Result: 30-19 loss to the Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Jeff Fisher makes some weird decisions. Only two minutes after passing up an opportunity to tie the game on 4th and goal, instead opting for a field goal, Fisher called a fake punt on his own 23 yard line. The fake punt failed, setting up a two play, 25 yard touchdown drive that sealed the game for Buffalo. These coaching decisions were a major factor in an otherwise very evenly matched game.

The deciding play of the game, however, was a 3rd quarter pick-six thrown by Case Keenum. Tied 16-16, Bills CB Nickell Robey-Coleman returned Keenum’s pass 41 yards for a touchdown, and the Bills never relinquished the lead. The Rams later threatened to tie the game again on a 13 play, 89 yard drive down to the 4 yard line. On 4th and goal, with 5:55 to play, Fisher elected for a field goal, making the score 23-19. The following Rams possession ended with the disastrous fake punt call that gained 2 yards on 4th and 5. Keenum would later throw a last-gasp interception, but the game was largely out of reach at that point.

Next up: @Detroit Lions (2-3)

This is a fairly winnable game for the Rams. Their offense should have some success against a Detroit defense that simply isn’t very good. The Lions defense is in the bottom third in the NFL in nearly every relevant statistical category. Todd Gurley has a good chance to put up his first 100 yard rushing performance since Week 14 of last season, against a run defense giving up a gaudy 4.9 yards per carry, 31st in the NFL.

The Lions do bring to town a productive, but inconsistent passing attack. After signing with Detriot in free agency, WR Marvin Jones leads the NFL with 519 receiving yards. The Lions also added former 49er WR Anquan Boldin in the offseason. QB Matthew Stafford is on pace for one of the best seasons of his career. The Rams defense will face a challenge with the Lions passing game.

Biggest headlines:

The Rams running game continues to struggle. Gurley averaged 3.1 yards per carry against the Bills, and is at 2.7 per carry on the season. The Rams just don’t seem to have any answers to their run game woes.

The Jeff Fisher Approval Poll dipped to 30% this week, with the highest disapproval rating all season, 19%. Rams fans seem to feel that he isn’t owning the questionable decisions he made in Sunday’s game.

Starting CB Trumaine Johnson suffered an injury on Sunday. The Rams haven’t commented on MRI results, but they did claim CB Dwanye Gratz off waivers from Jacksonville. This might suggest that Johnson could miss some time.