Sean McVay Takes Blame For Rams’ Red Zone Woes

Sean McVay Takes Blame For Rams' Red Zone Woes


The Los Angeles Rams beat the Washington Commanders in Week 15 to improve to 7-7 on the season, putting themselves right in the thick of the NFC playoff race.

Despite the win though, there were some things to clean up for L.A. On offense, the team struggled in the red zone, finding pay dirt in just one of three attempts in goal-to-go situations.

Overall on the season the Rams have been pretty good in the red zone, ranking 10th in the NFL in red zone touchdown finding the end zone 60.5% of the time.

The last couple weeks have been a struggle though and head coach Sean McVay took the blame for his play-calling.

“Yeah, the main thing that I was really pissed off about myself was the first down and five call on the first drive of the game,” McVay said. “There are always going to be some things that you can get into, but we had run it really well on the previous play. We had run it really well on that drive. When you take a negative right there, didn’t need to do that. I thought that was a really poor play call that set us behind the sticks. There are a lot of instances of things that you can always do better, but I thought that first sequence in particular that we ended up having to settle for a field goal, the way that our guys were playing, the way we were able to run it, the way (QB) Matthew (Stafford) was seeing the field, thought it was a much better opportunity to… I could have put them in a better spot that I think would’ve led to seven instead of three.”

In the Rams’ final three red zone trips, McVay called nine pass plays and zero runs despite having one of the best goal line running backs in Kyren Williams.

McVay was impressed when a reporter pointed out that stat and discussed what he could change moving forward.

“Where’d you get that? That’s a good little stat right there, I like it. No, each play, each section is kind of its own entity. But there is no doubt about it that yesterday, that one in particular could have been better. I think there were some different reasons for some of the Baltimore things that I don’t want to get too much into, but ultimately it’s my job and our job as coaches to try to do as good a job as we can putting our guys in the right situations to thrive and succeed. I’m never going to shy away from the times that I can be better. Certainly, those instances that you’re talking about, I take full ownership and accountability for and that is where you go back to work and you try to make sure not to repeat those mistakes.

“That one yesterday was why I was so pissed off because that’s almost… you’re being a little hypocritical and you kind of got away from some of your foundational beliefs, especially with the way that our guys were playing and try to pride yourself in having a good feel for the flow of the game. In that drive, in particular in that first down and five call, I thought that was something that hurt us and look to improve and that is something I’ll try to do for Thursday.”

Overall though, McVay is pleased with how the team has played in the red zone this season.

“We’ve been pretty good in the red zone overall. There’s been a heightened awareness especially the last couple weeks because of the way that we went right down the field in both our opening drives and had to settle for a field goal, which like I said, I got to do better for our guys. But we’ve been pretty good in the red area. I think that’s a tribute to all 11. Everything starts with (QB) Matthew (Stafford), but I think we’ve been able to run the ball effectively and then once we do get in the tight red area, we’ve been consistent in making those kicks. And so that’s a credit to the teams, to offense, but ultimately you want to come away with touchdowns. I think there’s been a heightened awareness which you have to acknowledge those things because it’s always about what have you done lately and being able to continue to take steps.

“But we’ve been pretty good in the red area. And then you give credit to the defenses. There was some stuff that they didn’t have a whole lot of inventory, especially with (Commanders Head Coach) Ron (Rivera) only calling one game against Miami. And then Baltimore is as good a defense as it gets in this league. And so no excuses, I’ve got to be better. But overall, I think we’ve been pretty good in the red area and I just haven’t done a good enough job for us, particularly these last two weeks on those opening drives is what’s really stood out.”

If the Rams want to do any damage in the postseason then they will need to finish drives with touchdowns, so look for this to continue to be an emphasis the rest of the year.


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