6 takeaways from Rams’ 31-10 loss to the Chargers

The Los Angeles Rams were unable to build off of their 51-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 16, losing to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. The Chargers cruised to a 31-10 win over the Rams in Week 17 to improve to 10-6 on the season.

Following the loss, the Rams are now 5-11 with one week remaining in the regular season. Los Angeles will conclude the regular season on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.

After another lopsided loss in Week 17, here are six takeaways for the Rams in their forgettable outing against the Chargers.

Cam Akers is finishing the season strong

Cam Akers gashed the Broncos for 118 yards and three touchdowns in Week 16, which were the second-most rushing yards in a game for the third-year back. To follow up his impressive performance on Christmas, Akers rushed for 123 yards on 19 attempts versus the Chargers.

Even though he wasn’t able to find the end zone on Sunday, Akers has accrued 408 rushing yards and six touchdowns in his last five games. Besides his impressive rushing numbers in Week 17, his most impressive play might have come on a play in the third quarter when he picked up a blitzing Nassir Adderley to protect Baker Mayfield. After a shaky start to the season, Akers is finishing the season on a positive note.

The Rams allowed their 1st 100-yard rusher this season

Earlier in the week, an article may have been written on this site to share that the Rams have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. While the Rams were one of four teams that haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher this season entering Week 17, Austin Ekeler ended the team’s chances of getting to the end of the season without a 100-yard rusher.

Ekeler rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 10 attempts, including a 72-yard score. Despite the run defense being something to lean on throughout the season, the Chargers combined for 192 rushing yards and two touchdowns on Sunday.

The Rams' defense couldn't get off the field on 3rd down

To have a chance to pull off an upset against a superior team, you have to be able to get stops on third down. While the defense wasn’t the primary reason the Rams lost on Sunday, they struggled to get off the field on third down versus the Chargers.

The Chargers converted eight of their 13 third downs and Justin Herbert converted six of his nine third downs when he was in the game before getting pulled. Even though the offense didn’t do much when they had the ball on Sunday, allowing the opposing team to get 60-plus percent of their third downs isn’t a winning formula.

The Rams didn't generate much pressure on Justin Herbert

Generating consistent pressure has been an issue for the Rams all season and it continued to be an issue versus the Chargers. Herbert wasn’t under duress much in Sunday’s contest as he wasn’t sacked and he was hit only a couple of times.

The strong-armed quarterback for the Chargers is not a quarterback you want to let survey the field with a clean pocket as he can make you pay. There was a point in the game where Herbert easily completed 10 throws in a row while the Rams didn’t get any production from the pass-rushing department.

It's hard to win games when you get only 12 first downs

With the Rams already eliminated from the playoffs, it’s all about trying to finish the season strong and see positive signs to build off of next season. Coming into Sunday’s game, everyone knew the Chargers have been dominant on defense recently, and the Rams struggled to move the ball.

Outside of a few plays, Mayfield and the Rams couldn’t sustain drives, totaling only 12 first downs on Sunday. The 12 first downs that the Rams got in Week 17 were the second-fewest the offense has tallied all season (the offense totaled only nine first downs in Week 9).

Baker Mayfield was ineffective throwing the ball

It was nothing but positive plays for the Rams in Week 16 versus the Broncos as Mayfield and the offense produced 51 points on the scoreboard. After throwing for 230 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos, the former first-round pick completed 11 of his 19 attempts for only 132 yards on Sunday.

Mayfield was sacked three times, missed a few open throws, and had a lost fumble on a play where he didn’t sense pressure coming from behind him. The confident signal-caller also came close to throwing a pick-six but it was dropped. Mayfield will have one more game to showcase his talent ahead of unrestricted free agency with a Week 18 matchup versus the Seahawks.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire