How concerning is Rams’ offensive line after disastrous showing vs. Bills?

·3 min read

Matthew Stafford enjoyed some of the best protection of his career last season, only getting sacked 30 times in 17 games – an average of less than two per game. He was sacked more than three times in just three games, and he had three starts in which he wasn’t taken down a single time.

Needless to say, the Rams’ offensive line didn’t look one bit like last year’s unit in Thursday night’s opener against the Bills. Stafford was sacked seven times by Buffalo, which ties the most sacks allowed by the Rams under Sean McVay.

It’s also the most sacks Stafford has taken in a game since 2018 when the Vikings brought him down 10 times in a win over the Lions. It wasn’t just the sacks that were worrisome. Stafford was under constant pressure all night, rarely having time to throw even when he wasn’t sacked.

Amazingly, the Bills didn’t blitz a single time, either.

Stafford took the blame for some of the sacks, saying he needs to get the ball out quicker, but there’s no question the offensive line played poorly. It raises some serious concerns about the state of the group, too, now that Andrew Whitworth and Austin Corbett are gone.

Joe Noteboom allowed 10 pressures and three sacks himself, which is not the way he wanted to start his first year as a starter at left tackle.

Granted, he did face Von Miller throughout the game, and two of those sacks were by Miller. But still, he didn’t look great in the opener and adjustments will need to be made. It’s just not time to hit the panic button on the Rams’ left tackle situation … yet. Let’s see how he performs against guys not named Von Miller.

In fact, fans shouldn’t panic about the offensive line as a whole after one game. This is the Bills we’re talking about – a defense that led the NFL in pressure rate last season, and a defense that added Miller to it.

Not every game will be against one of the best pass rushes in football. And let’s not forget, this is the group’s first game played together as a unit. They didn’t get any reps in the preseason, and practice can’t emulate what happens on Sundays from September to January.

Brian Allen needs to be better, Rob Havenstein allowed too much pressure on the right side and David Edwards was overmatched against Jordan Phillips. Coleman Shelton didn’t have a great game either.

But this is a line with three returning starters, and another player (Noteboom) who looked good in previous starts at left tackle.

Give this group some time, especially with Noteboom. They have a much more favorable matchup next week against the Falcons, which will hopefully result in far less pressure and hits on Stafford.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire