Baker Mayfield and Rams dominate in 51-14 win over Broncos

Working again Cam Akers rushed for greater than 100 yards and three touchdowns.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield performed effectively and with occasional flash. Veteran tight finish Tyler Higbee stepped up with a record-setting efficiency, and the protection intercepted 4 passes to make it simple on the offense.

Nothing, after all, has been simple for the defending Tremendous Bowl-champion Rams throughout their misplaced season.

However for one recreation, they executed and performed the long-sought-after-but-almost-never-achieved complementary soccer that coach Sean McVay has hopelessly coveted.

The Rams’ 51-14 victory on Sunday over the hapless Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium was a welcome respite for McVay and the Rams group.

Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner runs after intercepting a cross thrown by the Broncos’ Russell Wilson within the first quarter.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Occasions)

“That’s what you want it to look like,” McVay mentioned.

It additionally was a dose of what might need been. Or, at the least, what the Rams believed their group might play like for the second season in a row.

After proclaiming their intent to run it again and change into the primary group to repeat as champion in practically twenty years, poor play, questionable teaching choices and a seemingly limitless string of accidents despatched the Rams right into a historic nosedive.

Three of the group’s cornerstone gamers — quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive lineman Aaron Donald — suffered season-ending accidents

However from begin to end Sunday, the Rams (5-10) had cause to be ok with themselves. They scored on all eight possessions and amassed their most factors since a 54-51 over the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs in 2018.

“This has been anything but ideal,” McVay mentioned of his sixth season, “and really it’s the first time when you look at it in this role, where there’s been failure in a lot of instances and we’re not getting the results we want.

“That weighs on me a lot because you want it to be like” Sunday’s efficiency.

Akers, a third-year professional, rushed for 118 yards in 23 carries and scored on runs of two, two and 4 yards. It was the perfect recreation of the season for a participant who had been exiled from the group for greater than two weeks earlier this season due to battle about his function.

It was the primary time Akers rushed for greater than 100 yards since he gained 131 yards in a 2020 season NFC wild-card playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks. And it adopted Akers’ stable efficiency in final week’s defeat by the Inexperienced Bay Packers, a loss that eradicated the Rams from playoff competition.

“Sticking with the run, not going away from it when we had a bad play or a negative play — just trusting it,” Akers mentioned. “I think it paid dividends.”

The Rams' Cam Akers runs untouched into the end zone against the Broncos in the second quarter.

The Rams’ Cam Akers runs untouched into the top zone towards the Broncos within the second quarter. He was the primary Rams participant to surpass 100 yards speeding in a recreation this season.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Occasions)

In his second begin for the Rams, Mayfield accomplished 24 of 28 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He was not sacked.

Mayfield credited the offensive line for safeguarding him and establishing the working recreation with Akers.

“That makes my life easy,” Mayfield mentioned. “So, it’s fun to watch when you get guys into a rhythm like that and they continue to fight for those extra yards and he’s really feeling it, making great reads, great cuts. … He built off last week and continued it.”

Higbee caught 9 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. The seventh-year professional now holds group tight finish profession data with 299 catches for 3,063 yards and 20 touchdowns.

“Just trying to make my plays and help this team win games,” Higbee mentioned. “And sometimes it calls for a tight end to get more balls thrown his way.”

Rookie cornerback Cobie Durant intercepted two passes, one he returned 84 yards for a late landing that supplied the exclamation level. Linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Jalen Ramsey additionally intercepted passes. After dropping to the Packers and lacking the playoffs for less than the second time below McVay, all of the Rams had left to play for of their remaining video games towards the Broncos, Chargers and Seahawks was delight.

“We got eliminated last week, but we still approached this week the same way — we still come out with the same energy,” mentioned Wagner, who additionally had a sack. “And we knew if we performed well, we’re capable of doing a game like that.”

Mayfield, although, has a chance to point out different groups that he stays able to beginning within the NFL. He regarded the half in a victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Dec. 8, however not within the defeat by the Packers.

On Sunday, with the protection supplying glorious area place, he performed with confidence.

Meantime, Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson continued to battle in his first season with the Broncos. He accomplished 15 of 27 passes for 214 yards and landing, with three interceptions. The Rams sacked him six occasions.

Durant intercepted a cross on the primary possession to arrange Higbee’s first landing. Wagner, a former teammate of Wilson’s in Seattle, intercepted a cross on the second collection to arrange Akers’ first landing. Wagner additionally sacked Wilson.

“I told him that if we ever played against one another, I would get him,” Wagner mentioned, “so it was cool to do that.”

With simply greater than 4 minutes left, Durant picked off a cross by Brent Rypien and raced up the sideline for a landing.

“I just broke on it,” Durant mentioned, “and the rest is history.”

In two weeks, McVay and the Rams can also put the season previously.

However as they left the stadium Sunday, for one of many few occasions this season, they relished the current.