Banned from the workforce in October, Rams working again Cam Akers is now making a pitch for extended if not everlasting residency with the Rams.
On Sunday, the Rams misplaced to the Chargers, 31-10, at SoFi Stadium. However for the second recreation in a row, Akers confirmed the burst and flash that seemingly may make him a centerpiece in 2023 and past.
Akers rushed for 123 yards in 19 carries, giving him back-to-back 100-yard video games for the primary time in his profession.
Within the Rams’ 51-14 victory over the Denver Broncos final Sunday, Akers rushed for 118 yards and three touchdowns in 23 carries.
“Just taking advantage of my opportunities,” Akers stated. “That’s what you see.”
It’s a good distance from the beginning of the season, when coach Sean McVay known as out Akers publicly for missing urgency. Because the November commerce deadline approached, McVay exiled Akers for greater than two weeks as normal supervisor Les Snead unsuccessfully shopped the third-year professional.
Upon his return to the workforce, it took Akers 4 video games to search out his footing and some extra earlier than McVay gave him 12 or extra carries per recreation.
Within the final two, Akers has been on a roll.
Is he having extra enjoyable than early within the season?
“Fair to say,” he stated, “Absolutely.”
Akers’ resurgence is at the least one optimistic for the Rams, who fell to 5-11 heading into the season finale in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle.
Seattle is acquainted territory for Akers.
As a rookie in 2020, he rushed for 131 yards and a landing in an NFC wild-card playoff victory over the Seahawks. Till the sport in opposition to the Broncos, it was his final 100-yard efficiency.
Akers, 23, suffered a torn Achilles whereas understanding earlier than coaching camp in 2021. He made a exceptional return to play within the last regular-season recreation and the playoffs, however solely lately has proven the shape and promise of his rookie season.
Final week, McVay was requested if the Rams would nonetheless commerce Akers.
“Oh, no,” McVay stated, including that “it’d be silly based on what a great job he’s done to think of it anything differently than him being a big part of what you want to be able to do moving forward.”
Akers heard the endorsement.
“I would love to be a Ram for life,” he stated Sunday, “so it definitely made me feel good.”
After Akers’ efficiency in opposition to the Broncos, he stated he felt vindicated for having maintained that the important thing to establishing an efficient dashing assault was sticking with it and placing the ball in his palms.
“Proof in the pudding,” he stated.
He continued to show it Sunday in opposition to the Chargers.
“Commitment to the run game and being effective in the run game, you know, I think it speaks for itself,” he stated.
Does the dedication to the working recreation begin with the teaching employees?
“I don’t know,” he stated, chuckling. “You tell me.”
Akers has benefited from assistant head coach Thomas Brown’s return to teaching working backs. McVay reinstalled Brown in that position in December after Ra’Shaad Samples, a first-year coach, left the employees for a job with Arizona State.
Akers is enjoying with confidence, McVay stated.
“It’s the way that he’s creating when there isn’t anything there — the explosiveness,” McVay stated. “I think you’re seeing a complete back.”
On Sunday, Akers received off to begin, dashing for eight yards on every of the Rams’ first two performs.
On the third, quarterback Baker Mayfield went by his progressions earlier than discovering Akers working down the sideline within the left flat. A Chargers defender had slipped, leaving Akers huge open with nobody between him and the top zone. However he dropped Mayfield’s move.
“I should have reached with two hands out,” he stated. “Missed opportunity.”
Akers broke off a 42-yard run on the following sequence to offer the Rams a primary down on the Chargers’ 22-yard line. However the Rams stalled on the five-yard line and settled for a area objective.
Akers continued to run successfully all through the sport and additionally caught a 10-yard move.
“He’s making great reads,” left deal with Ty Nsehke stated, “flowing to the holes, making the blocks easy because he’s setting up the blocks.”
Regardless of his efficiency, Akers was outshined by Chargers working again Austin Ekeler.
The NFL’s landing chief rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns in 10 carries, together with a 72-yard scoring run.
Ekeler grew to become the primary participant to hurry for 100 yards or extra in opposition to the Rams this season. Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders rushed for 99 yards and a landing in 27 carries yards in a Dec. 8 loss to the Rams.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert accomplished 21 of 28 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns because the playoff-bound Chargers improved to 10-6.
The Rams want Akers to proceed his surge once they play the Seahawks and try to complete their misplaced season on a successful be aware.
“Cam deserves a ton of credit for the way that he’s hitting his stride right now, the way that he’s playing,” McVay stated, “and hopefully we finish off the regular season the right way and he can use this to be able to build some momentum into the offseason.”