Here’s what we learned, what we heard and what comes next after the Rams’ 24-10 victory against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday that snapped their two-game losing streak and improved their record to 3-3 heading into the bye week:
NOTEBOOM OUT FOR THE SEASON
Rams left tackle Joe Noteboom tore his Achilles tendon against the Panthers and will likely be out for the rest of the season, Coach Sean McVay confirmed Monday.
Noteboom was carted off the field in the second quarter to give the Rams another injury blow to their offensive line.
HOW THE RAMS MADE IT WORK
The Rams’ offensive line had a bounce-back performance versus the Panthers, despite the loss of Noteboom.
Alaric Jackson moved from right guard to left tackle and veteran Oday Aboushi came off the bench to take Jackson’s prior position. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was only sacked once by the Panthers after taking a combined 12 sacks in the previous two games against the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys.
The Rams’ run blocking also improved with the team recording a season-high 111 rushing yards with seven ball carriers, including wide receivers Cooper Kupp, Ben Skowronek, Brandon Powell and Tutu Atwell.
Bobby Evans, who filled in at left guard for the injured David Edwards, said the players-only meeting between the offensive linemen last week played a role in why they limited the mental mistakes against the Panthers.
“You always gotta stay ready,” Evans said. “In this league, you never know who’s going to go down. So, you always have to be prepared. That’s what we keep telling each other.”
After Noteboom left the game, right tackle Rob Havenstein was the lone Week 1 starter on the offensive line to protect Stafford.
“Nothing changed but the urgency,” Havenstein said.
TIMELINE OF O-LINE INJURIES
The Rams have started six different offensive line combinations with 10 linemen playing snaps in the first six games this season. Here’s a summary of the constant reshuffling for the Rams’ offensive line:
Backup rookie guard Logan Bruss suffered a torn ACL and MCL during the preseason game against the Houston Texans in August.
Center Brian Allen has missed the past five games after sustaining a knee injury in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills.
Backup guard Tremayne Anchrum started at right guard in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons because Coleman Shelton was asked to leave the position to fill Allen’s void at center. But Anchrum’s first career start ended quickly after he suffered a season-ending ankle injury on the opening drive. Jackson took over as the third starting right guard of the season.
Shelton has missed the past two games after injuring his ankle in Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers. He was given a recovery timeline of four to six weeks. Edwards was sidelined against the 49ers because of a concussion he sustained in practice. Evans replaced Edwards in the starting lineup and Jeremiah Kolone replaced Shelton at center.
Edwards was placed on injured reserve after exiting the Week 5 game versus the Dallas Cowboys with his second concussion of the season.
Noteboom tore his Achilles in the second quarter against the Panthers, giving the Rams four backup offensive linemen in Jackson, Evans, Kolone and Aboushi to protect Stafford.
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During the bye week, the Rams will need to address how they plan to move forward without Noteboom. Jackson was productive while filling in for Noteboom versus the Panthers, but the team also needs him at guard and they’re now short on tackles.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Rams search for a quality tackle on the trade market. The Rams reportedly have interest in Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, but they have bigger issues on the offensive line.
The Rams’ sluggish offense could also get reinforcements after the bye week if Allen, wide receiver Van Jefferson and running back Kyren Williams are activated from injured reserve.
The Rams could have a different look after the week off with new faces and healthy players. They’ll need all the help they can get with the San Francisco 49ers (home, Sunday Oct. 30) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (away, Sunday Nov. 6) next on the schedule.