Rams takeaways: Running improved, passing regressed vs. Chargers

Coming off a loss to the Chargers on Sunday, the Rams are 5-11 going into the finale against a Seahawks team that is 8-8 and in the playoff hunt.

“If you’re able to finish on a good positive note, that would be reflective of the resilience and just kind of the character of this football team,” McVay said Monday during a videoconference with reporters.

What we learned in the Rams’ defeat by loss to the Chargers:

Running back Cam Akers is on a roll: Akers continued to show that he can produce if given the opportunity.

The third-year pro rushed for 123 yards in 19 carries, the second consecutive game he eclipsed 100 yards rushing.

The Rams tried to trade Akers in October but found no takers. Asked last week if the team would shop Akers after the season, coach Sean McVay said no.

Akers said after the game Sunday that he wanted to be “a Ram for life.”

In the what-have-you-done-for-me lately NFL that seems unlikely. See: Todd Gurley.

But Akers is proving he could be a valuable piece in 2023.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been up and down: Mayfield came up big in a victory over the Las Vegas Raiders, struggled in a defeat by the Green Bay Packers, shined in a victory over the Denver Broncos and struggled again Sunday.

Mayfield completed 11 of 19 passes for 132 yards.

“I am not real happy with how I played,” Mayfield said. “Obviously, whenever you lose, it’s not real good.

“I want to improve and end the season on a high note, something I can be proud of and just continue to lead and be the same guy every day. Just want to play better for these guys.”

Receiver Van Jefferson finally looks near full strength: Jefferson caught three passes for 77 yards, including one for 39 yards.

The third-year pro missed the first six games while recovering from his second knee surgery in six months.

Jefferson has 18 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

Running back Malcolm Brown still has some burst: Brown, 29, was signed by the Rams in late September to provide leadership for Akers and other running backs.

The eighth-year pro showed Sunday that he still can run effectively.

With the Rams trailing, 14-3, in the second quarter, Brown took a handoff, broke through the line and raced 23 yards for a touchdown.

The Rams’ run defense got exposed: With star Aaron Donald and A’Shawn Robinson out for the season, and Greg Gaines and Marquise Copeland not at full strength, something had to give, right?

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns in 10 carries, including a 72-yard scoring run.

Ekeler got through the line and forced multiple missed tackles. He became the first player to rush for 100 yards or more against the Rams this season.

Former Rams had a fun day: Chargers coach Brandon Staley, the Rams defensive coordinator in 2020, was not the only former Ram savoring the victory.

Tight end Gerald Everett caught a touchdown pass. Defensive linemen Sebastian Joseph-Day and Morgan Fox each had a sack.

Linebacker Troy Reeder played but did not make a tackle.

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