The Los Angeles Rams, the defending NFC champions, are battered and bruised.
The Rams (3-3) will face the Falcons (1-5) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Rams have a three-game losing streak, and the Falcons have lost their past four games.
The Rams beat Carolina (30-27), New Orleans (27-9) and Cleveland (20-13) before losing games to Tampa Bay (55-40), Seattle (30-29) and San Francisco (20-7).
The Rams’ defense is still paced by defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who has three sacks. The Rams signed veteran safety Eric Weddle and linebacker Clay Matthews over the offseason. Matthews was off to a fast start with six sacks before he sustained a broken jaw.
Running back Todd Gurley has 64 carries for 270 yards and five touchdowns, but he didn’t play last week against the 49ers.
Quarterback Jared Goff has completed 153 of 246 passes (62.2%) for 1,727 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has a passer rating of 80.8.
Copper Kupp is the Rams’ leading receiver, with 45 catches for 522 yards and four touchdowns.
Gurley, a former University of Georgia standout, sustained a bruised thigh injury against Seattle on Oct. 3. His status will be closely monitored this week, while his replacement Malcolm Brown suffered an ankle injury against the 49ers.
Running back Darrell Henderson finished the game for the Rams.
“The first two carries that Darrell had were very exciting,” Rams coach Sean McVay told the Los Angeles media Monday. “In a lot of instances you can see there are some things that he’s a young player. We expect him to be better moving into the Falcons games this week.”
Without Gurley, the 2017 NFL offensive player of the year, the 49ers stymied the Rams passing attack as they held Goff to 78 yards passing.
“It’s something that we are struggling with,” Goff said about the unit’s consistency. “I think it comes down to in-game execution. We’re going to get right back on track.”
The Rams plan to stay in Atlanta after the game to practice before flying to London to play the Bengals at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 27.
“You hope it’s galvanizing,” Goff said. “We will be in Atlanta for a little while. But it’s one week at a time. We’ve got to go out and get better. We have to do a lot of things better to beat Atlanta.”
In addition to Gurley’s health, the Rams are down starting left guard Joe Noteboom and starting cornerback Aqib Talib and possibly starting safety John Johnson.
“We're certainly not going to make any excuses,” McVay said.
Noteboom tore ligaments in his knee against the 49ers and is out for the rest of the season.
Talib has fractured ribs and was placed on injured reserve.
Johnson sustained a shoulder injury and is getting a second opinion.
“We’ll have more information (later in the week),” McVay said. “That second opinion will (determine) if he’s available or if he’ll miss some extended time.”
Rookie David Edwards and Jamil Demby are the potential replacements at left guard, while Troy Hill, a four-year veteran will start at cornerback.
Marqui Christian would play safety if Johnson is out.
“Those are things that (general manager) Les (Snead) and I would discuss,” said McVay, when asked if the injuries at offensive line and cornerback will make the Rams more aggressive than they would’ve been with the trade deadline approaching Oct. 29. “Really, if we felt like it was somebody that in the short-term, but then also you have a long-term perspective on, would help us, those are things that we're always looking into. (Les) does a great job of having a pulse for the entirety of the league and guys that might be available.
“But when I say that, I don't think we’re looking outside to fill that void immediately. We're looking, really, potentially outside for guys that would come in and bring maybe veteran depth, not come in and play.”
The Rams made three trades Tuesday, the biggest was acquiring Jalen Ramsey from the Jaquars. The Rams gave up first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2021, the Jaguars announced Tuesday night. Earlier in the day, the Rams traded cornerback Marcus Peters to the Ravens for Kenny Young. They also picked up center Austin Corbett from the Browns for an undisclosed draft pick.
The Rams will look to get well against the Falcons’ leaky pass defense and weak pass rush.
“That’s where we’ll obviously focus a good bit of our time leading into this week, knowing how effective the Rams have been throwing the ball,” Quinn said of the pass defense and pass rush.
“What I want to see is us build some really rock-solid consistency where we don’t beat ourselves.”
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