The Los Angeles Rams are currently in the last position in the NFC West, nine contests into a brand-new campaign after their Super Bowl victory at SoFi Stadium earlier this year.
With a 3-6 mark and very little reason to believe the team can improve in time to qualify for the playoffs, much less even retain their championship, the Rams' five years of prosperity with coach Sean McVay may have come to an end this season.
Los Angeles is at its rock bottom, following a 27-17 loss to another struggling squad, the Arizona Cardinals. There are still some lengthy road trips ahead.
While missing the Super Bowl as the current champion is one issue, missing the playoffs is quite another. At this rate, the Rams are likely to do both.
Let's now look at some of the reasons why they have been having trouble with their form:
Major reasons why the Rams are struggling
#1. Matthew Stafford's struggles
Despite being one of the NFL's most resilient quarterbacks for most of his pro career, Matthew Stafford has been sacked on 28 occasions this campaign, just two fewer than in 17 games last season. In nine weeks of action, he has been operating behind an offense that has been mainly poor and has alternated starting lineups. The last time Stafford played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was sacked four times.
#2. The offense
The Rams' offensive unit, which ranks 29th in scores and 31st in yards this season, may be the most underwhelming in the NFL. Every game, the same things happen -- a quarterback who can only connect with Cooper Kupp, a shortage of running plays, and a dismal line play.
The Rams haven't played like themselves on either side of the field this year. Matthew Stafford and his colleagues have struggled to move the ball on offense. The defensive line hasn't shown that it can step up when the offense falters. Los Angeles might be in significant jeopardy for the remainder of the season until changes happen, and it needs to change quickly.
#3. The running play
The Rams are 31st in yards and 29th in points, and they aren't improving. One cause is losing offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell to the Minnesota Vikings, where he has an 8-1 record as head coach.
No matter who is at fault, that's where the Rams are. They might experience one of the most unpleasant Super Bowl-defending champion seasons ever recorded. Their running strategy has an underlying issue that might not be resolved.
The Rams' league-worst average of 3.2 yards per carry on first and second downs is a major issue in their rushing game. It isn't easy to maintain a lead when their running backs cannot get, at least, four yards on each carry.
#4. Injuries to key players
Multiple injuries have befallen the Los Angeles Rams, which has led to below-par performances.
According to coach Sean McVay, the Los Angeles Rams have struggled to keep Matthew Stafford on his legs due to the offense's "unbelievable" quantity of injuries and regular rotations up top.
The Rams have had a tough time up front due to injuries and issues with pass defense.
The Los Angeles Rams will probably have to learn how to cope without their standout receiver Cooper Kupp for the foreseeable future. Kupp suffered an injury of his own during Sunday's defeat to the Arizona Cardinals.
Receiver Van Jefferson needed months to recover from a knee injury that put him on injured reserve at the start of the season.