The Los Angeles Rams suffered another loss on Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs, giving them a 3-8 record on the season. The Rams have now lost five games in a row as injuries and other issues have taken a toll on the defending Super Bowl champions.
With Matthew Stafford sidelined due to being in the league's concussion protocol, it was Bryce Perkins who made his first career start in the NFL in Week 12. The absence of Stafford led Los Angeles to lose 26-10 as they were unable to generate much offense.
Following another loss for the Rams, here are six takeaways from Sunday's contest versus the Chiefs.
The backfield is still a question mark
The Rams released Darrell Henderson Jr. earlier this week, leaving the backfield to Cam Akers and rookie Kyren Williams. With Henderson no longer in the picture, Akers and Williams combined for 63 rushing yards on 18 attempts versus the Chiefs on Sunday.
Neither Akers nor Williams proved to be the more effective back in Week 12, though, Williams provides more in the passing game. That being said, the Rams likely won't get a fair look at the duo of Akers and Williams if Stafford isn't operating the offense.
Tutu Atwell needs more opportunities
Tutu Atwell saw only seven snaps in Week 11 despite catching his lone target for a 62-yard touchdown. For the second straight week, Atwell isn't getting enough opportunities in a shorthanded offense.
The second-year wide receiver caught both of his targets for 23 yards on Sunday and he's now caught his last three targets for 85 yards. While his selection in last year's draft will always be controversial and the Rams only attempted 18 passes with Perkins, Atwell needs more snaps, especially when Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson are sidelined.
Riley Dixon was one of the best players for the Rams on Sunday
Sometimes, punters deserve some credit for their performances and Riley Dixon was fantastic against the Chiefs. Besides completing a six-yard pass on a fake punt, Dixon pinned the Chiefs inside their 20-yard line twice in his four punts on Sunday.
There aren't many positives to take from a game like Sunday's where the Rams had plenty of starters inactive due to injury. But in a game where Los Angeles needed contributions for everyone, Dixon did his job in Week 12.
The defense was lights out in the red zone
Everyone (including myself) assumed that the Chiefs would easily score 30-plus points against an anemic offense with a third-string quarterback. However, the defense of the Rams had other plans as they were lights out in the red zone against an elite offense.
Entering Sunday's matchup, Kansas City's offense had the third-best touchdown conversion rate in the red zone. Meanwhile, in the 26-10 loss, the Rams forced the Chiefs to kick four field goals in the red zone. Even with Los Angeles losing by 16 points, the defense held strong when it mattered, keeping the Chiefs out of the end zone on 5 of 6 red zone trips.
The Rams need a spark in the pass-rushing department
Much has been made of the pass rush - or lack thereof - of the Rams this season. Outside of Aaron Donald, Los Angeles doesn't have anyone that can generate consistent pressure, which is a major concern for a defense that has struggled in coverage at times.
The Rams failed to create much pressure on Patrick Mahomes as the All-Pro quarterback had plenty of time to survey the field on most plays. Mahomes finished with 320 passing yards, 36 rushing yards, and he wasn't sacked in a game where Los Angeles didn't make it difficult for him outside of the red zone. The Rams need someone to step up in the pass-rushing department.
Nick Scott was a bright spot in the secondary again
There aren't many players that can say they've consistently been great this season for the Rams. Nick Scott has certainly had some rough weeks this season, but he was a bright spot on the defense in Week 12 versus the Chiefs.
Scott logged six combined tackles, a pass breakup, and an interception on Mahomes in the red zone to prevent the Chiefs from scoring more points. In a game where the Rams surrendered 320 passing yards, Scott was solid in the secondary.
Story originally appeared on Rams Wire