When the Rams fell to the Bills within the first recreation of the 2022 NFL season, the street to a repeat championship appeared as if it is perhaps particularly tough. Nearly three months later, the street is formally closed. And it is closed traditionally early. In falling to the Packers on Monday night time, Los Angeles did not simply affirm its first double-digit shedding season in additional than a half-decade. It additionally tied the 1999 Broncos for the earliest playoff elimination of any defending Super Bowl champion, in keeping with NFL Research.
After a 14-2 document and Lombardi Trophy in 1998, Denver fell to 6-10 the next yr, lacking the postseason fully. The Rams, 12-5 earlier than their 2021 title run, at the moment are 4-10 after Monday’s defeat, with three video games but to play. The 10 losses additionally match the Broncos for the worst whole by any reigning Super Bowl champion.
Only three different instances in NFL historical past has a defending champion been eradicated from playoff competition with greater than a single week left within the common season. Should the Rams fail to register one other win this yr, their potential 4-13 mark would characterize the worst ever recorded by a defending champ. Other notable title-winners to fall drastically the next season embody the 1986 49ers, who went 3-6 in a strike-shortened season; and the 1981 Raiders, who went 7-9 and missed the playoffs.
The Rams, after all, look quite a bit completely different than they did once they hoisted the trophy in February. A handful of big-name starters, together with quarterback Matthew Stafford, large receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive deal with Aaron Donald, have all missed a number of video games as a consequence of harm and are not prone to return this yr.
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