Week 1 of the NFL season will see the Chicago Bears take on the Los Angeles Rams in a Sunday Night Football matchup.
While the Rams’ offense and defense are both equally scary, one particular side of the ball has taken a massive blow in L.A.
During workouts this week, starting running back Cam Akers tore his Achilles, per Tom Pelissero. He will now be out the remainder of 2021.
The Rams will now turn to Darrell Henderson as their fill-in starter, who has actually handled a lot of the workload for them over the last season and a half.
The Chicago Bears defense gets a huge boost not having to face Cam Akers in Week 1.
Over the last five games of the season last year, Akers came on in a big way. He rushed for 424 yards on 95 carries and also caught eight passes for 96 yards. While Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson still saw some work here and there, those numbers are quite impressive.
But, in the playoffs is where Akers really shined. He gave Rams fans plenty to be excited about in Year 2. In his two playoff games combined, Akers totaled 272 yards from scrimmage (221 on the ground) and a pair of touchdowns. Akers became the Rams’ workhorse down the stretch, and handled it exceptionally well.
For this reason, the Rams were thrilled to see what he could do in his second year as a pro. Now, it will be up to Henderson, who will get the bulk of the carries along with some youngsters battling it out for time, Xavier Jones, Jake Funk and Calais Raymond.
Henderson, though, should provide the Rams with at least a decent fill-in for the 2021 season. However, Sean McVay will likely have to resort to his committee approach as he did before Akers came along.
Last season in a timeshare, Henderson rushed for 624 yards on 138 carries, and scored five rushing touchdowns. He was good for 4.5 yards per carry, which isn’t too shabby by any means. Still, the Bears will get to miss Akers in their prime time matchup with the Rams, and that’s a huge advantage.
In last year’s matchup with Los Angeles, Henderson rushed for 63 yards on 15 carries. Brown also rushed for 57 yards on 10 carries, so the Rams did find success on the ground without Akers taking any touches. Looking back on last year’s tape of the game, the Bears will see one key difference: no Eddie Goldman. With Goldman likely back for 2021, the run defense should be much better.
For now, it’s on to training camp and looking ahead to preseason action. But, just around the corner will be that Sunday Night Football matchup, and the Rams will have to take on Chicago without their top running back.