Cam Akers’ Shockingly Healthy Comeback Massively Boosts the Rams’ Chances of Reaching the Super Bowl

The Los Angeles Rams entered the 2021 NFL Playoffs with major questions. However, they made a strong statement in the 34-11 beatdown of Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. While it was an all-around team effort, Cam Akers’ performance stood out. The second-year running back surprisingly returned from an Achilles injury. His clean bill of health is the shot in the arm LA needed for a potential Super Bowl run.

Cam Akers quickly bounced back from torn Achilles

The LA Rams entered the 2021 NFL season with high expectations for Cam Akers after a solid rookie season. The second-year running back rushed for 625 yards and two touchdowns on 145 carries in 2020.

Akers appeared poised for a major breakout in 2021. Unfortunately, he suffered a setback, tearing his Achilles just before training camp opened. The injury was devastating for the team, but especially the Florida State product.

With Akers seemingly out for the remainder of the season, head coach Sean McVay turned to Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel to fill the void.

An Achilles tear is a significant injury that’s not easy to recover from. It seemed unlikely that Akers would return at all in 2021, even if the Rams made the postseason. However, miracles do happen. LA activated the 22-year-old running back from injured reserve less than six months after the injury occurred.

McVay eased Akers back into the mix, setting him up to break out at the right time. The wild-card game against the Arizona Cardinals was the stage, and Akers performed. He carried the ball 17 times for 55 yards and caught one pass for 40 yards.

Although Cam Akers didn’t reach pay dirt, he made a significant impact on the entire team’s success.

The second-year running back will be key to a Rams Super Bowl run

Rams RB Cam Akers runs the ball against the Cardinals
Cam Akers of the Los Angeles Rams in action against the Arizona Cardinals | Harry How/Getty Images

The game was never in doubt for the LA Rams. They dominated from the opening kickoff, from whistle to whistle. LA controlled the game on both sides of the ball. Cam Akers’ presence did wonders for the Rams’ offense.

The 2020 second-rounder didn’t put up insane numbers. Still, considering the injury he was coming back from, Akers far exceeded expectations. He looked good doing it, too.

Any significant lower-body injury could derail a running back’s season or even career. Akers fought his way back, which is a testament to his want-to and work ethic. Watching him play in the Wild Card Round, you’d never think he tore his Achilles just months ago. Akers was quick and explosive, and he ran the ball with fervor.

The Jackson, Mississippi native showed flashes of the brilliance the team expected from him in 2021.

Sean McVay’s squad now moves on to the Divisional Round to face the defending Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay boasts a vaunted run defense, but don’t expect the head coach to shy away from the ground game.

Cam Akers is back, and LA will need to lean on him to help take pressure off Matthew Stafford’s shoulders. For the Rams to make it out of the NFC, they’ll need to do more than air the ball out. A steady run game would go a long way to making a deep playoff run.

LA’s stable of running backs gives Sean McVay’s offense a luxury

Cam Akers’ return changes everything for the LA Rams. He adds a different dynamic to Sean McVay’s offense that it lacked throughout the regular season.

Matthew Stafford balled out against the Cardinals. Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. are dangerous receiving options. However, do not sleep on LA’s rushing attack.

The Rams only rushed for an average of 99 yards per game in the regular season. Still, this offense is pass-heavy, throwing the ball more than 58% of the time.

With Akers back on the field, McVay could opt to run the ball a little more, especially in tight games. The Rams’ backfield is almost at full strength, too. According to the team website, there’s a possibility that Darrell Henderson will return this week. He’s been out since Week 16 due to an MCL sprain.

In Akers, Henderson, and Sony Michel, LA features a three-headed monster in the backfield. Akers is the superior back, but all three have had their moments in the lead role.

The Rams will still air the ball out at a high clip. However, expect a heavier dose of the run if the backfield is fully healthy. Having depth like that could pay huge dividends in the NFL playoffs.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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