The Minnesota Vikings hosted the St. Louis Rams last Sunday as the Rams attempted to keep their record above .500, the team could not improve their record losing to the Vikings 21-18 and their record falling to 4-4. Although the Rams postseason hopes are not over, losing on Sunday definitely did not help matters.
The Rams are 4-4 and will be playing the Chicago Bears this Sunday. Keeping it simple, here is what we learned from the Rams lost to Vikings.
The offense will continue to struggle
After Sunday's matchup against the Vikings, the first thought in most people's head was likely damn the offense played terrible. Surprise, the Rams offense was terrible, again. The Vikings have a solid defense and they were playing at home, however their corners are okay at best and they were missing two of their best players in defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and middle linebacker Eric Kendricks.
So how well did the Rams offense play against the Vikings? Nick Foles threw 33 passes and ended the game with 168 passing yards and zero touchdowns. What about Todd Gurley? Well the Rams workhorse rushed 24 times for 89 rushing yards and a touchdown. No matter what the Rams tried to do on offense the team could not find a way to make the Rams get going, but hey that is to be expected from a team that is bottom in the NFL in every category not including rushing.
Todd Gurley is the running game
The Rams really made a great decision drafting Todd Gurley as the 10th selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, the young rookie has been a complete stud for the Rams offense and this week Gurley did not disappoint. While Gurley did not have a game where he ran for 100+ yards, he did have 100+ all purpose yards when you combine his receiving totals with his rushing yards, this was probably the best example of him putting the team on his back.
This week, the Vikings decided to attack Gurley, the Vikings front four dominated the Rams offensive line on many of Gurley's 24 carries. The Rams offensive line offered very little in holes for the young running back who longest run was for 16 yards, this was a game where Gurley had to bite and chew for every yard. Gurley is the Rams back for the next few years, hopefully the Rams do not turn Gurley into the next Steven Jackson.
The defense can function without their key starters
The Rams defense has been without many key starters like corner back EJ Gaines who will not play a snap this season and linebacker Alec Ogletree has been out for weeks but the team hopes he will be able to return later in the season, however this week offered a new challenge to the Rams defense, replacing starting defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn, also the team had to replace safety T.J. McDonald. Replacing these three players is not an easy task for any defense.
So how did the Rams defense fare against the Vikings? Pretty good. Now the Rams would have obviously played better if these three players would have started and would have in theory sacked the Vikings more than once, but all in all, they did a solid job. The Rams defense shut down the Vikings passing attack for 148 yards, Adrian Peterson did not slow down rushing for 125 yards on 29 carries, but the defense was steady.