The St. Louis Rams are 1-0.
It wasn't pretty. After jumping out to an 11-point lead after three quarters, the Rams nearly imploded giving up 18 unanswered points in the fourth. It took Seahawks defensive back Dion Bailey slipping and leaving Lance Kendricks wide open down the sideline to tie the game with less than a minute remaining. It took the defense rising to the challenge both at the end of regulation and in overtime after Greg Zuerlein's field goal to seal the win.
So where do the Rams stand and what will they be looking at in the week ahead before heading to Washington?
Trumaine Johnson went off early with a concussion. I'd expect him to be ready in a week's time. Since Lamarcus Joyner was able to return, I'd expect he'll be a full go next weekend even if the Rams ease him into practice. Jamon Brown did give way to Garrett Reynolds early on, but it's not certain whether that was due to any kind of injury or performance-related.
The big name to keep an eye on is DE Eugene Sims. He's a key member of the Rams' D-line rotation, and he looked to be in serious pain. No injury report until Wednesday, so stay tuned.
All in all, the Rams seem to have gotten through this pretty unscathed.
First things first, the O-line needs more work. Tim Barnes and Nick Foles weren't synced up on a fumbled shotgun snap exchange in the first half. You have to mark that up to the lack of experience between the two, and you can draw a straight line from the center rotation in the preseason to that moment. They'll get to work it out from here on out with Barnes the full-time starter.
The run blocking is the bigger issue. Benny Cunningham wasn't given much to work with, though Seattle's front is among the better fronts in the league. For a team that's looking to anchor their offense on the ground, the Rams need to get more done in the road grading area to be successful for the entirety of the season.
Overall, though, this was a pretty positive showing. Penalties were way down. Sacks were way up. Foles was connecting downfield thanks to some solid pass blocking. The defense kept things intact pretty much. The big concern here would be the turnovers. They put the defense in some unnecessary adverse conditions and, in the case of the third fumble, led directly to a Seahawks touchdown. While Foles avoided an interception, the fumbles nearly cost the Rams the game.
Shout out to Young GZ. A mistake in the kicking game would've made the win impossible. Nothing overly difficult, but this is the kind of performance GZ needs to put any doubts to bed about his value.
It's going to take some months before things really begin shaping up, but early wins are good. Rare for the Rams in the decade or so, but good.
The first road game of the year is up next with a trip to the most dysfunctional franchise in the league in Washington. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but there's an obvious opportunity to get to 2-0. The next three after that prior to the bye could be really tough, so it's a big opportunity to get in front of the schedule in a comfortable way.
Bear in mind, the Rams have beaten the Seahawks in three of the last four seasons. This game, in and of itself, hasn't been the back breaker for the Rams. The two 7-win seasons and a 6-win season of the last three years featured wins like today where the team seemed to have turned a corner.
The question is if they can extend the performance and rack up a couple more in a row than they've been able to in years past.
All in all, a win is a win. But this one was more than that.