Lots of well played defense, penalties, and timely turnovers for the Rams defense. The Seahawks had no answer for the Rams. We gave you five matchups the Rams needed to do well in to ensure a victory. Let's revisit the key matchups we identified prior to Week 2.
RB Todd Gurley vs. Seattle's front Seven
All offseason, the entire NFL media and fans alike touted RB Todd Gurley as a sure thing for the Rams offense moving forward in 2016. Due to a struggling passing game, offensive line, and obvious gameplans, Gurley has yet to really find room to operate and get going. He was held just 51 yards rushing on 19 attempts (2.7 ypc) vs. Seattle's tough defense. All that being said, Gurley did have some timely runs gaining decent chunks of yardage converting a few 1st downs, most noticeably when he had an 11-yard gain in the 4th quarter.
It wasn't pretty, but it was effective the few times that it had to be.
P Johnny Hekker vs. WR Tyler Lockett
Hekker punted six times on Sunday. Not a single one was returned and all six were inside the Seattle 20-yard line. The only way Hekker could have had a more perfect game was if he would have been able to fool Pete Carroll and the Seahawks one more time with a fake punt to add some salt in the wounds. Who knows what kind of Pete Carroll outburst that would have brought on.
Hekker and the coverage unit put on a clinic in how to win the field position game within the game.
DT Aaron Donald vs. Seattle's interior OL
Surprise! Aaron Donald was living in the backfield once again. Throughout all the mess surrounding the Rams' offense and the CBs at times, I hope we all can sit back and realize just how much of a special talent we get to watch when Aaron Donald lines up for the Rams. He's just so much better than nearly everyone he lines up against. Donald had two tackles for loss, four QB hits and allowed his teammates to get one on one looks. Donald may not always finish the play but he's damn near starting every single positive play the Rams have on defense.
The defense as a whole finished with three sacks, seven tackles for loss and nine QB hits.
LT Greg Robinson vs. DE Michael Bennett
For as much as Robinson may have seemed unnoticeable last week, he looked like more of the old Greg Robinson this week. He drew a tough matchup against Bennett who finished with one sack, four tackles for loss and two QB hits. Bennett is a tough draw for most LTs but Robinson has to cut down on the penalties. Fortunately for QB Case Keenum and the Rams, it could have been worse. Robinson and Saffold still generate room to run for Gurley, but pass protection woes remain.
CB Lamarcus Joyner vs. Doug Baldwin
Anyone who watched the game should agree that this was far and away the best performance of Lamarcus Joyner's career as he enters his third NFL season. Joyner was everywhere. He was nasty. He looked pissed off. Joyner did not shadow Baldwin the entire game but did cover him the majority of the time in the slot. Baldwin finished the game with a pedestrian three catches for 20 yards on six targets. Joyner finished his day with five tackles, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed. What won't show up in the boxscore was how hard he was hitting people. In particular, late in the game Joyner laid a bone crunching clean hit on Baldwin that fell incomplete and left Baldwin slow to get up.
This type of performance by Joyner is what can really set this secondary and defense over the top.