Every week, I try to accept that the Los Angeles Rams simply aren’t on a hot streak and they aren’t just playing sub-par teams. But yeah, both of those things happen to be true. They’re playing great football with the weakest schedule in the NFL. At this point, you’re expecting the Rams to throw up 50 points on the road like it’s no big deal.
To put it another way, the Rams played so well that they probably got the opposing team’s coach fired. A team did that to the Rams last year and they went to the Super Bowl. But I’m most definitely getting ahead of myself.
Let’s talk about what was expected and unexpected in their win against the Giants:
Expected: Aaron Donald got his, leading the confident defense
The defense had a bit of a rocky start, which is now becoming part of their personality as a defensive unit, but once they were locked in, they got the job done, causing three turnovers. DT Aaron Donald got a strip-sack that LB Connor Barwin recovered for the Rams, keeping the momentum on the Rams’ side. There was a certain swagger to the defense that was really enjoyable to watch.
Unexpected: Coach McVay opened up the playbook — big time.
What was fascinating about the Rams’ win against the New York Giants was how easy it looked. They were fun, risky, and yet they didn’t turn the ball over once. The offense played like a team does in a sports movie after they struggle in the first half, and the protagonist gives a pep talk to the team in the locker room, reminding the team why they play the game... then they come out and play like they did when they were kids. However, the Rams weren’t struggling. They came off a beat down of the Arizona Cardinals and were facing the exact type of team in the Giants who should have been playing like that.
Look at this play. I wasn’t expecting stuff like this at all. I assumed that on the road, in the rain, McVay would be pushing the run. But this was super fun. Like, Tecmo Bowl fun. So, I’m not going to complain.
Expected: Robert Woods was the leading receiver in an offense where the love was spread to many offensive threats
Mr. Depenable finally got a touchdown for the Rams and then another one. As usual, he didn’t put up gaudy numbers, 4 catches for 70 yards, but that’s the point of the Rams offense -- everyone gets the ball. And so many players had a chance to shine. WR Tavon Austin had a 21 yard run from scrimmage, TE Gerald Everett grabbed a big catch, TE Tyler Higbee scored a TD reception, and RB Todd Gurley stormed into the end zone twice.
Unexpected: Jared Goff was unleashed and put up his most impressive game yet
What was Jared Goff asked to do this past Sunday? Well, pretty much everything. And his biggest requirement was not to turn over the ball, which he pulled off. And that feat was impressive considering that Goff doesn't play a lot in rainy conditions and the Gaints’ defense is probably their strongest asset right now. But what I found to be most surprising about Jared Goff’s performance was how he was able to hit all three levels. His screen passes were very effective considering the fantastic blocking his receivers were getting, and his mid-range passes were the usual fare from Goff (just look for Cooper Kupp and throw!). However, it was his deep throw to Sammy Watkins that really raised eyebrows. We’ve been waiting for that all season and have only seen it in glimpses.
Expected: the special teams unit was on fire
WR Pharoh Cooper is fun to watch during kickoffs. You know never know when he’s going to do something special. And even though one of his breathtaking returns was called back on a penalty, his presence was still felt and the other special teams stars like K Greg Zuerlein were able to put points on the board. Which leads me to...
Unexpected: Cory Littleton blocked another punt
You know who blocks two punts in three weeks? Nobody. Well, except for LB Cory Littleton, who essentially poured salt on the wound of the Giants, who were just trying to get to the end of the game when Littleton blocked the punt. But let’s give it up to Cory for busting his ass and making an almost impossible play happen twice in a season. Remarkable stuff.
As a Rams fan, you had to love every minute of this game. It was proof that these guys are part of something special. Yes, the opposing teams are going to be better in the coming weeks, but I believe that the LA Rams are up to the challenge.
I know it sounds crazy to some to think that the Rams could go 14-2. However, in my eyes, it wouldn’t be unexpected. They’re that good.