Jared Goff had a solid game on Sunday. There wasn’t much there that “wowed” anybody, but he played within the confines of the game-plan and it lead to a win. He’s racked up another multi-touchdown game. Goff finished 21/31 for 220-yards with two TD’s and one INT. I can’t fault Goff for the INT, because that was simply a great play by Kareem Martin. With that being the only big mistake, Goff gets a solid “B+”.
I said it on twitter last night, but I stand by it: Todd Gurley should be in consideration for the MVP award. In a game where he only averaged 3.9 YPC, he still found a way to be a major contributor. He had 19-carries for 74 rushing yards, though he also lead the way of all players with six receptions for 84-yards receiving, totaling 158 on the day. Gurley continues to be involved in all phases of the game, and as long as he continues the terrific pace, the Rams offense will always have a chance.
Just like how Jared Goff didn’t have to do anything crazy to win the game, the receivers didn’t either. The leader of the clubhouse was rookie WR Cooper Kupp who logged five receptions for 68-yards. Sammy Watkins didn’t have much work go his way drawing the coverage of #1 CB Patrick Peterson, though he did manage three receptions for 38-yards and another TD, bringing his total to six on the season.
The tight ends, as always, weren’t the focus of the game-plan. Still, all three guys combined registered four receptions, for 27-yards, and one touchdown. Derek Carrier’s 14-yard catch was a major conversion for a first down in the redzone, and Gerald Everett’s touchdown was a nice mismatch versus a rookie S in Budda Baker.
The Rams OL was the force behind a total of 90 rushing yards in the entire game, which wasn’t bad considering how little the Rams ran the ball. Gurley averaged 3.9 YPC which wasn’t great, but certainly wasn’t an issue either. More importantly, the Rams OL basically kept Goff clean and upright all game, only allowing one strip sack to Chandler Jones (who was 13-sacks on the year), though that was arguably on Goff not climbing the pocket.
Aaron Donald notched another two sacks to add his season total to eight, potentially headlining the group as a true DPOY candidate. Ethan Westbrooks registered two sacks on Sunday as well (one being a Gabbert fall). Outside of one bad drive against the run, this group had a spectacular day.
Mark Barron was relatively invisible for most of the day. Alec Ogletree injured his elbow, though it’s not believed to be serious. Before that, he did actually have a beautiful play reading Blaine Gabbert’s eyes, leaping for an interception near the LOS, and returning it 41-yards for a TD. Lastly, Robert Quinn and Matt Longacre both managed to chip in with a sack each.
This group is headlined by stud FS Lamarcus Joyner, who managed an INT on the first drive of the game. Not only that, but he returned it 46-yards all the way down to the Cardinals side of the field. Outside of maybe a holding call (Kayvon Webster), the Rams backend had a terrific day.
John Fassel, take a bow. The Rams special teams blocked an extra point, and a field goal attempt. Johnny Hekker averaged 51.8-yards per punt (one being a 70-yard punt). Greg Zuerlein extends his lead as the NFL’s highest point scorer going 4/4 on FG’s, and 2⁄3 on XP’s. Pharoh Cooper also had four punt returns for 60-yards, one of which allowed the Rams offense to start with the ball on the Cardinals 30-yard line.
The Rams offense scored 32-points, though it felt like the lead should have been bigger. Outside of one drive where the Rams got repeatedly gashed against the run, Wade Phillips’ defense tightened up as always and only allowed 16-points. Lastly, John Fassel was brilliant. He could very well be the best positional coach in the entire league.