I love watching the Los Angeles Rams play. Always have.
And with Jared Goff at QB, there’s an immense amount of intrigue when he’s about to snap the ball. However, this was the first game this year that I wasn’t as locked in as usual. I expected the Rams to win without an issue and that was the rub -- were the Rams going to play like I was feeling? Not emotionally invested and possibly looking ahead to the Philadelphia Eagles game?
Expected: John Fassel’s special teams unit was brilliant
When I think about the Rams in the playoffs, I take solace in the fact that Bones is the leader of our special teams. Seriously, watching fourth downs is fun with the Rams. Even an opposing team’s field goal attempt are now highlights for the Rams (blocked field goals? C’mon!). And WR Pharoh Cooper is electric -- big fan.
Unexpected: The Rams let the Cardinals back into the game
This is was what I was worried about. And apparently it was the living nightmare for many Rams fans on Twitter as well. Cardinals RB Kerwynn WIlliams (not exactly a household name) ran for 97 yards and helped the Cards move the ball in the second quarter, almost catching up on the Rams’ 16 point lead. You can easily argue that this isn’t surprising, as the Rams have a suspect run defense and it was bound to catch up to them when they were coasting on a healthy lead. However, the Rams’ first quarter performance lulled me into a false sense of security, so when the Cardinals came storming back, I was caught off guard. And I also hate the Cardinals something awful, so anytime they end up putting together a decent drive, I’m usually shocked. I mean, c’mon! They’re starting a QB named Blaine.
Expected: Todd Gurley makes Jared Goff play better
They are the turning into quite the duo. Each guy needs the other, and watching them thrive together is intoxicating. Gurley’s ability to accumulate a sick amount of yards after the catch was on display in Glendale. I also think it’s brilliant that Gurley’s rushing attempts are kept in check (19 carries), yet he’s still running all over the field (84 yards on 6 receptions).
Unexpected: LB Samson Ebukam is playing like a first-round draft pick
Fourth-round draft pick Samson Ebukam has been given a big opportunity with the injury of LB Connor Barwin and he has risen to the challenge. Starting for the first time in his professional career, the edge defender pressured the QB four times and led the Rams with 4 defensive stops. Have the first round picks Myles Garrett or Solomon Thomas pressured the QB 4 times in one game? No. No they have not.
Expected: S Lamarcus Joyner is elite
Man, it’s so great that this guy is healthy again. He was only targeted 3 times on Sunday, but still managed to get an interception. He’s a dynamic player that’s fun to watch and I really really really hope he continues to wear a Rams jersey.
Unexpected: Alec Ogletree made a huge play and then a terrible one right after?
Ogletree managed an extremely athletic interception that lead to a touchdown, which provided a huge momentum shift for the Rams. However, right as he leaped into the end zone, he did a flip that apparently caused him to land weird on his elbow, causing it to become hyperextended. Now, the team and Ogletree are saying that he didn’t hurt himself on the TD celebration. Instead, he injured his elbow making a tackle. I don’t believe it. However, accidents happen and I still think Ogletree is a positive for the team and I didn’t expect him to make a bone-headed play like this.
All in all, this performance by the Rams was pretty typical. Not a lot of shockers to be had, which was nice. It’s good to know that this team can be counted on when they’re playing an inferior team on the road. Every win in the NFL is hard, and the Rams are showing that they aren’t just lucking out with a weak schedule — they’re a solid team that’s destined to cause some damage in the playoffs.