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Los Angeles Rams-Indianapolis Colts: 2nd Down, Second Guessing

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Well that’s what Rams fans have been waiting for!

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp
Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Takeaways

Indianapolis Colts QB Scott Tolzien is not Colts QB Andrew Luck. The Los Angeles Rams defense came to play. Rams QB Jared Goff was efficient, and the Rams have found their go-to guy in WR Cooper Kupp.

What happened this Sunday in the 46-9 whooping of the Colts proved only one thing—the Colts stink. However, Ram fans have been waiting for our team to perform at this level for years and could only imagine it under Jeff Fisher.

Sean McVay — congrats on your first win as a head coach. You’re officially undefeated. Keep the streak alive.

Offense

Goff was efficient.

He was by no means outstanding, but he did manage the game well as to down and distance. His throws were accurate and the receivers, WR Sammy Watkins, WR Robert Woods, TE Gerald Everett and Kupp, made the catches...something Rams fans are unaccustomed to seeing.

When a QB gets as much time as Goff did Sunday, he should be accurate. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, because it was the Colts’ defense the Rams were playing against.

The Rams offensive line did their job, protecting Jared. He went through his progressions, made his reads and a a result the Rams offense scored points for a change. Enough points to secure a Jumbo Jack with a purchase of a large drink if you present your game ticket to Jack in the Box.

Fan favorite Kupp, the Rams player of the game, had the best rookie performance ever for a Los Angeles Rams WR. He was something to see. He bobbled one, maintained his concentration and then hauled it in for big gainer. He topped that with a move down the middle for a catch in the end zone and touchdown. Then, already having a great day, made an unbelievable grap in the air, coming down with a toss just inside the out of bounds marker on the right hash mark.

Goff has found his go-to guy, and Cooper Kupp is for real.

The run game stunk. Observing the product, there were times when the offensive line looked like they just don’t know how to block. How can it be that if a defensive player is sitting in front of your face, he is allowed to shoot the gap and get into the backfield or plug line of scrimmage for a stuff, especially if you have the advantage by having the snap count? Put your head on head, your body in front of the d-lineman and go forward—it’s not that tough.

Nevertheless, it’s also easy for the casual observer to just blame the Rams O-line for lack of run production; however, when this game was out of reach, McVay kept the O-line starters in and Malcolm Brown was the RB. His average at the end of the game was not much better than RB Todd Gurley, but when Brown hit the same holes as Gurley was, he was picking up 3-4 yards a carry contrasted to Gurley getting 2 or 1 yards and a pound of dust. It wasn’t until Brown and the Rams reached the goalline that Brown’s stats took a nosedive. Stats can sometimes be misleading when you have so few carries.

After review it is clear that Gurley is just not hitting the hole the way a RB is taught to do.

Run to the hole and don’t think about it!

There is no question that once Gurley gets through the first level, he is a beast at the second and third levels. The problem? He’s not getting past the first level to make the plays Rams fans saw in 2015. This may be a problem which is squarely on Gurley.

On the other hand, Gurley can catch the ball out the backfield. On a few checkdowns, he found himself in the second level with some space. Gurley was a trip up away from breaking it, which is why replacing him isn’t the answer either.

On those runs on which Gurley did pick up yardage, the Rams got called for penalties. So it’s hard to say if Gurley was a complete bust in this game or the line blew it on designed plays to get Gurley outside and into the second level.

I’m leaning on Gurley because of what I observed when Brown was in the game with the starting O-line. Mt expectations are also set by Gurley being picked 10th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft and his ROY performance of 2015.

McVay recognized the lack of production in the run game, as well as those aggravating penalties as areas for improvement during his post game press conference. McVay wasn’t seeing anything different then those that attended the game saw for themselves. At one point, a promising drive for Rams offense went south fast after getting five penalties in six plays.

Unnecessary penalties will kill you, especially illegal procedure for false starts. It’s even worse If your team has a promising drive going or are in the red zone. Bad teams make these mistakes. Good teams don’t. That can be the difference between being a Super Bowl contender or a pretender.

All an offensive lineman has to do is pay attention in the huddle and if you forget the snap count in what must feel like an eternity walking to the line scrimmage, don’t move until the lineman next to you does. Maybe Rams fans are asking too much of the O-lineman. After all, we tolerated Greg Robinson for what seemed like an eternity.

Expect the Rams to correct this immediately as their opponents aren’t going to be the Colts every week.

Nonetheless, the Rams offense came to life having been dead under Fisher. So give credit to Sean McVay and the entire offensive staff for making the Rams offense look good for a change.

Defense

How does one criticize the defense after this performance under Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillps’ tutelage? The Rams defensive line was able to put pressure on Tolzien even without Aaron Donald. Tolzien was a complete nightmare in the pocket and the Rams defense did it to him.

The Rams picked off two passes and went right down the sideline for TDs. CBs Trumaine Johnson and Lamarcus Joyner made it look easy and if you like defense that was fun to watch.

It’s one thing to get a turnover, but when you get a TD on the turnover the opposing team’s look of shell shock is hysterically funny. In this game the Colts knew the one thing they could not afford to do was have Tolzien make a bad read and throw an INT.

Tolzen not only made the bad read, he made bad throws which went for INT’s touchdown scores. Game over.

Credit Wade Phillips, the d-line and the entire defense for getting the job done, BIG TIME.

Special Teams

If you’re being paid 31 million dollars to run back punts, although technically listed on the roster as a WR—don’t screw it up.

Tavon Austin couldn’t make up his mind as to whether he was going to “fair catch” a punt as he was flapping his arms like a bird, or run the punt back. During this moment of deep concentration, (like trying to chew gum and walk at the same time) he muffed the ball leading to a turnover for the Colts.

To make it simple, even though I’m not being paid 31 million dollars, if you have any doubts as to whether to catch a punted ball or run it back—JUST FAIR CATCH IT! This will be fully appreciated by Rams fans relieving us of unnecessary anxious moments, allow the offense do its job, give the defense some much needed rest.

Other then that, the special teams played well. P Johnny Hekker put the ball down deep in the Colts territory as usual, which he is why he is premier punter in the game. And, when called upon K Greg Zuerlein made his FG and X-points. I only mention the extra points because believe it or not, not only did Colts K Adam Vinateri miss a chip shot FG, he botched an extra point. Maybe it’s time, Adam, to seriously give some thought to retirement. You don’t want to screw up your HOF career.

What Should the Rams Take Away From the Trouncing of the Colts

Face it, Rams fans. The beat down of the Colts is over.

The Colts stink. They have always stunk on defense and are nothing less than pathetic on offense without Luck at QB.

Couple that with Head Coach Chuck Pagano, who didn’t even know he was playing the Rams at his post game press conference demonstrating why he is lousy coach that should have been fired three years ago when Irsay had the chance. It was not only stupid. It was insulting to compare the Rams to any Niners team!!!

Maybe he could find a job working for his close friend, Bruce Arians at Arizona. Ram fans would really like that move.

Throw this game away. Work on the run game. Stop the dumb penalties.

Week 2 is approaching...