What were the expectations going into this game? For me, it was scouting for what players could help out in the playoffs (I’m looking at you, Kevin Peterson). It wasn’t supposed to be a win for the Los Angeles Rams, that’s for sure. Or at least it wasn’t in the cards once they took the field against the San Francisco 49ers.
Here are the expected and unexpected aspects of the game.
Expected: The depth of the Rams linebackers is pretty solid
LB Bryce Hager and LB Cory Littleton both had strong games, doing what they were asked to do. Hager in particular had a nice fumble recovery. But the edge rushers weren’t pressuring the QB much. OLB Samson Ebukam did a great job in pass protection, though, allowing no completions on 13 plays where he was back in coverage (he also had one QB pressure).
Unexpected: Sean Mannion looked like Jared Goff did last year
I was fine with the way that Mannion played. He had a thin offensive line and no Todd Gurley II or Robert Woods (a LOT of dropped passes). Mannion was able to find Michael Thomas with some impressive throws, but also showed some accuracy issues. Reminded me a bit of how Jared Goff played last year — and that’s surprising to me because I expected Mannion to be a bit more seasoned. I also think that he’s a stretch as a starting QB; he’s fine where he is as a backup.
Expected: Jamon Brown is a legit offensive line starter
Who is the biggest Jamon Brown fan at TST? It me. I like his sense of humor and his willingness to get better. He didn’t allow any QB pressures, which is great considering that he was seen as the weakest lineman at the start of the season. He probably still is, but that’s because the line is so strong.
Unexpected: Gerald Everett looked absolutely lost
TE Gerald Everett had the ball thrown to him 6 times and he caught 3 of those. But watching those plays, you got even worse reaction — he just didn’t seem like he had the confidence to find a way to pull in the ball. And there’s the fumble he lost. It was just a bad showing for a guy who has yet to log in a complete game this season. Yes, he’s shown glimpses of a star the front office thinks he will eventually be, but mostly, he seems like a raw player that needs a successful off-season to work out the kinks.
This matchup didn’t hold too many surprises for the Rams. The Niners are a young team that are going to be very annoying next season — I expect beating them twice will be a major challenge. But again, that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
Onto the Wild Card game and the Atlanta Falcons!