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Los Angeles Rams versus Minnesota Vikings: Sosa’s film review

Let’s take a look at a few plays that encapsulate the Rams’ strong offensive performance on TNF

Minnesota Vikings v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

On the back of another absolutely brilliant offensive performance, the Los Angeles Rams remain unbeaten and head into week five as the clear-cut favorite to potentially represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves we should take a look at why Head Coach Sean McVay designs plays the way he does and how the Rams’ offense personnel executes the plays to a crisp perfection.

Here are some of the plays I’ve grabbed from the week four showdown with the Minnesota Vikings:


Here we are going to take a look at how WR Cooper Kupp (#18) is lined up extremely tight in the formation and why. First, the Rams generally like to run split zone out of this formation meaning Kupp would come across the formation to the weakside (towards Andrew Whitworth) and block that defensive end with the zone run going to the right.

The reason this is interesting because of what happens in picture #2.

On this snap (below), Kupp is once again lined up tight but it’s on the weakside of the formation as opposed to the strongside like the first picture.

You might ask, what’s the difference or significance here?

The plays look nearly identical, and that’s what makes McVay and the Rams’ offense so great. Everything looks alike. It’s tough to tell any two plays apart. They can run any play out of any formation and make it look like something else.

Here is the actual play:

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Instead of it being a split zone run like the first was, the Rams run a play action fake with TE Tyler Higbee pulling across the formation (faking the split zone run). The tight WR (Kupp) spends the first part of his route looking like he was down blocking - instead he releases cleanly and freely into his crossing route which developed into a wheel route up the sideline. Because of the scheming and formation, Kupp is covered by LB Anthony Barr, proving to be a major mismatch. QB Jared Goff has a clean pocket to work with and delivers a perfect pass to Kupp who doesn’t need to break stride and walks into the endzone.

This play is going to show how McVay is continually building, innovating, and manipulating defenses.

Most people probably only noticed the absolute dime that Jared Goff delivered while on the run to Cooper Kupp in the back of the endzone for a touchdown - and they should, it was pristine. This pass might be the best Goff has ever thrown in the league. But the play is a microcosm of how great McVay is at extending his playbook and building off concepts that worked (and are on tape) for teams to study. He’s always one step ahead.

In week one, the Rams ran a pitch-pass to Todd Gurley for a 20-yard touchdown. In week two, McVay ran the same concept with a new wrinkle in having WR Brandin Cooks run across the formation in the opposite way (as well as Gurley’s regular motion) and getting the ball instead of Gurley (covered that play here).

This week? McVay ran another variation of the play with both Gurley and Cooks running their motions but the play being a play action pass with Goff rolling out to his right and delivering a dime to Kupp for a touchdown.

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Here’s another angle from the perfect pass:

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Here is another random play that I grabbed from the game that just shows how much stress McVay is putting on defenders with his scheme.

The ghost motion from WR Robert Woods (#17) is already putting the defense on notice that something tricky is coming, the play action to Gurley makes them believe a sure-fire pass is coming, and the routes to help clear out that side of the field from Kupp and Cooks make this play work to perfection (also the OL does an outstanding job).

If you want to see what kind of bind McVay is putting defenders into, just look at MLB Eric Kendricks (#54).

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Jared Goff MVP case?

Here’s a little bonus since we’ve covered the formations/plays that had the Vikings in a bind.

Does Jared Goff have an MVP case? Absolutely he does, because the pace he is on is incredible.

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This play here shows just how good he executes in this scheme. Right off the snap Goff understands he has his target in Robert Woods matched up on a LB in Anthony Barr. He knows where he’s going with this ball right at the snap but he still has the IQ to look to the right of the formation and hold off the safety. Doing that leaves Woods wide open up the seam and Goff delivers him a clean strike for an easy touchdown.