It wasn’t pretty, but the Rams scratched and clawed their way to 5-0 with a tough 33-31 victory at Seattle. Heading into the game, there were a few narratives in play: a) the Rams would waltz into the Clink and destroy the shorthanded Seahawks, or b) winning on the road against a proud divisional opponent is never easy. Obviously, scenario “b” is what transpired.
Here’s a look at Sean Wilkinson’s Five Rams to watch and how they performed on Sunday.
ILB Mark Barron
In his season debut, Mark Barron logged 48 snaps (80%) and registered 9 total tackles, 5 of which were solo. His presence was felt, as he was able to lay some lumber on the Seattle RBs. Still, the Seahawks’ success on the ground was a big factor in the game, and though Barron’s return was welcome, the LB unit as a whole was once again underwhelming. Barron’s injury was more than likely a high ankle sprain and not an achilles issue, as was widely speculated — if it’s indeed behind him, look for him to return to form against the Bronco’s talented RB duo.
RB Todd Gurley
It’s strange when you’d call a 3-TD, 100 all-purpose yardage game ho-hum, but Todd Gurley has set such a high standard that his solid showing on Sunday was just that. His 3.5 YPC wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring, but on the Rams’ final scoring drive, he did have a few nice 6-yard carries to help put us in position to win. He was also denied a TD on a questionable review. With the Rams’ success throwing the ball, it’s only a matter of time before Gurley breaks a few long runs, but he was unable to best his season-long rush of 23 yards on Sunday.
K Cairo Santos
Newly signed K Cairo Santos almost cost the Rams the game on Sunday with a badly missed PAT, but he recovered to nail the game-winning 39-yarder when the pressure was really on. Given the state of place-kicking this season — Mason Crosby, anyone? — we’ll take it. Also: Santos looked like an NFL kicker, something no one ever said about Sam Ficken. A solid first game for the GZ placeholder.
CB Sam Shields
Two weeks ago, I picked Troy Hill as one of my Rams to watch, but Marcus Peters was activated in a game-time decision, and Hill played just 2 snaps. This week, Hill got the nod over Vikings’ punching bag Sam Shields, as the veteran CB was on the field for just 10 plays. He continues to show a nose for the ball, with one near-INT in his limited action. Though Hill looked pretty solid opposite Peters (who did not), Shields likely remains a valuable part of the LA secondary as Wade Phillip’s rotates personnel.
DL Ndamukong Suh
In what was probably his best game as a Ram to date, Suh registered 7 total tackles (3 solo) and a sack. He also had a sack negated by a defensive holding penalty. Not only is the big fella getting sacks and pressures from all over the line, he’s getting them at critical moments in games. While we’re all sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves (at 5-0!) and our lack of sacks, Suh is quietly having a badass season so far. If you want to nitpick, you can implicate him for some of the Rams run-stopping woes, but from here it looks like 93 is doing his job and doing it well.