Ten observations from Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks in Week 10.
But first, the snap count distributions.
1.) Step up for Kupp
WR Cooper Kupp’s season is done after he tore his ACL and the next man up is conceivably WR Josh Reynolds Reynolds played 10 snaps and seven special teams snaps against Seattle, but will likely be moved to offense full-time based on how often the Rams use three-receiver and bunch sets. There will be an adjustment because of QB Jared Goff’s seemingly telepathic connection with Kupp, but Reynolds offers size and is a big target red zone threat.
2.) Emergence of the tight ends
One condolence to the loss of Kupp is both TE Tyler Higbee and TE Gerald Everett scoring against Seattle. Higbee caught all three of his targets for 25 yards and a score. Everett caught both of his targets for 15 yards and a touchdown. The yardage wasn’t gigantic, but the Rams will need both need to have larger roles in the red zone equation with Kupp out.
3.) Run defense is still problematic
Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny isn’t exactly in line for the Pro Bowl, but had his first career 100-yard rushing performance despite getting just 12 carries against Los Angeles. RB Mike Davis added another 58 yards and the Seahawks as a whole averaged eight yards per carry. DL Aaron Donald and DL Ndamukong Suh spent a lot of the day pass rushing upfield to keep QB Russell Wilson off kilter as the Seahawks only managed 141 net passing yards. The Rams will need to plug up the run game better against Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt next week.
4.) Fowler giveth and Fowler taketh
New Rams EDGE Dante Fowler, Jr., had a maddening day at the office getting two personal foul penalties that cost his team, but also had a strip sack of Wilson to help the Rams score on the ensuing play and secure the win. Fowler is the 38th ranked edge defender by Pro Football Focus and should grow into a bigger role in the back half of the season after playing 72 percent of the snaps against Seattle.
5.) Too many penalties
Speaking of Fowler’s penalties, the Rams’ defense as a whole had five personal foul penalties and 10 total for 102 yards. Los Angeles hasn’t given up 100 yards or more in penalties since Week 14 of 2017 against the New Orleans Saints.
6.) Aaron Donald is ridiculous
Donald is now the most prolific single-season interior sack-master in Rams franchise history. Aaron Donald recorded 2.5 more quarterback take downs to bring his total to 12.5 for the season, breaking D’Marco Farr’s record of 11.5 in the 1995 season. He also continued to be Wilson’s worst nightmare, sacking the Seahawks QB for a total of 10.5 in his career.
7.) Woods has been a steal
WR Robert Woods had four catches for 89 yards to bring his 2018 total to 832 yards in 10 games to go along with 111 rushing yards. His previous high was 781 yards in 12 games last season. Projecting Woods into a larger role has paid off big time. He’s indispensable for the Rams.
8.) The secondary looked improved
CB Sam Shields has been up-and-down since coming back to the league, but the Rams clearly missed him against the Saints. He played 29 defensive snaps and 18 special teams snaps against Seattle.
9.) Cooks’ quiet dominance
WR Brandin Cooks has somehow flown under the radar compared to Saints Michael Thomas, Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones and others, but he’s sixth in the league in receiving yards with 857 yards and is second in the league in receptions of 20 plus yards with 16. He had 10 receptions for 100 yards against Seattle.
10.) Set your watch to Todd Gurley
Gurley is as consistent as it gets. He had 160 yards total against Seattle and scored again, moving his streak to 13 consecutive games with a touchdown. He’s also had at least 100 yards in five games this season with weeks left to go, one short of his six total he did that last season.