In the first time since Head Coach Sean McVay was hired by the Los Angeles Rams, the team has lost consecutive games. To make matters worse, both were nationally televised games on Sunday Night Football.
Sitting at 11-3 and with the slimmest of chances to regain the first seed in the NFC playoffs, the Rams will look to beat two division rivals over the remaining weeks and look for help from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers.
Let’s jump into the stock report:
QB Jared Goff
Let me preface this by saying Goff wasn’t awful all game. He had a lot of solid plays and generally played a good game, but it was the handful of mistakes that came at the worst times and resulted in the worst plays. His first interception on the Reynolds target wasn’t bad as Reynolds needs to come back and fight for the ball, but that throw never should have been made. The play where his foot was stepped on, tripped, and threw an interception? That was horrific. Sometimes its best to just “eat” a bad play and not make it worse. The missed throws that both would have lead to potential touchdowns to RB Todd Gurley and TE Gerald Everett were massive missed opportunities. Also, Goff needs to work on his fade ball because overthrew Reynolds on three separate fade routes (two before half, one at end of the game).
PR JoJo Natson
Natson only had two chances to return punts and they both ended awfully. The first was a negative return that seen the Rams start their offensive drive at the 5-yard line, and the second was the infamous unforced fumble that changed the outcome of the game. If he just secures the punt properly, the Rams have a shot to tie the game with over three minutes left in the game and starting at their own 40-yard line.
The Eagles did a fantastic job limiting DT Aaron Donald by double-teaming and sliding protections his way. Philly dared anybody else on the defensive line to beat them and it paid off. DT Ndamukong Suh gave QB Nick Foles a good hit or two, but outside of that, the unit generated almost no pressure whatsoever. The DL performed well against the run, but the lack of a formidable pass rush continues to haunt this defense.
KR Pharoh Cooper
Ever since his return from injured reserve, Cooper has had a minimal impact (if any at all). He returned two kicks for an average of 15.5 yards per return, or 10 yards less than a touchback. Not ideal, though one had to be fielded because it wasn’t going to reach the endzone.
RB Todd Gurley
Gurley continues to play like a man amongst boys. He was used heavily on the ground in the first half, though his usage tapered off in the second half as a runner which seems to have become a trend in recent weeks. Gurley finished the game with 12 carries for 48 yards and two touchdowns, he also chipped in with 10 receptions for 76 yards. Gurley would have had a touchdown reception up the seam had Goff given him a more accurate ball. The knee issue that came up mid-game seems as if it’ll be a non-factor moving forward.
WR Robert Woods
Robert Woods had himself a big game with seven receptions for 74 yards. A lot of those yards came after the catch. Woods routinely shook one or two defenders with the ball in his hands creating yardage when there was none. The lack of a deep passing game (or even attempt) is a bit strange because both Woods and Brandin Cooks proved they can be lethal in that regard, though teams are likely scheming those opportunities away.
SS John Johnson III
JJ3 is the best player on the defense not named Aaron Donald, that’s how great he’s become. JJ3 was involved in multiple third (and fourth) down run stops. His pass breakup in the endzone where TE Zach Ertz nearly had a touchdown was a thing of beauty. JJ3 has shown the versatility to play deep or near the line-of-scrimmage, proving there aren’t many weaknesses at all to his game.
Even though these are the only players listed, I actually think ILB’s Mark Barron and Cory Littleton (particularly Barron) had solid games. Barron finally looked alive again laying multiple big hits on defenders. FS Lamarcus Joyner looked good himself with multiple open field tackles though his blunder (as well as CB Aqib Talib) in coverage resulted in two wide open Eagles receivers streaking downfield for a massive gain. Talib really struggled in coverage on WR Alshon Jeffery, and Marcus Peters’ disinterest in tackling is quite strange.