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Los Angeles Rams versus Philadelphia Eagles: Matchups to watch revisited

Sosa revisits his matchups to watch. TE Zach Ertz was limited, though Alshon Jeffery stepped up when he had a chance.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams are coming off consecutive losses for the first time under Head Coach Sean McVay’s tenure. The game was a nail-biter down to the end with the Philadelphia Eagles coming out on top with a 30-23 win. Even with the Rams committing major mistakes on all phases of the ball, the game resulted in a one score loss that seen QB Jared Goff overthrow WR Josh Reynolds in the endzone on the last play of the game.

Let’s revisit the matchups to watch:

RB Todd Gurley vs OLB Nigel Bradham

Last week’s matchup to watch:

What better time for a star running back to bounce back than a week after he wasn’t used? Gurley abused the Eagles in 2017, though just like last week, simply wasn’t used nearly enough. Gurley mounted 13 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns, he also chipped in with three receptions for 39 yards. The Eagles’ run defense is ranked 28th in yards-per-carry allowed at 4.9, setting the scene for a massive game from the Rams’ workhorse. Time to let the pony ride, the Rams need to design a gameplan on the back of their best player.

Todd Gurley continued his strong season though he was used sparingly on the ground in the second half. Part of the lack of usage can be attributed to a hobbled knee that seen him limping around, but Gurley was still healthy enough to continue playing. Gurley had 12 attempts on the ground for 48 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He was also featured as a receiver grabbing 10 receptions on 13 targets for 76 yards. Gurley was wide open up the seam for another touchdown, though QB Jared Goff missed the throw. Here’s the play:

RG Austin Blythe vs DT Fletcher Cox

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Austin Blythe has performed as one of the best guards in the league, though he fetches another extremely tough assignment in Fletcher Cox this week. Cox is arguably the second best defensive tackle in the league right after our very own Aaron Donald. If the Rams want to be successful on the offensive side of the ball, they’ll need to limit Cox’s destruction.

Austin Blythe pretty much did all he could as a blocker against one of the leagues best defenders in Fletcher Cox. The running game was highly successful, so the entire offensive line did well in that regard. They weren’t bad in pass pro either as the OL only surrendered one sack to the Eagles (and Fletcher Cox in particular).

DT Aaron Donald vs Brandon Brooks

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The Eagles may have Fletcher Cox, but we have Aaron Donald. Donald is destroying worlds as he’s currently sitting at 16.5 sacks on the season and well within range of breaking the single-season defensive tackle sack record of 18 sacks by Keith Millard, set in 1989. His opposition is very good in Brandon Brooks, but Donald is simply in another class. Look for him to create history on Sunday Night Football in Los Angeles.

The title here should probably be adjusted to “DT Aaron Donald vs all of the Eagles’ offensive line” because that’s how they played him. Kudos to Philly, they went into the game with a clear gameplan to offer as much help as possible against Donald and it worked. AD had a quiet game that only seen him active on a few tackles and no sacks.

SS John Johnson III/Marqui Christian vs TE Zach Ertz

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Zach Ertz is by far and away the Eagles’ best weapon offensively. He’s currently sitting at 98 receptions for 1,016 yards and six touchdowns on the year. He’s on pace to beat the all-time single-season TE receptions record of 110, set by Jason Witten in 2012. The Rams responsible for covering him will be strong safeties John Johnson III and Marqui Christian (who’ll be subbed on for ILB Mark Barron). They’ll need to everything they can to limit Ertz, though it will be tough in zone coverage.

John Johnson III was absolutely outstanding on Sunday night as he proves to be one of the best players on the team. JJ3 was used in a variety of ways, though none were more important than his coverage on TE Zach Ertz. He held Ertz to a 3-22-0 line. Not only that, but he was sniffing around the line-of-scrimmage at times and worked his way to a 14-tackle performance. JJ3 ruined multiple drives with run stops on third and fourth down.

QB Jared Goff vs Philadelphia’s secondary

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Coming off arguably the worst game of his career, Jared Goff will have a chance at a major rebound this week. The Eagles’ secondary has been ravished with injuries with starters SS Rodney McLeod (former Ram), CB’s Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, and Sidney Jones all out. Goff will have a chance to light up the patchwork group of Corey Graham, Malcolm Jenkins (who’s still really good), Cre’Von LeBlanc, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, and Chandon Sullivan.

Jared Goff continues his streak of shaky play for the third week in a row now. Ever since the bye week, Goff hasn’t looked like the same player we’ve been accustomed to seeing. Goff had two awful misses to Gerald Everett and Todd Gurley that would have resulted in touchdowns. His inability to keep the ball safe and not turn it over is really costing the team right now, though his offensive lineman aren’t doing him many favors. Three turnovers from Goff will typically lead to a loss.

LT Andrew Whitworth vs RE Michael Bennett

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Let me preface by saying this, Michael Bennett hasn’t practiced this week and might very well miss this game. Now, if he does play, he’s going to be a major issue for the offensive line. Bennett plays DE on base downs and kicks to DT at times on passing situations, and boy is he still disruptive. Andrew Whitworth will get his fair share of Bennett, so he’ll have his hands full all game with the duo of Bennett and Brandon Graham.

As always, Andrew Whitworth was solid. Michael Bennett didn’t do much in the game. Actually, he wasn’t even on the stat sheet. That’s a win for #77 every day of the week.