With only four games remaining in the season, the Los Angeles Rams sit at a league-leading record of 11-1 after knocking off the Detroit Lions in week 13.
The game was an ugly one from start to finish, though the Rams did enough to secure a 30-16 road win. The offense was off for most of the day, but the defense managed to make up for it with a tremendous performance.
Let’s take a look at the stock report:
ILB Mark Barron
Mark Barron continues to prove that he hasn’t been the same player we’ve become accustomed to as he continues to miss simple tackles. Barron missed essentially all of the offseason with an injury that also cost him the first four games of the season, and his play just isn’t up to par. One can question if the injury has anything to do with it.
ILB Cory Littleton
Where Barron was awful in tackling, Littleton was bad in coverage. Littleton was abused by RB Theo Riddick on three separate instances though it is understandable as Riddick is one of the premier pass catching running backs in the league. Littleton also allowed TE Levine Toilolo right up the seam for a massive gain that was wide open. He did make up for it with an untouched sack, however.
QB Jared Goff
This was not Goff’s brightest game. Though the stat line doesn’t look so bad at 17/33 for 207 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, the performance was much more lackluster. Goff missed WR Robert Woods early where Woods gained separation over the top and would have struck for a massive gain. He missed Todd Gurley in the flat for a touchdown on one series. His interception was a strange decision into triple coverage where he had a guy wide open in the flat to his left. And lastly, he nearly threw two back-to-back pick-6’s near the end of the game. He also needs to do a much better job of securing the football when getting sacked because it lead to another turnover. Now, it wasn’t all bad for Goff. He still made some pin-point throws and got the offense driving, but it was good to get this stinker out of the system.
RB Malcolm Brown
Brown has been a tremendous backup option at running back throughout the season, though that might change now by way of injury. Brown hurt his shoulder early in the game after only receiving two carries for 8 yards and never returned. Let’s hope for the best, though I think the Rams should be okay with John Kelly and Justin Davis if Brown’s injury proves to be lengthy.
CB Marcus Peters
After a bit of a rollercoaster start to the season, Peters has really gotten back to the corner we all know and love. No, he hasn’t created any big turnovers sans the INT against his former team in the Kansas City Chiefs, but his coverage has been solid and he’s barely been beaten if at all. Peters looks to be fully healthy from his calf injury early in the season but actually rolled his ankle at one point in the game on Sunday. It seemed to be a minor injury.
DT Aaron Donald
Unstoppable. Remarkable. Indefensible. There aren’t any words left to describe this mans dominance. On Sunday, AD drew three holding penalties, registered two sacks (one more negated by penalty), five tackles, four tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. Donald is now up to 16.5 sacks on the season and has a legitimate shot to tie or break Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5 sacks in one season. Donald is putting together arguably the most dominant defensive campaign we’ve ever seen in horns.
WR Brandin Cooks
Quietly, Brandin Cooks has become a model of consistency. Cooks etched his name in the record books on Sunday as he became the first receiver in NFL history to notch three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for three different teams in three years. Even with the lost game in Seattle in week five, Cooks has four more games to set a new career-high in receiving yards and is only 150 yards away.
RB Todd Gurley
Gurley returned to himself with a dominant performance against the Lions on Sunday. He amassed 23 attempts for 132 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also chipped in another three receptions for 33 yards as a receiver. Not only that, but he once again showed the awareness to give up a long touchdown run by running laterally on the 1-yard line and dropping before the endzone. Gurley looked to be in good health after a performance in the Chiefs game in which he was clearly hobbled by the ankle injury.
OLB Dante Fowler Jr
Dante Fowler came to life with a solid but unspectacular performance. He notched another sack as a Ram though it was a coverage sack, but it was still nice to see an edge rusher finish a play. Fowler had three total tackles for loss in the game, one of which was a particularly great play on a trick shovel pass to Theo Riddick which he got absolutely blown up on.
The Rams are in firm control of the NFC West as division repeat champions. Not only that, but they now have a chance to lock up a first-round playoff bye with a win against the Chicago Bears next week on Sunday Night Football.