The game was as absolutely lopsided as the score indicates which does not matter in the grand scheme of the NFL since not only do the games not count. The Rams only played two starters.
Here are my five takeaways from the game:
The Rams’ pass rush is going to take a village
What happens when the Rams big three defensive linemen aren’t in the game? Not much up front for the defense. However the pass rush did show some potential when everything clicked. Starting EDGE Samson Ebukam looked really good at times and provided some decent pressure that should improve when he’s with the other starters. Rookie EDGE Justin Lawler showed some decent flashes as did Ethan Westbrooks who has been a good rotational player throughout his career and finished the game with a couple of sacks.
Maybe the Rams do not need a superstar rushing the passer after all. I still would like to see more consistency out of the edge position, but this was a good start.
The Rams could have a group of talented runners
With a player of the caliber of RB Todd Gurley, do you really need good backups? Of course.
The Rams showed some of their answer to that question last night. Second-year pro Justin Davis out of USC was impressive running the ball for 41 yards on seven rushes looking like a decisive runner. Then there was seventh-round choice John Kelly who finished the game with 77 rushes on 13 carries and looked like another playmaker for the Rams.
The Rams don’t have a Nick Foles behind Jared Goff
QB Sean Mannion was bad in this game. Really bad, it is not new and this was not a one game situation. Mannion looks like the same quarterback that he has been since he joined the Rams. He might be a smart quarterback and he maybe great in the meeting rooms, but he has not demonstrated the ability to be a spot starter or even an effective backup.
QB Brandon Allen played better, but he needs to continue playing well. He inspired some confidence, but I would be more confident if he played against 2nd strings before halftime.
The Rams’ rookie class came to play
So I mentioned Lawler and Kelly already, but they weren’t the only rookies that made plays. On defense, middle linebackers Tegray Scales and Micah Kiser looked capable in their roles - Kiser stuffing the run and Scales in coverage and chasing down ball carriers. Although they did not do much to be noticeable, Sebastian Joseph-Day Trevon Young (Incorrectly added Travin Howard and John Franklin-Mayers) were on the field and it looked like they made positive strides.
On the offensive line, Joseph Noteboom and Jamil Demby were pretty impressive. Although I didn’t notice Noteboom was in until the 4th quarter, he looked like he belonged and it would be interesting to see if he plays tackle with the second unit soon. Demby played a few different positions and made positive blocks and provided some push.
It was only the first game of the preseason
It was sloppy, ugly, and at times very boring. This is what preseason football is. The best situation for the Rams is to let their huge group of rookies play and to escape with no injuries to the starters.
Week one was a success all things considered.