The Los Angeles Rams dominated the Arizona Cardinals from start to finish on Sunday. The LA defense allowed just five first downs, 144 yards of total offense (90 passing, 54 rushing) and posted the first shutout of the season.
Meanwhile the Rams blew the doors off the Cardinals defense, especially when the Rams went through the air (354 passing yards, 159 of which went to WR Bradin Cooks).
On third-and-three, the Cardinals line up in shotgun with a running back to QB Sam Bradford’s side. Rams stack the box in case of run. Bradford knows it’s man-coverage. Yet, as soon as the ball is snapped, he immediately stares down Seal-Jones, who is completely covered by John Johnson.
If he looked over to Seal-Jones to draw over LaMarcus Joyner, he would have had a first down completion to Chad Williams.
Rams have 3rd-and-11 deep in their own zone. QB Jared Goff has limited options with Cardinals defense in zone. Goff releases a tight throw when he sees WR Brandin Cooks is 3/4’s out of his cut, and places the ball exactly where Cooks’ hands will be.
Through two games, Cooks’ value as a receiver far surpasses that of WR Sammy Watkins in this system. Cooks can spread the field, make the tight cuts—McVay could send him to the depths of hell and he would still find a way to get open. With Goff’s progression, the relationship they have will be hell on defenses this season.
The Rams allowed just 54 yards on Sunday, and that dominance starts up front. On 1st-and-10, the Cardinals need some space between them and the end-zone. So they give the ball to RB David Johnson, who runs into a wall. Look at the entire line, including the linebacker LB Cory Littleton who comes down to take up a running lane. Johnson loses two on the play as he’s wrapped up by DT Michael Brockers and DT Aaron Donald.
This play isn’t going to work out so well against a defense that is, how you say, good. DE Jacques Smith gets a good rush of LT Andrew Whitworth, and Goff makes a bad throw on a collapsing pocket. Goff barely got it off and I think against another defense, that’s probably an interception.
Shoutout to WR Cooper Kupp on his block of DB Antoine Bethea. Kupp whiffed on a block on RB Todd Gurley’s third carry of the game, resulting in a 4-yard loss. This block made up for it. Gurley wins the 1-on-1 matchup.
Two great things on this play.
- The Cardinals left tackle is left to pick his poison, and he chooses DB Marqui Christian, which leaves LB Samson Ebukam open for the sack.
- DT Ndamukong Suh is basically holding two dudes in the middle and gets away with it.
The offensive line—specifically RG Austin Blythe and RT Rob Havenstein—creates a wide running lane on a fourth-down situation. The Rams need to score, and the o-line has produces one without fail.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals need two yards for a first down to keep their drive alive. At one point, it seems like the running lane is there, only to have it crashed down by Brockers and Donald.
This is a 1st-and-10 throw, and it’s also a jaw-dropping throw from Goff. He threw this from around LA’s own 10-yard line, and the ball lands in Cooks hands around Arizona’s 25 yard-line (around 65 yard throw).
Cooks makes a slight move on the defensive back and has four yards of separation by the time the ball is midway through the air.
This is a bad third-down play on Goff’s part without question. He should have thrown the ball away.
However, his ability to stretch the play was good to see from the third-year quarterback. The Cardinals sent seven, which put a defender in Goff’s face almost immediately. He’s able to spin away and roll out to look for a last-second opening. But throwing on DB Patrick Peterson, who has a height advantage over Cooks, was not the best idea.
Like their game against Oakland, the Rams’ front seven applied the pressure all day.
On a third-down deep in their own zone, Arizona calls a passing play. Wade Phillips calls for a man-coverage that incorporates a stunt between Donald and Suh. With Samson drawing the left tackle, the stunt draws the left guard and allows two rushers to file through the opening.
Bradford has three bodies in the backfield and no time to make a good throw, resulting in a loss.
Nothing to point out here other than WR Robert Woods is just terrific.
Shoutout to Goff on this play. Earlier in the game, the Rams ran a similar passing play and Goff threw a pass that would have gone for a touchdown. but the pass was too low and it was batted away.
This time it goes to TE Tyler Higbee for six. Also, shoutout to Higbee for the touchdown.