First off, I don’t care about Jared Goff’s interception in the end zone that was meant for TE Gerald Everett. It was an athletic play by S Derwin James and at least it showed that Goff was willing to thread the needle to get another touchdown. Besides that play, Goff was 29 for 36, racking up 354 yards and 3 touchdown passes. That’s a passer rating of 108.1. Goff made a hell of a play to WR Cooper Kupp that ended up as a touchdown, probably my favorite play of the game. Simply put: Goff played like a superstar on Sunday against the Chargers.
Maybe I’m being a little bit generous here since RB Todd Gurley II and RB Malcolm Brown collectively averaged 4.9 per carry, but the 35 attempts that ended up generating 171 yards on the ground eventually wore down the Charger’s defense line, allowing the Rams’ passing attack to flourish with McVay’s fantastic play-action. Gurley had 105 yards rushing with 1 touchdown — but beyond the stats, the man was everywhere, making a huge impact in the game, also catching 5 passes for 51 yards. Gurley continues to prove that he is the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Rams.
Every week, I think that TE Tyler Higbee and TE Gerald Everett are going to have a coming out party and every week, they show a glimpse of what I want from them; but mostly I feel like Linus, waiting for the Great Pumpkin. Higbee make an amazing catch and Everett showed signs of life, but mostly they were blocking and allowing the WRs to make the plays.
It’s difficult to ask for more than what the Rams’ wideouts produced on Sunday. What was impressive was the even distribution. It wasn’t just one guy killing it out there, it was a unit that was firing on all cylinders. WR Robert Woods had a fantastic game, catching 10 of 11 passes for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. But WR Brandin Cooks and WR Cooper Kupp also stepped up and made huge plays.
This line is the best in the league. Maybe their weak spot is C John Sullivan, who allowed the pressure to get to Goff early in the game, but it was just a blip in the grand scheme of things. The O-line was especially effective with the bubble screens. In total, the Rams were responsible for 521 yards of offense. That’s a day.
It was a challenge for the Rams’ defense and the guys stepped up in big ways. DE Ndamukong Suh basically tattooed QB Philip Rivers into the turf and the rest of the guys wrecked havoc with pressure. Would it be nice to have more sacks? Sure. And the run defense wasn’t an impenetrable wall, allowing 141 yards rushing.
The EDGE rushers, led by LB Samson Ebukam were pretty quiet, unable to get to the QB and stop the passing attack. The bright spot for the LB unit was the play by ILB Cory Littleton, who all over the field, grabbing 5 solo tackles and even blocked a punt on special teams. ILB Ramik Wilson also played a pretty solid game with 6 solo tackles.
If you have a panic button, it’s time to press it. Once CB Marcus Peters went down with an ankle injury, it felt like the secondary got the wind knocked out of them. CB Sam Shields played alright, but S Lamarcus Joyner S John Johnson III had terrible games, allowing WR Mike Williams to have himself a wonderful afternoon. Making things worse, CB Aqib Talib also suffered an ankle injury, which meant more time for CB Troy Hill. At times in the second half, the Rams’ defense looked like “Unlocked Angeles.”
If it wasn’t for that spectacular punt block that ended up as a touchdown, I’d grade them much worse because K Sam Ficken makes my stomach implode when he takes the field. Even his extra point kicks felt like small miracles. This is going to a long stretch of weeks until Greg Zuerlein returns.
I thought the play-calling was very smart, especially in the first half as the run was established. It takes discipline to accept 3 yards gains on the ground when you know that WR Brandin Cooks is just dying to get out there on a deep route. The offense just moved down the field with ease — it’s very fun to watch this offense (and the defense when they’re healthy). Coach McVay proved again that he knows how to win. It’ll be interesting to see how the coaching staff deals with the rash of injuries the team suffered on Sunday — it’s not great that we’re on a short week with a battered roster, but if anybody can handle an issue like this, it’s Coach Sean McVay.