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Los Angeles Rams vs. Los Angeles Chargers: 10 deep dive observations

Each week, we’ll analyze the Rams’ snap count distributions and stats to provide some insight.

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Ten observations from Los Angeles Rams vs. Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3.

1. Spreading the ball around, but not too much. The Rams have had only three receivers catch a pass this season between Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp. Extenuating factors like injuries to Pharoh Cooper and Mike Thomas have probably forced the team’s hand, but the lack of variety is interesting.

2. Robert Woods takes the lead. Woods has now been targeted 29 times this season and has at least nine targets per game - hauling in 10 receptions on 11 targets against the Chargers. Woods continues to feast on matchups manufactured by Sean McVay and from the focus of defenses on Brandin Cooks. However, Cooks is still tops in average yards per catch and total yards.

3. Is measurable pass rush becoming a concern? The immeasurable pressure and impact created by Los Angeles’ fearsome defensive tackles is obvious, but the Rams again generated just one sack against the Chargers. Ndamukong Suh got his first in a Los Angeles uniform, but overall, the team is fifth from the bottom of the league in sack rate per pass attempt. Still, Aaron and Donald and Suh were credited with “at least five quarterback pressures” each by Pro Football Focus.

4. A high scoring rate, but on sustainable drives. Los Angeles is tied for third in the league with 34 points per game, but is also holding the ball for 32:18 per game, higher than the two teams above them in scoring average (Kansas City and New Orleans.)

5. Corey Littleton is quietly one of the league’s most impactful linebackers. Where have you gone, Alec Ogletree? Littleton turned in another big performance against the Chargers, recording 10 combined tackles and his punt block in all 52 defensive snaps. Littleton is 13th in the league with 24 combined tackles.

6. The Rams most common offensive lineup is stunningly balanced. With Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Woods, Cooper Kupp, Cooks, Tyler Higbee and the five original offensive line starters, Los Angeles has run 138 plays. 69 passing plays and 69 rushing plays. Of those plays, a huge 38 percent have gone for first downs.

7. Sam Shields in the spotlight. After a slowly increasing diet of snaps, Shields will be thrust into duty between the injuries to Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Shields led all corners and had his most snaps on defense with 37 (71 percent of the total) this week since Week One of 2016 when he played 62 snaps with Green Bay against Jacksonville.

8. Higbee’s longest play of the season. The tight ends are still on the backburner in the passing game’s plans, but Tyler Higbee still played 75 percent of the snaps and caught both of his targets for 35 yards.

  • 9. Lack of preseason play rust is gone. After missing a few deep connections to Woods in the first game of the season, Goff’s deep ball is back. According to Pro Football Focus, he completed 9-of-11 pass attempts of 10-plus yards downfield and 2-for-2 for 75 yards and a score on throws 20-plus yards downfield in an overall monstrous day.

10. Blythe continues to impress. Jamon Brown may be sitting for a long time. Austin Blythe didn’t surrender a pressure in 38 pass blocking attempts again on Sunday. He also received a 77.2 run blocking grade from PFF.