QB Jared Goff didn’t have impressive numbers, but he got out of the way by allowing the running game to dominate and he didn’t turnover the ball. So, this didn’t turn out to be the Jared Goff show that I was expecting, but I’ll take it.
The Los Angeles Rams officially have a two-headed monster in the backfield and though we didn’t see this coming in the preseason, it’s a very welcome sight going into the NFC Championship game. Gurley and the meatball — I like the sound of that. RB C.J. Anderson and RB Todd Gurley both ran for over 100 yards, which set the tone of the game.
LT Andrew Whitworth was downright disrespectful of the Dallas Cowboys as he led the Rams offensive line to their most impressive game of the season. 273 rushing yards and a lot of time for Goff to throw the ball was exactly what the Rams needed. Timing is everything.
TE Tyler Higbee did have a nice 19-yard catch, but his partner is crime, TE Gerald Everett, failed to grab a catch with his two targets.
This was a matchup that wasn’t about the passing game, but WR Robert Woods and WR Brandin Cooks still showed up and did their jobs. Cooks had an spectacular catch in the end zone that was called back, but those are the breaks.
For a game that was predicted to be all about RB Ezekiel Elliott taking advantage of the Rams run defense, this was quite the performance. DL Ndamukong Suh was fantastic at stopping the run, limiting the Cowboys rushing attack to 50 yards.
LB Dante Fowler Jr. had a nice game, getting to QB Dak Prescott for a loss. The LBs had to deal with a pass-heavy Cowboys team since they were coming from behind and they did an admirable job not allowing the ‘Boys to make it too close. LB Cory Littleton also showed some flashes of brilliance, finding a way to be everywhere on the field all at the same time.
Can one player bring down a grade for some pretty good play by the entire unit? Well, CB Marcus Peter tried his best! And S Lamarcus Joyner was uneven in his play, making the secondary the biggest weak spot of the team. They weren’t “unlocked Angeles,” but maybe “unhinged Angeles.” The Marcus Peters beefs with WR Amari Cooper were a major distraction and completely unnecessary for a playoff game.
K Greg Zuerlein put 12 points on the board and P Johnny Hekker didn’t have to punt more than once, but it wasn’t a great punt. Not sure what’s going on with him lately — Hekker doesn’t seem to be the dominant punter that he used to be, maybe due to his lack of opportunities?
The offensive play calling was absolutely masterful and was exactly what was needed. Coach McVay hit it out of the park to grab his first playoff victory as an NFL head coach. And the defensive approach to the Cowboys run game was, well, you saw the game — Wade Phillips killed it.