The week 7 matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Atlanta Falcons definitely had a must-win vibe all week. After a tumultuous week of injuries and trades, the Rams just need to play some football to get their season right. And that they did, dominating every facet of the game to beat the Falcons on the road, 37-10.
Here are the grades for your LA Rams:
The haters can eat it. 22 for 37 with 268 yards passing and two touchdowns. QB Jared Goff played like the leader that he is. While he did miss some throws, especially in the first half, he was largely spot-on, turning in what can considered as his best game of the season. Goff started the game strong, connecting with his two security blankets, WR Cooper Kupp and WR Robert Woods. As per usual, he missed on a bomb to WR Brandin Cooks, but I love the aggressiveness. HIs TD pass to Gurley shows that he does possess a good touch with the ball when he’s in the groove. Goff was able to go into giraffe mode, running in a one-yard touchdown and even had an impressive QB sneak for a first down. Great game by Mr. Goff.
90 yards on the ground in a blowout — we’ll take it. Rookie RB Darrell Henderson finally had a chance to see some legit NFL action and he did not disappoint. RB Todd Gurley II was no slouch, catching a beautiful touchdown pass in the end zone. I’m impressed with Henderson’s yards after contact; you can hear the crunch through the TV when he a hits a defender and I gotta say, it’s pretty entertaining to watch this kid run. The dedication to keep Gurley involved was also nice to see. While the stats didn’t pop out, the presence of run-game was a major step moving forward.
As always, the wideouts for the LA Rams played great. Woods laid out a fantastic block for Kupp and all three of the starters were able to provide juice for the offense. All three wideouts had at least 50 yards receiving.
Well, you can’t say that Coach McVay wasn’t calling TE Gerald Everett’s number. Goff missed on some pretty ambitious attempts to Young Gerald in the first half. Most of those targets weren’t very catchable, so it’s hard to ding Everett too much for his effort — the dude got open. With four catches for 50 yards and one touchdown, that persistence paid off. Young Gerald’s spotlight in the offense continues to make TE Tyler Higbee’s contract extension curiouser and curiouser.
This unit was the concern all week and maybe still is. They started out the game pretty rough, barely opening up any gaps for the run game. OL Austin Blythe was a bit lost most of the game, which made things difficult for the running attack early on. However, the line did give some time for Goff to go through his progression, but that could also be that the Falcon’s front seven is below-average. The penalties weren’t a problem for the linemen and it was very encouraging to see Goff with a clean jersey. Rookie LG David Edwards fit in nicely, which was a relief, since the cupboards are pretty thin.
DE Aaron Donald had one of best games of the season, getting all sorts of attention from the Falcons linemen, which freed up the rest of the line to do their thing. DT Sebastian Joseph-Day logged in another worthy performance, proving that he belongs on that line. They handled the run game of the Falcons like pros, capping their total yards to 224 and only 38 yards on the ground.
EDGE Donte Fowler Jr. was a monster — putting up his best stats as Ram. Early on, he had an easy sack that he whiffed on, which could have kept the Falcons from scoring on their first drive. But then he was dominant — three sacks, seven tackles, and all sorts of disruption. Four sacks by the linebackers!!! ILB Cory Littleton had a great game as well and overall, ILB Troy Reeder has been a pleasant surprise, given that he came into the season with no expectations. This unit was great.
The banged up secondary started off strong. CB Jalen Ramsey wasn’t perfect against WR Julio Jones, but it was still much needed presence in the secondary, even if his conditioning isn’t where it needs to be. They mostly eliminated the big plays and for a unit that had a lot of backups in crucial roles (CB Troy Hill and S Marqui Christian), they played very well. Ramsey may have have a bright future with the LA Rams! And how about that fumble recovery for a touchdown by CB Darious Williams? We not me.
K Greg Zuerlein doinked a field goal attempt from the 40-yard line in the first quarter that shouldn’t have been easy, but what are you going to do? He’s our kicker and mistakes happen. The rest of the game for the special team was aces. The P Johnny Hekker pass on 4th down to DB Nick Scott for a first down is enough to give these guys a fantastic grade.
I appreciated the aggressiveness by McVay and company, pushing the tempo, going for it on 4th down, and even setting up the play-action by getting Hendo involved. This is the identity for the team that fans wanted to see weeks ago.