We learned that the Rams still have the ability to handle business in games that they should win. Throughout Sean McVay’s tenure in Los Angeles we’ve grown to expect pretty even efforts regardless of the competition, but that loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home three weeks ago felt like the Twilight Zone. Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about Sunday’s victory against the Atlanta Falcons was that the Rams kind of seemed like the Rams again, more so than in any other game so far this season.
The offense, though far from perfect, was able to apply pressure and was able to take a few more shots downfield, and utilized the talents of tight end Gerald Everett for the second time in three weeks. Right guard Austin Blythe and center Brian Allen won’t enjoy the film of this one, but a pleasant surprise came in the form of rookie David Edwards, who filled in at left guard for the injured Joseph Noteboom. It’s one game, but if Edwards can prove to be a keeper it would allow for a slight exhale regarding a line that will at very least need to find a new left tackle next season. Running back Malcolm Brown sat out with an ankle injury, but for the second week in a row rookie Darrell Henderson was integrated into the offense, and was able to make a bit of hay on what should have been negative plays.
The Rams defense finally has a lock down man defender in newly acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and were able to generate a really solid pass rush against Atlanta’s struggling offensive line. Edge Dante Fowler collected three of the team’s five sacks and could’ve definitely had another if not for a Matt Ryan squat/duck. When Clay Matthews returns, possibly after the Rams’ bye week, the Rams defense may round into a unit that can spearhead a playoff push. For now, they slowed a decent offense in Atlanta, but let’s see how they look over the next few games.
The Rams even had a special teams gem when Johnny Hekker converted on a fake punt when he passed to rookie Nick Scott. It truly did feel like the Rams we’ve grown to know over the last couple seasons.
McVay’s crew will need to replicate efforts like Sunday’s to win at least six more games over the next nine, and sneak into the playoffs. They may even need to win seven more games to get in this year, in a field that includes current second place teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, and Carolina Panthers. But it’s all about the Rams and getting themselves right. There seems to be no team in the NFC that they can’t beat the Rams if they are able to fire on all cylinders (including the team with Gold helmets), unfortunately the opposite is also true.
Next up, the Cincinnati Bengals live from Wembley!