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Los Angeles Rams at Atlanta Falcons: Matchups to watch revisited

Sosa put together five matchups that played a part in deciding the outcome of the game. Let’s revisit them.

Los Angeles Rams v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

With their backs up against the wall, the Los Angeles Rams dominated the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 37-10, securing their first win since Week 3. The Rams were essentially in a “must-win situation”, because the NFC West may very well be the strongest division in football and the Rams were already playing catch up in Week 7.

Let’s revisit the matchups to watch:

Rams secondary versus Falcons receivers

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The Falcons boast one of the best trio of receivers in the league in Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and slot receiver Mohamed Sanu. The Rams’ secondary is in a major transitional phase as the starting unit will only return ONE player who started just two weeks ago. Marqui Christian will line up at safety with Eric Weddle, and Troy Hill will make his second start at cornerback, alongside Nickell Robey-Coleman and potentially the newly added Jalen Ramsey. If Ramsey plays, he’s likely to travel with Jones, providing one of the most exciting matchups you’ll see in 2019. The Falcons’ passing attack is 2nd in the league in passing yards per game with 317.8.

The secondary of the Rams performed incredibly. Ramsey suited up and spent a lot of his time covering Jones, and neutralized him for majority of the contest. When the starters were in the game, Matt Ryan had only 159 yards passing, zero touchdowns, and one interception. Jones led the Falcons with six receptions for 93 yards, but Ridley (4-30) and Sanu (1-3) were absolutely blanked. The secondary — and not just Ramsey — played a tremendous game, especially for a unit that had three new starters than they did two weeks ago.

QB Jared Goff versus Falcons secondary

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Conversely, the Falcons’ secondary is terrible, allowing 271.8 passing yards per game, which is good for 28th in the league. The unit will be missing cornerback Desmond Trufant, leaving the struggling unit shorthanded. Jared Goff has struggled in 2019, particularly in Week 6, but this defense gives Goff the perfect opportunity to rebound after putting together a historically bad game.

Goff had no issues dicing up the Falcons’ secondary, completing 22 of 37 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. There were some plays left on the field — mainly to tight end Gerald Everett — though the offense was in sync and rhythm from start to finish. The performance felt like a 2018 Goff performance, with heavy play action usage and accurate passing.

OG’s David Edwards/Austin Blythe versus DT Grady Jarrett

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Rookie fifth-round pick David Edwards will draw his first NFL start (or game action for that matter) at left guard. Austin Blythe continues to struggle at right guard, giving Grady Jarrett every reason to lick his chops. Jarrett is one of the best defensive tackles in the league, but he hasn’t registered a sack since Week 2. The interior trio for the Rams are sure to have their hands full.

Outside of a few gaffs in the run blocking department, the interior offensive lineman for the Rams couldn’t have done a better job keeping Jarrett neutralized. Jarrett — who is a top-five defensive tackle — had four combined tackles, and had nearly no impact as a pass rusher.

WR’s Robert Woods/Cooper Kupp versus CB Isaiah Oliver/S Damontae Kazee

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are the two most productive receivers on the Rams’ roster, and they get a dream matchup opposing Isaiah Oliver and Damontae Kazee (nickel). Oliver becomes the Falcons’ #1 cornerback with Trufant ruled out, displaying just how weak they are at the cornerback position. Woods and Kupp have every opportunity to run freely all afternoon, giving Goff many options to target.

Woods collected five receptions on seven targets for 80 yards, and Kupp reeled in six receptions on eight targets for 50 yards. Both players were productive, though it seemed to be Gerald Everett’s game as he became the featured weapon on offense. The skill players of the Rams had no issues uncovering in this game.

S Taylor Rapp versus TE Austin Hooper

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Austin Hooper is off to an incredible season as he leads all tight ends in receptions and is second to only Travis Kelce in yards. The Rams will likely have multiple guys rotate in coverage, though Taylor Rapp should receive majority of the coverage on Hooper. Rapp is having a solid rookie season as he’s allowing a 70% completion rate, six yards per target, and a 85.2 rating when targeted.

Prior to garbage time (last three minutes of the 4th quarter), Hooper had zero receptions, though he ultimately finished the game with four receptions on five targets for 46 yards and one touchdown. Rapp — and Cory Littleton — were brilliant in covering Hooper, rendering him invisible for 57 minutes.