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Los Angeles Rams versus Baltimore Ravens: Matchups to watch revisited

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Sigh. Let’s revisit the matchups and dissect how they played out.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A pitiful performance on Monday Night Football ultimately ended the Los Angeles Rams’ season. The Baltimore Ravens tore it up by a score of 45-6, leaving the Rams with practically nothing to play for in the remainder of 2019. Sure, the playoffs could be reached in the event of a miracle, but with the way the Rams are playing, it shouldn’t really be a discussion.

Let’s revisit the matchups to watch:

S Taylor Rapp vs. QB Lamar Jackson

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The Rams — and Rapp in particular — will have their hands full as they oppose arguably the best and most exciting player in football in Jackson. The electric ability and mobility are incredibly flashy and create many jaw-dropping highlight plays, but make no mistake, Jackson has a lethal arm to boot. Rapp is likely to be used as a spy in certain points as well as an extra rusher to help the defensive line maintain gap control and responsibility, though no team has really shown the ability to completely shutdown Jackson yet. The idea will be to contain Jackson, and to specifically remove any major game-changing plays.

It isn’t fair to single out Rapp, but he was bad, as were all of his teammates on the defensive side of the ball. Jackson could literally do whatever he pleased as he scored five touchdowns and was once again benched in the 4th quarter, and not because he wasn’t playing well, but because he destroyed the Rams. Jackson was absolutely unstoppable. Rapp’s biggest gaff looked to be the 39-yard rush from Jackson that placed the ball at the 1-yard line due to a slip.

ILB Cory Littleton vs. TE Mark Andrews

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The Ravens’ biggest weapon (outside of Jackson) is easily Andrews, though Jackson does feel a high-level of comfort targeting all of his tight ends, including Hayden Hurst — to a lesser degree — and Nick Boyle. Andrews is essentially an oversized slot receiver who has 598 receiving yards and six touchdowns on the season. Littleton will be tasked with covering Andrews, as will Rapp. Both guys are going to be relied upon in major spots and on important down-and-distances. This matchup could help decide the game.

Andrews didn’t do much as he only had two receptions for 45 yards, but he wasn’t really needed. The Ravens had a full compliment of weapons step up, leaving Andrews with not much to do. Littleton wasn’t called on much, but he did have a personal foul when he hit Andrews on the head over the middle of the field, adding 15 extra yards to a first-down conversion.

WR Robert Woods (or Josh Reynolds) vs. CB Marcus Peters

Last week’s matchup to watch:

You just knew Peters would find his way on this list, and deservedly so. Since being traded for a can of expired string beans, Peters has upped his game from good to elite, registering two pick-sixes and four pass deflections in four games with the Ravens. Woods — or Reynolds in case Woods isn’t active — is going to see the most coverage from Peters. It’s a matchup of two heavyweights who have a ton of familiarity with each other after practicing opposite of each other for nearly two years.

Woods was active, and he was by far the best player on the Rams’ offense in the contest. Woods pulled down six receptions for 97 yards on nine targets, though some of it did come in garbage time. As expected, Peters did pull himself down an interception after baiting QB Jared Goff in what appeared to be a cover-2.

Rams’ OL vs. Ravens’ DL

Last week’s matchup to watch:

As it stands, the Rams are likely to start the same five offensive lineman from the Week 11 win over the Chicago Bears. The unit was: LT Andrew Whitworth, LG Austin Corbett, C Austin Blythe, RG David Edwards, and RT Bobby Evans. The pass rush of the Ravens starts with edge rusher Matt Judon as he’s registered 22 pressures and six sacks on the season. The offensive line needs to give QB Jared Goff time to operate, as well as open holes for the running game to remain productive and allow the offense to stay in positive down-and-distance scenarios.

The Ravens only collected two sacks in the game — one of which came from Judon — yet the offensive line still struggled. The Rams had 23 rushing yards and 212 passing (a good amount that came in garbage time). It was ugly, and they reverted to the offensive line play we seen much of the season as opposed to the performance from Week 12.

EDGE’s Clay Matthews/Dante Fowler Jr. vs. OT’s Ronnie Stanley/Orlando Brown Jr.

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The duo of Matthews and Fowler are of the utmost importance for the Rams tonight. Not only because they’ll need a pass rush (as always), but they — as well as the remainder of the defensive line — need to maintain their rushing lanes and try to contain the explosiveness of Jackson inside and outside of the pocket. The Ravens deploy one of the best duos at tackle with Stanley and Brown, giving the defensive line of the Rams even more to deal with.

Matthews and Fowler were invisible, just like every other remaining defender. Matthews in particularly looked slow to react and his lack of speed was very evident when chasing Jackson. The entire defensive line was manhandled play after play.