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The Good, the Bad and the Difference

A great team asserted its dominance over a Football Team

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Washington Football Team Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Despite having the game’s only turnover, the LA Rams were little else other than highlights in Sunday’s 30-10 win over Washington Football Team. The Rams outgained Washington on a 4-to-1 ratio and held them 1.8 yards per pass attempt and improved to 4-1 on the season. Quarterback Jared Goff added three touchdowns to his season total, Aaron Donald has more sacks than he’s ever had through five games and Los Angeles hopes to carry this momentum into San Francisco next Sunday night.

Here is the good, the bad and the difference in Week 5’s win over Football.

The Good

Robert Woods 56-yard touchdown catch

Woods had his longest play since a 94-yarder in 2017. His average depth of target going into the game was only 5 yards per throw, but that number should go up considerably with this pass from Goff.

Darrell Henderson touchdown / Sean McVay play calling

McVay’s preparations for each week could be the underrated storyline of the season. They have scored on the opening drive in four of games games.

I think a commentator’s favorite line in football is “Remember, they can get a first down without getting a touchdown.” Henderson got LA down to the 1, then gave the team a 6-0 lead.

Jordan Fuller pass breakup on first drive

Fuller made his return immediately obvious, deflecting away a pass intended for Terry McLaurin on third-and-six. Fuller had two of LA’s five passes defensed on Sunday.

Jared Goff to Gerald Everett

Goff looked in control on the first drive, mitigating mistakes when he was under pressure, audibling to a long completion to Josh Reynolds and twice finding Gerald Everett for big gains. Goff was 7-of-7 for 68 yards. Everett had a 17-yard and a 23-yard reception on the first drive.

Everett then added a 40-yarder in the second quarter.

Goff was 13 of 14, 194 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT midway through the second quarter

Jared Goff in the first quarter this season: 92.6-percent completions

The Rams have scored 34 points in five first quarters, and that includes not scoring in that period against the Bills. They have 67 first half points this season, 69 points in the second half.

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald has 7.5 sacks, which is four more sacks than he’s ever had through the first five games of a season. The Rams have 17 sacks in the last three games alone.

Troy Reeder/Troy Reeder/Troy Reeder

Troy Reeder only blitzed three times in 2019, but he had three sacks on Sunday alone.

Maybe Reeder is a better fit for what Brandon Staley is looking for in certain situations than what Wade Phillips was able to get out of him last year. With Micah Kiser inactive, Reeder has done no less than earn some fans who’ll want to see him on the field again next week regardless. His 11 tackles were a team high and the most he’s had since Week 5 against the Seahawks last season.

Goff touchdown run

Goff has two touchdown runs this season, tying his career high posted in each of the last two years. He doesn’t seem likely to run for a lot of yards, but Goff is almost halfway to his career high in rushing attempts. Scrambling and putting quarterbacks in space is just a new normal in the NFL.

Goff to Kupp for 49 yards in third quarter

Kupp has now had a 55-yard catch and a 49-yard catch over the last two games after not having anything longer than 24 over the first three. He’s at 363 yards on the season.

Pass Interference

This play on third down helped keep a Rams touchdown drive alive.

Some improved tackling

Reeder made a big stop on third down in the second quarter and while I’ll get to tackling again later, it seems they got better as the game went on.

Alex Smith returning to football

It’s unfortunate that it took an injury for it to happen, but for the first time in almost two years, Alex Smith played in a football game. That’s worth celebrating. Ron Rivera said after the game that Allen would start next week, if healthy. That’s to protect Smith, but it is also because the team had issues protecting Smith and his lack of playing time in the last 23 months was also quite evident.

Cam Akers also returns

Akers was preparing as the starter in Week 2 but after missing two games, served as more of Sean McVay’s closer in Week 5. Akers didn’t have a run longer than six years going into the day but then showed off his ability to force missed tackles on this 46-yard scamper.

Pass protection

Giving credit to Washington’s impressive defensive line, which had four tackles for a loss, the Rams offensive line didn’t necessarily win every battle on the day. Nor should they be expected to. But despite Chase Young looking disruptive, Goff ended up only getting sacked one time (also credit to Goff, the coaching staff) and that was the only QB hit on the box score.

Pass defense

Smith went 9 of 17 for 37 yards and Kyle Allen went 9 of 13 for 74. After getting sacked eight times and losing 41 yards, that left Washington with only 70 net passing yards. That’s the fewest allowed by the Rams in three years.

The Bad

Jared Goff interception

Not a good throw or decision by Goff, but also a good play by Kendall Fuller.

Poor tackling

On Washington’s second drive, they were able to move the ball by gaining just enough each play to keep picking up first downs, converting two third downs and a second-and-goal touchdown run by Kyle Allen from seven yards out. Kenny Young was beat to the edge by Allen, Reeder was among a number of players who missed a tackle on Antonio Gibson.

Jalen Ramsey hit on Kyle Allen

You can be mad at the rule or you can be mad at the call if you think that Kyle Allen lowered his helmet into Ramsey’s, but how can the refs not throw the flag here? By rule, it is a penalty. Players have to figure out how to make these plays without getting flagged even though it’s perfectly understandable that Ramsey can’t just let Allen easily run for a first down in this situation either.

Sam Sloman missed PAT

I was thinking to myself the other day that moving back the PAT is one of the best rule changes of my lifetime. It really has made the game more exciting. Unfortunately, the Rams are on the wrong side of that excitement this season.

People never seem to post Sloman’s missed kicks (two field goals, two PATs now) on Twitter and maybe that’s the only good thing about the website.

Chase Young Note

The Rams did a nice job on Young, but also he was a bright spot for Washington and won some battles against Andrew Whitworth. This coming after he missed almost all of the last two games and has barely learned what it is like to play in the NFL.

Micah Kiser inactive

Drops

The Rams had at least three drops by skill players this week, not a common issue in this offense.

The Difference

“My trenches vs your trenches”

Against any team not in the NFC East, the Football Team may just not have many opportunities to win this season. It’s been a year in which Rivera has been open to experimenting and playing around with his roster, even at the potential cost of a win. Washington rarely was in position to stay competitive on Sunday but even when they were down 13 points, it looked as though Rivera was willing to keep Alex Smith in the game despite Kyle Allen being available to return. Probably because he saw it as good “warm up” reps for Smith and to prepare him to play later in the season, not because Rivera was especially concerned with winning a game that Football Team had little chance of winning in the second half.

The Rams ran 66 plays and gained 429 yards.

The Football Team ran 42 plays and gained 108 yards.

The Rams passed for 300 yards.

The Football Team passed for 70 yards.

The Rams rushed for 129 yards.

The Football Team rushed for 38 yards.

The Rams had the ball for 35:35 and averaged 6.5 yards per play.

The Football Team had the ball for 24:25 and averaged 2.1 yards per play.

It’s one of those games where a team doesn’t need to win the turnover battle (LA had one, Washington had none) to win the game. Or for it to even be close.

The LA Rams didn’t show up to this degree last week against the Giants and Daniel Jones, but Football Team and a quarterback who hasn’t played in almost two years is even another level below that. Sometimes “the difference” in a game doesn’t need to be complicated: the Rams are a better football team.