The Los Angeles Rams are 21st in points scored at the midpoint of the season and 24th in points per drive. The Super Bowl team of 2018 was second in scoring and third in points per drive. They were propelled by Jared Goff’s touchdown rate of 5.7%, but that figure dropped to 3.5% in 2019 and sits at 4.6% through eight games.
Todd Gurley scored 17 rushing touchdowns that season too, with nine of them coming within two yards of the goal line.
The Rams need to find that rate of scoring once again, to consistently put Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers within two yards of the goal line and for Goff to find his form again because after a quality start to begin the season, he’s regressed back to his 2019 numbers thanks to a recent slump. While the Seattle Seahawks were once a dreaded matchup for Goff because of their prowess for good pass defense, that is not even close to the case anymore.
The Seahawks could be just what the gofftor ordered.
Though LA has won four of their last six games against Seattle and had every business winning all six, Goff has thrown eight interceptions in those games and fumbled four times. He has passed for over 300 yards in three of his last four starts against the Seahawks, though that is probably also related to the NFL’s current passing era and desire to show fans the long ball.
The Seahawks have no qualms about opening the gates for opposing passers to pad their stats and provide competition for Russell Wilson in the 2020 MVP debate. Josh Allen knows plenty about that.
Of the eight quarterbacks who have thrown at least 20 passes against Seattle, San Francisco 49ers backup Nick Mullens had the fewest yards (238) and had two touchdowns and no interceptions in place of starter Jimmy Garoppolo. Mullens’ 9.52 yards per attempt however is the second-most of any QB to face the Seahawks this year, behind the 10.92 of Allen on Sunday.
Three quarterbacks have thrown for more than 400 yards against Seattle (Dak Prescott at 472, Matt Ryan at 450 and Allen at 415) and three more have topped 300 (Cam Newton at 397, Kyler Murray at 360 and Ryan Fitzpatrick at 315). Ryan and Newton had their highest yardage outputs of the season against the Seahawks, Allen tied his season-high, Prescott and Murray had their second-best such games. Prescott, Allen and Murray each threw for three touchdowns, while Ryan, Mullens and Kirk Cousins each had two.
Where Seattle has had success is turnovers as seven QBs have thrown a pick against the Seahawks. But only Cousins and Garoppolo had fewer than seven yards per attempt. If not for Garoppolo and Fitzpatrick, a QB who potentially should be benched and one who already was, every passing game against Seattle this season would be considered a success for the quarterback.
Goff will face this defense twice in the next seven weeks. So will Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds and Van Jefferson.
There are four players who have topped 130 receiving yards (Julian Edelman, Julio Jones, Michael Gallup, Calvin Ridley) and seven more who have topped 90 yards against the Seahawks. Ridley and Cedrick Wilson each scored two touchdowns. And 14 players have caught at least eight passes, including Larry Fitzgerald, N’Keal Harry, Kendrick Bourne, Brandon Aiyuk, John Brown and Russell Gage.
But rushing hasn’t been as much of a focus against the Seahawks and Seattle is fourth in yards per carry allowed; only Minnesota backup Alexander Mattison has topped 100 rushing yards against Seattle. In fact, he’s the only player to top 70 rushing yards against the Seahawks and Kyler Murray is second on the list. Fitzpatrick and Newton are tied for sixth.
Sunday should be a good passing day for the LA Rams. Will that turn into a winning day? That will have as much to do with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey as it does with Goff and the NFL’s worst pass defense.