The Los Angeles Rams know how to play good football. Where they seem to be struggling right now is an apparent inability to play great football.
There were two Rams named to the Pro Bowl this season and in Sunday’s 20-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, naming those two players might have felt fairly obvious to even the uninformed viewers. Aaron Donald was improbable to block and Jalen Ramsey once again had sticky coverage on DK Metcalf but which other players on the team do you feel are stepping up in these big games?
Not Jared Goff. Not the offensive line, as Goff was under duress throughout the game. Josh Reynolds somehow drew more targets than Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods. Not Darious Williams, who dropped what could have been a monumental interception. Even the success of two sacks by Leonard Floyd, I’d say is propelled by the presence of players like Donald.
Maybe setting John Johnson aside, when are the other Rams going to step up at a time when LA is desperate for a win to secure a trip to the postseason?
We’ll find out next week in a game against the Arizona Cardinals that could be for their playoff lives and will definitely decide who finishes higher in the division. And it is possible that Sean McVay will enter that game with his backup quarterback and third string running back, in addition to their continued effort to play without their starting left tackle.
The Rams are 9-6 and have lost two straight but they are not yet finished. Keep that in mind as we go through a limited amount of good, as well as the bad and the difference.
Sebastian Joseph-Day sacks Russell Wilson
First sack of the day on #Seahawks Russell Wilson costs Seattle 10 yards— AJ McCord (@AJ_McCord) December 27, 2020
Rams up 3-0
Leonard Floyd sacks Russell Wilson
.@Leonard90Flo brings down Wilson! pic.twitter.com/RgxMTNTdL3— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) December 27, 2020
Leonard Floyd sacks Russell Wilson again
Beautiful coverage from the Rams and watch Leonard Floyd work through the chip and continue to fight on his way to the sack.— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) December 27, 2020
Playing good coverage and continuing to create these 1 on 1s is a nice combo to have. pic.twitter.com/9TZQE9uDvn
Aaron Donald sacks Russell Wilson
Aaron Donald is a nightmare @AaronDonald97 @RamsNFL— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 27, 2020
#LARvsSEA on FOX pic.twitter.com/ZTkWRO8cdD
The Rams sacked Wilson five times on Sunday, including two by Leonard Floyd, who has a career-high 9.5 sacks and 18 QB hits. Greg Gaines also had one. Aaron Donald’s 13.5 sacks is second in the NFL behind T.J. Watt with 15.
Seems like Defensive Player of the Year could come down to Watt, Donald and Xavien Howard.
(Twitter programming note: I want to make sure I’m doing the best job possible of crediting the original sources of these videos. Twitter has this tricky thing where these users like “Dov Kleiman” can basically post hundreds of vids and make it seem like they’re doing all the work when in reality they’re just re-sourcing from an account that is officially posting the clips. I think it is best if we click on who the source is and then share the tweets from those original accounts rather than these useless middlemen. For example: that Aaron Donald tweet from The Checkdown was one that I originally found on PFF’s account but PFF would never want to simply retweet the original source and give them credit.)
Darrell Henderson for 23 yards
Henderson with LA's biggest rush, 23 yards.— Art Thiel (@Art_Thiel) December 27, 2020
I could not find a clip of this — or of many offensive plays by LA on Sunday. This is some of the best I could come up with to cite as examples of “Good” on a day when the Rams unfortunately scored zero touchdowns.
Tyler Higbee picks up 22
Tyler Higbee definitely lifts weights @Ty_Higs19 @RamsNFL— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 27, 2020
#LARvsSEA on FOX pic.twitter.com/ejxCOfPSjP
Here’s one offensive clip that I could find. This was a rare highlight for Higbee this week.
Cooper Kupp’s strong hands on third down
Cooper Kupp with a couple early grabs. 282 and counting, career.— J.B. Long (@JB_Long) December 27, 2020
Most receptions in first 4 NFL seasons by a @RamsNFL since 1970 (Torry Holt had 306). He passes Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce.
Early in the game it felt like the Rams were in control because they were winning third downs on offense and defense. Much of that was thanks to the relationship between Goff and Kupp but ultimately it was not dangerous enough. Good, not great.
On the first drive, Kupp gained nine yards on third-and-7, 12 yards on third-and-11. Then Robert Woods had a third down catch for a first, but rookie Van Jefferson dropped a pass that was behind him on third-and-7 and LA settled for a field goal on their second drive.
Darious Williams dropped INT
Russell Wilson nearly got picked off on 3rd down, but Darious Williams dropped it! #Rams pic.twitter.com/dnHKlGoKIz— . (@RespectDaBeard1) December 27, 2020
At the end of the day, can you be mad with a cornerback or defensive player for dropping a pass? When it hits him in both hands, I say yeah, you can. This was somewhat evened out by Seattle safety Jamal Adams dropping an interception that hit him in both hands.
Jared Goff is intercepted by Quandre Diggs
Goff's pass is PICKED OFF by Pro Bowler Quandre Diggs @qdiggs6 #Seahawks— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2020
: #LARvsSEA on FOX
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/BVP8uIyKIx pic.twitter.com/odCHjyVzOj
Goff said after the game that this is one of the worst plays of his career. I do not foresee him being met with disagreement.
Rams end of first half clock management
Sean McVay used a timeout to preserve time on the clock for the offense, then the Rams promptly punted it back to the Seahawks with over a minute remaining and two Seattle timeouts. The defense held them to zero points on the drive but it emphasized that Los Angeles lacks threatening offensive weapons and that they have questionable time management. Teams do not really fear a two-minute drill by Jared Goff at this point.
Darrell Henderson injury, short of touchdown
A TD saving tackle by Jamal Adams on Darrell Henderson.— Riley Michel (@rileymichel) December 27, 2020
Henderson stays down with what looks to be a foot injury. pic.twitter.com/q74DbhIGKB
It is unknown at this time just how bad Henderson’s ankle injury is, but if he is unable to start in Week 17, it seems that Malcolm Brown and Xavier Jones will be starting in the backfield against the Cardinals.
Adams ran down Henderson on this play and the Rams came away with zero points despite it being first-and-goal from the 1.
Jared Goff pops his thumb back into place
FOX slo mo'd Jared Goff popping his dislocated thumb back into place... pic.twitter.com/GIyBBvXr71— Ozzy the Gagmeister 11-3 (@Thats_Pantastic) December 27, 2020
It is good that he popped it back into place and finished the game. It could be bad if he’s going to be out for a week, though some have been wanting to see John Wolford for a while now.
Russell Wilson touchdown allowed
.@DangeRussWilson runs it right in for 6️⃣!— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 27, 2020
Q3: SEA 13, LAR 6
: #LARvsSEA on FOX pic.twitter.com/Aq4htRa34C
I’m not very good with knowing when defensive players are allowed to freelance or what it would cost them to do so, but I’m sure Brandon Staley would’ve liked to find a different play here. Could Jordan Fuller have made a decision to go after Wilson? Michael Brockers was never going to be fast enough to do so. It was a tough play to stop but the Rams were stopped when they got inside the Seattle five and that made a difference.
Jacob Hollister touchdown allowed
.@DangeRussWilson lofts a beautiful touch pass to @hollister_jacob for six. #Seahawks— NFL (@NFL) December 28, 2020
: #LARvsSEA on FOX
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/BVP8uIyKIx pic.twitter.com/np7UBituhp
This was the final blow, essentially guaranteeing that the Seahawks would win the game and the division. But the Rams can still get to 10-6 next week, potentially earning an opportunity for a rematch in Seattle.
Essentially I believe the Rams simply lack that “hit ‘em where it hurts” type of play or player(s). Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has always been willing to let teams throw punches at his defense that land, so long as they don’t land in the end zone. His “bend-don’t-break” philosophy has broken many times against the LA Rams, but not so this season.
Even in the first game, Goff finished with zero touchdowns and once again, Reynolds led Rams receivers with 10 targets. But in two games, Kupp had 116 yards on 16 targets; Woods had 81 yards on 15 targets; Reynolds had 159 yards on 20 targets; Higbee had 94 yards on 12 targets.
I think opposing coaches will take that all day: 450 yards and zero touchdowns on 63 targets to a team’s top-four receiving weapons.
Whether it is Goff, McVay or the skill players, the Rams have not been a threatening team in the passing game often enough in the last two seasons. That is what I believe could have been the difference in the team losing on Sunday and in losing the NFC West two weeks after it seemed solidly in their grasp.
What do you think?
What was THE DIFFERENCE in the Rams losing to the Seahawks on Sunday?
This poll is closed
Rams offensive line
Rams skill players