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Rams-Eagles: The Good, the Bad and the Difference

We get mostly all good from LA again this week!

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams are 2-0 and the way they got to their 37-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday contained a lot more good than bad and Sean McVay’s offense is already making one hell of a difference.

The Good

Jared Goff’s first three drives

Goff started the game completing his first 13 passes and throwing two touchdown passes to tight end Tyler Higbee over the Rams first three drives. Working with Sean McVay’s script, LA has looked fantastic to start both games thus far this season.

Eagles early fumble

Miles Sanders made his 2020 debut today but fumbled on the Eagles first drive. He was quite productive after that play however.

Tyler Higbee

Higbee proved last season that he could put up yards in the LA offense, but he only scored three touchdowns on the year. He had that many on Sunday, his first game with multiple touchdowns. He did have a costly offensive pass interference penalty, but it only proved that Goff is indeed targeting Higbee heavily in the red zone to start the season.

Micah Kiser, Jordan Fuller

A week after Fuller and Kiser led the defense in tackles, respectively, against the Cowboys, Kiser posted 16 tackles and Fuller had nine against the Eagles. These have proven to be two of the most important players to Brandon Staley in the Rams objective to improve on defense after losing several key starters from 2019.

Darious Williams interception

Williams seems to be stepping up opposite of Jalen Ramsey as a force at cornerback for Staley.

Darrell Henderson

His 40-yard run was the longest of his career — and more than all but one career game total — and he finished with 110 total yards and a touchdown.

Jared Goff’s finish

Getting close to losing their lead, Goff and Henderson helped the Rams score touchdowns on their last two drives, going 75 and 64 yards, respectively.

Rams offensive line

If it ain’t bad, it’s good. The Rams allowed one sack and Goff maybe could have avoided that one. They’ve now carried the ball 79 times through two games and been successful despite injuries to both Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers. LA opted for continuity over change in 2020 and that patience with their young offensive linemen may be paying off.

Troy Hill interception

Two Rams cornerbacks who aren’t even Jalen Ramsey.

Leonard Floyd’s 2-point stop

Robert Woods does work from the ground floor

Van Jefferson provides Rams with third threat at WR again

Jefferson had four catches for 45 yards.

The Bad

Cooper Kupp’s fumble

I don’t agree with putting star players on returns. The exception is when you need a player who can secure the ball and he’s the only option. Kupp fielded a punt deep inside the 20 and then fumbled it over to the Eagles. Maybe he’s not the answer there.

Cam Akers injury

Akers had three or four snaps on offense before leaving with a ribs injury and not returning.

Troy Hill’s third down defense in third quarter

What success Carson Wentz did seem to have in the second half often seemed to be on a third down pass towards Troy Hill. Hill allowed six catches on six targets in Week 1 according to the advanced stats and Williams may be the long term answer.

Rams can’t score touchdown with 2nd and goal from the 2

LA had a golden opportunity to go up 28-16 before halftime with first and goal from the PHI 5. But a Higbee offensive pass interference penalty and two incomplete passes led to settling for a field goal instead. It is nitpicky because I’m looking for “bad” when the Rams had a day mostly full of good.

However, red zone percentage was an issue for the offense in 2019 and Week 1, so it is worth monitoring.

Brandon Graham gets the sack on Goff to be pushed out of FG range

Sam Sloman PAT blocked

That’s now two place kicking attempts in two weeks that normally should be points but didn’t turn out that way. With Greg Zuerlein and John Fassel in Dallas now (the Cowboys won today with a successful onside kick recovery and a last second field goal by Zuerlein) and having success, all eyes on how the Rams respond. Early returns are bad though, all things considered, including that Kupp fumble and this blocked kick.

The Difference

Sean McVay, Kevin O’Connell’s offensive game plan and finish

It’s been encouraging to watch the Rams first quarter offense through two weeks but when the Rams saw their 21-3 lead shrink to 24-19 midway through the second half, it was hard to not wonder if they’d finish as ineptly as they had in Week 1 against the Cowboys. LA scored on their first drive of the second half last week, but then went INT, punt, punt, punt to end the game and sneak out with the victory.

This time around, McVay, O’Connell and Goff answered — plus Darrell Henderson got going for a career-best day — to lead the Rams to 13 unanswered points to end the game and take the 37-19 win.

The run game is working. The offensive line is working. Goff is performing better with a better offense around him and also appears to be doing more on his own. With some no-preseason hiccups mixed in, the Rams offense has been mostly good and today — their 449 yards of offense is better than all but two games last season — they appeared to be as potent as McVay had them two years ago on the way to the Super Bowl.