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4 things we learned from Rams victory over the Detroit Lions

Tutu Atwell’s disappearing act, special teams woes, and other things we learned in Week 7

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

A win is a win. It may have been ugly, frustrating, and even upsetting at times but the Los Angeles Rams took care of business against the Detroit Lions and came away with a 28-19 victory. Jared Goff helped his former team one last time with two picks that helped seal away the victory and despite not having a run game against Detroit the Rams offense continues to look better by the week.

Here are the things I learned after a Week 7 victory on Sunday.

Special Teams

LA’s special teams can be defined as the good, the bad, and the ugly from Sunday’s play against the Lions.

The good?

Matt Gay went two for two on field goals and hit all of his extra point attempts. His last field goal of the game was a 47 yarder that effectively put the game away. Gay looks recovered from his poor play against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5 where he missed an extra point and on kickoff drew penalties for not keeping the ball in bounds.

The Bad?

The Rams have cycled through kick returners all season long and this week it appeared that it was Ben Skowronek’s turn on Sunday. The experiment might be over quickly after less than desirable play out of the seventh round draft pick who had returns of 17, 16, and 20 (which was then moved to the 10 yard line due to a holding penalty). On numerous occasions there were opportunities to let the kick bounce out of the back of the end zone and give Stafford average field position at the 25 yard line but that was not the case. With the explosive nature of the Rams offense there is no need to hit the home run on kick returns and in the future it might be best to just take the touchback.

The Ugly?

The Lions converted an onside kick and two fake punts to steal possessions away from LA despite coach Sean McVay expecting it.

(01:19) “That was not stuff that we were surprised by but we did not execute and they did. They ended up creating a bunch of momentum and end up having two fake punts and a surprise onside kick. Both of those things were thing we did anticipate and expect... that wasn’t good, it’s a lot of things we can learn from,” McVay explained in his press conference after the game.

Though it may be rare that another team attempts the same amount of trickery against the Rams later in the season it was an ugly effort from the special teams squad. The stolen possessions had an obvious effect on exhausting the defense and it kept LA’s offense on the sideline.

Jalen Ramsey is finding career best type stats under Raheem Morris

Things were not going as expected for the Rams on Sunday. Going into the game as (-16.5) favorites it was thought that LA would absolutely cruise through the winless Lions without a scratch. Detroit had other plans as they gave everything they had in an attempt to come away with one of the biggest upsets of the season. Jalen Ramsey made sure that did not happen.

With a lead within the Lions grasp Jared Goff marched his team down the field all the way to 12 yard line. With his team in a position to score Goff took the snap on second-and-10 and was immediately pressured by Aaron Donald up the middle. Seeing his old friend forced Goff to throw his pass early and off target and Ramsey jumped the route and came away with a pivotal interception that he returned for 25 yards.

He finished the game with six combined tackles, a quarterback hit, a tackle for a loss, and an crucial interception that kept the Lions down.

In just seven games Ramsey has nearly matched the amount of tackles he had in the entirety of the 2020 season with 41 tackles this season—in 2020 he had 44. He also has one more interception and two more TFLs then he had last year. If he continues to put up the numbers he will have his best statistical year of his career and it will be in thanks to Raheem Morris’ scheme to move Ramsey around to every position on the field. The philosophy was to put the best player in a position to constantly be able to make a play on the ball and for Ramsey it has worked thus far.

Cooper Kupp is about to break records

The Kupp-Stafford connection is alive and well in Los Angeles and with every passing week it seems to get better and better. Against the Lions he had 10 receptions that were good for 156 yards and two touchdowns. With 809 yards, 56 receptions, and nine touchdowns Kupp leads the NFL in each of those categories.

With 17 games this season there is a chance that Kupp cements himself in the history books as having one of the best seasons as a receiver ever.

Tutu Atwell’s disappearing act

Tutu Atwell was picked with the Rams second-round draft pick and as is the case with most second-round draft picks there were hopes that the speedy but undersized receiver could make an immediate impact on the team. During the preseason Atwell took hard hits but showcased his good hands and incredible speed, often looking like the fastest player on the field.

Fast-forward to Week 7 and Atwell is no where to be found unless through a pair of binoculars on the Rams sideline. LA has one of the deepest receiver cores in the NFL so stealing any time away from the likes of Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, or DeSean Jackson would be very challenging.

With his unique speed it was thought that he might be utilized much like Tavon Austin was in McVay’s first year as a head coach. Austin was typically used as a return specialist on special teams as well as “eye-candy” during offensive possessions to get defenders out of alignment. With Stafford in charge the pre-snap motion has nearly disappeared and the role no longer needed, but what is most surprising is Atwell’s lack of reps on special teams. Jackson lined up to return the lone Lion punt of the game on Sunday and Skowronek took return duties on kickoffs as Atwell watched from afar.

Atwell may need some more development as both a receiver and a returner before getting real playing time. With the offense as explosive as it is currently, adding someone with Atwell’s speed and elusiveness might just put it over the top. Time will tell if McVay can create a niche for the second-round receiver but as it is now Atwell will most likely sit on the bench as an understudy to the veterans currently on the team.

What did you learn in Week 7? Let me know in the comments below!