The Los Angeles Rams look to get back to their winning ways on Thursday Night Football as they travel north to face the division rival Seattle Seahawks and when they do, they will be bringing one of the best offensive lines in the league. The Rams have been stellar upfront this season, with PFF grading four of the five starting linemen inside the top-12 at their position so far this season.
Despite concerns in the offseason, L.A.’s offensive line has been a strength so far and these are two ways that the unit can prove to be a strength in Seattle and carry the Rams to a 4-1 record after Thursday night.
Protecting Matthew Stafford starts with blocking defensive end Darrell Taylor
Seattle is ranked right in the middle of the pack when it comes to sacking opposing quarterbacks. They are tied with five other teams with nine sacks so far this season. Defensive end Darrell Taylor leads the Seahawks with three sacks, after missing all of last season while recovering from a stress fracture in his leg.
The #Seahawks defensive line really took it to the Indianapolis offensive line on Sunday. DE Darrell Taylor had quite the regular-season debut, including this play here on 4th down. https://t.co/WWy451HdiC— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) September 13, 2021
Seattle rushes Taylor from both sides of the defensive line so left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right tackle Rob Havenstein will get their chances to prevent the emerging star from shining.
#Seahawks OLB Darrell Taylor has been having a very solid start to his 2021 campaign.— MR Sports (@MRsports604) October 2, 2021
Taylor has posted a 90.1 pass rush grade per PFF which ranks him 5th amongst edge rushers in the NFL.
DT has 11 tackles, 2 sacks and a FF on the season. Double digit sack season? #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/WZSvM72T0c
Los Angeles is among the best in the NFL at protecting the quarterback, allowing a league low three sacks in their first four games. There should be no reason the offensive line can’t continue this kind of production in a critical early season showdown this Thursday.
Pound that rock
The Rams have also been good opening up lanes for Darrell Henderson, Sony Michel, and Jake Funk, with Los Angeles running backs averaging 4.28 rushing yards per carry. Outside of their Week 3 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who no one has found much room to run the ball against for almost an entire year, L.A. has averaged 4.58 yards every time a running back has toted the rock.
Across the line of scrimmage, Seattle has allowed 152 rushing yards per game. The Tennessee Titans rushing attack, led by 2020 rushing champion Derrick Henry is somewhat of an anomaly around the league, so removing that game from the Seahawks’ ledger leaves them at allowing 132 yards per game.
As long as the Rams don’t let this game somehow get away from them, Head Coach Sean McVay should be able to stick to a much heavier run script. If the run game works early, as it very well should, this will open all of the play actions and bootlegs L.A. has been known for during the McVay era. I’d like to see all of it to kick off Week 5. Wouldn’t you?