The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks 26-17 to advance to 4-1. Overall, offensively there were a few misfires that caused the game to remain close till the final quarter and the defense made enough stops to keep the score low but also showed some vulnerabilities when giving up chunk plays. Here is a breakdown of the performances by position group and the resulting letter grade.
Stafford looked inaccurate at times missing way high on a first down opportunity to Van Jefferson in the first quarter and threw an end zone interception on a throw away ball that obviously too low. However, with 365 yards and one touchdown, he calibrated in the second half and made enough good throws to keep the chains moving on critical drives. Stafford also suffered a dislocated finger before the half and powered through it to lead his team for the win.
The run game was effective as should have been against a unit that ranks last in the NFL against the run coming in to the match. Darrell Henderson Jr had 17 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown and Sony Michel had 11 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. Michel entered the game when Henderson appeared to be being checked out for an injury and was effective in keeping the chains moving before Henderson returned and finished the game. Henderson had 29 yarder as his longest run. No fumbles.
This was a fantastic performance by this group. Robert Woods was the leading producer with 12 catches for 150 yards. Woods is now the fourth different receiver to lead the team in receiving over first five games. DeSean Jackson had the longest catch of the night with a 68 yard catch, and while Cooper Kupp had seven catches for 92 yards, he also had the block of the night going up the middle as a lead blocker, taking out Jamal Adams, and clearing the way for a highlight run from Darrell Henderson. Only the lack of touchdowns from this group and a drop near the end zone by Van Jefferson takes away from this grade.
Tyler Higbee was on the receiving end of the only touchdown through the air. The run game was solid, both Higbee and Johnny Mundt made key blocks to make way for both running back touchdowns. Mundt seemed to be on the field both in 12 personnel and for a time when Higbee was shaking off an ‘injury’ that kept him out a few plays.
Another solid performance for the big fellas up front. Stafford was sacked once but the blocker was tight end Tyler Higbee so the offensive line has another game without giving up a sack. The crowd was loud as the Lumen Stadium held to its reputation as one of the toughest places to play in the league. Brian Baldinger points out the high level of communication amongst the line that led to the impressive performance.
The Seahawks were held to 92 total rushing yards which is not outstanding by the the Rams defense but under 100 works when it leads to holding an otherwise explosive offense to 17 points. Aaron Donald had one sack, three hits on the quarterback and two tackles for a loss. Greg Gains also recorded one hit on the QB.
Leonard Floyd recorded five tackles and one tackle for loss and seemed to be the defender that showed up in the backfield first and most frequently. Terrell Lewis recorded a sack and a tackle for a loss. Kenny Young and Troy Reeder were a bit off in terms of pass coverage and run stops. Troy Reeder did have great heads up play on a critical interception made off a tip from Jalen Ramsey.
Jalen Ramsey did not stick to DK Metcalf as he did in previous meetings and the result of that was Metcalf recording five catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Jalen Ramsey was part of a combo coverage with a safety that got beat for one of Metcalf’s scores but outside of that had a solid game including a tip pass break up that assisted an interception by linebacker Troy Reeder. The rest of this group struggled. David Long Jr graded so in the first few games that he was replaced in this game by rookie Robert Rochelle. Rochelle did have one critical pass break up on Tyler Lockett in the end zone but he started the game by giving up a chunk play clearly beat by Lockett and then gave up a touchdown to DK Metcalf giving up around five yards of separation in man coverage.
Jordan Fuller did not have a noticeable impact on this game one way or another but recorded three tackles. Taylor Rapp struggled. He continues to show up as the man missing tackles, taking bad angles, getting beat in man coverage, and showing up late in zone or combo assignments. On a Seattle touchdown to Metcalf he had the high assignment on a combo with Jalen Ramsey and similar to last week against the Cardinals, Rapp is a step too late and failing to make an effective impact when he does show up. The defense gave up five pass completions over 20 yards. Nick Scott got a game sealing interception which was a fantastic heads up play when the game was on the line.
Kicker Matt Gay had an off day missing one of two extra points and kicking multiple kick offs out of bounds. Gay did however make two of two field goal attempts. Punter Johnny Hekker was busy punting five times and starting forcing the Seahawks to start most drives around their twenty and one of their drive on the two yard line. Tutu Atwell is still working on his first chunk return but started the game by tackling himself.
All in all the grades are reflective of a game that was not pretty but was enough to get the job done. No one expects it to be easy for any team to go into Seattle and come away with a win but the Rams did just that with a full stadium and against an offense that is capable of big points and explosive plays. A win is a win so the Rams get a high grade for the intangible ability to recover from a bad loss in the previous week, a rough start in the first half, and resilience and poise to execute game winning drives and critical stops.