The LA Rams got devastating news over the weekend with the loss of Robert Woods to a torn ACL on Friday. Woods is a pivotal player on the field, a leader in the locker room, and a genuine presence in the community. The addition of Odell Beckham, Jr. to the offense comes at the right time, but makes the loss of Woods no easier to hear.
The craziness surrounding his decision to go to LA has ended and as the storm settles the nation will get to see him play on Monday Night Football. There might even be a chance that Von Miller gets the nod as well, though he is still listed as questionable and a game-time decision as of Monday morning.
It would have been more than just bold to predict in September that Odell Beckham Jr would be on the Rams in November. What wouldn’t be too outlandish to predict for Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers?
Odell Beckham Jr. get his first touchdown in a Rams uniform
It has been officially announced that Beckham will be making his first appearance for the Rams on Monday. The Rams receiving room went from one of the deepest in the NFL to one of the thinnest. DeSean Jackson was granted his wishes to look elsewhere and was picked up by the Las Vegas Raiders, rookies Tutu Atwell and Jacob Harris suffered season-ending injuries in Week 8 and in Week 9, and Woods tore his ACL in practice on Friday.
It would be unfair to assume that Beckham will know even half of the playbook by Monday and will more likely be on the field in special packages that he can learn quickly. With the absence of Woods, Cooper Kupp should continue to see the majority of the action while Van Jefferson and seventh-round pick Ben Skowronek will have an opportunity to step up in their captain’s absence.
Despite the little rapport that Matthew Stafford will have with Beckham, I still believe the ex-Cleveland Browns receiver will score a touchdown against the 49ers on Monday. With an array of different techniques and incredible ball control, McVay will be drooling at the chance to get Beckham into the end zone for his first game as Ram—and also his first touchdown of 2021.
Tyler Higbee outshines George Kittle
The Rams veteran tight end has been quiet this season with just 324 yards and two touchdowns after 10 weeks of play, though most of LA’s pass catchers have had limited chances with Kupp taking most of the opportunities. It has been somewhat of a surprise that Stafford has not found Higbee more often as Stafford’s favorite target at the end of his tenure with the Detroit Lions was his tight end TJ Hockenson.
Higbee did receive his most attention of the year against the Tennessee Titans. He was targeted 10 times that led to five receptions for 51 yards and his would-be touchdown catch in the back of the end zone was called back to an illegal touching penalty.
His counterpart on the other hand is coming off of his breakout game of the season. Against the Arizona Cardinals, George Kittle brought in six of his eight targets for 101 receiving yards and a touchdown after missing three weeks due to an injury. If there was any question about the lingering effect of his calf injury Kittle put them to rest with an outstanding performance against one of the better defenses in the NFL. Despite missing three games, Kittle still has put more yards up than Higbee with 328 yards on 25 receptions.
I predict that it will be Higbee’s turn for a breakout game. With Woods out for the season and OBJ still learning the playbook, someone will have to step-up and provide Stafford a consistent target. If his recent amount of targets are any indication of the growing rapport with one another, Monday should showcase a lot of the Higbee-Stafford connection. Kittle might be one of the best tight ends in the league but in this match he will take second place to the Rams tight end.
Darious Williams gets his first pick of the season
Despite a forgettable loss against the Titans last week, LA’s defense is coming off one of its best performances of the year. Ryan Tannehill only had a QBR of 79.7 with just 143 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception. On the ground the Titans leading back was D’Onta Foreman with 29 yards who had a long rush of 11 yards. Despite phenomenal play on the defensive side there were just too many mistakes made by the offense to overcome the deficit.
Last week was also Darious William’s first game back after missing three weeks of play. He saw his least amount of playing time of the season with just 60% of the snaps. There may have been some rust to shake off after his injury as the third year cornerback allowed three receptions on three targets for 36 yards which was the most yards surrendered by a Rams defender.
Darious Williams.— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) November 16, 2020
That's it. That's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/BgKJAhIJio
With the rust shaken off, Williams will look to have a bounce-back game against the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo has only thrown five interceptions on the year but also has only started in seven games due to injury. Against one of the best offenses in the NFL, the San Francisco will more than likely be forced to throw a lot to match the Rams points. If that is the case Williams will get his opportunity to get his first interception of the season, and I predict he will come down with the turnover.
Offensive line cleans it up
The Titans front absolutely man-handled the Rams offensive line last week. Tennessee ended the game with five total sacks which was by far the most surrendered by the Rams front all year long. LA’s line has been one of the best units in the NFL with just seven sacks allowed before Sunday night’s game, but it appeared head coach Mike Vrabel knew exactly the rush to dial up against them nearly every down.
David Edwards particularly put up a poor performance and gave Jeffrey Simmons a monster highlight in which he was literally bull rushed into Stafford for the sack. Simmons finished the game with three total sacks and was the delayed rusher that forced Stafford into his first interception of the game.
That endzone view of the first Matthew Stafford interception shows how ridiculous that pass really was. pic.twitter.com/wRqcLMxfq5— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 11, 2021
The job this week will not get any easier either with center Brian Allen potentially missing the game with an elbow injury. Allen has been one of the biggest surprises of the season as he has played exceptionally well thus far. According to PFF he ranks first in the league with just five sacks allowed at his position. If he cannot get the nod to play on Monday it will be a huge loss to a line that is looking to regain its footing against the likes of 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa and former Ram Samson Ebukam.
The Good: DL Arik Armstead had 10 Tackles & 1 Sack (should have been 2). I don’t have the pressures yet but he had a good day despite the loss. MLB Fred Warner lead with 14 Tackles, LB Azeez Al-Shaair 9 Tackles & NT DJ Jones & S Tavon Wilson both had 8 Tackles each. #49ers #FTTB pic.twitter.com/QKygmM29QY— 49er_Edits (@49er_edits) November 8, 2021
Regardless of the potential absence of one of the leagues best centers I still believe the Rams will clean up their poor performance against the Titans and only allow one sack the entire game and give Stafford the time he needs to put the game away early.
What are your bold predictions for Monday? Let me know in the comments below!