The Los Angeles Rams (10-4) beat the Seattle Seahawks (5-9) 20-10 on Tuesday night. It was a team win that started slow for both squads until the Rams made halftime adjustments and took over in the second half. The Rams move on to compete for the division title and possibly the number one seed while the Seahawks are looking at their first losing record in the Russell Wilson era.
Here are the breakdowns by position and the resulting letter grade.
Matthew Stafford started off with an opening drive that set up a field goal and then ended the next drive with an interception in the red zone. In the second half he hit Cooper Kupp for two touchdowns to take control of the game. He finished with 21 completions for 244 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He did face pressure, sacked four times, and was forced to demonstrate his pocket movement. Stafford had a few throws that demonstrated elite accuracy especially the second touchdown pass to Kupp that was made under pressure and with great anticipation to hit the slot just in time as he popped in the the zone window behind the linebacker. It was the type of pass that pulls the receiver forward and into the run after catch that took Kupp into the end zone.
Sony Michel had 18 carries for 92 yards and no touchdowns. Michel had a longest run of 39 yards and a longest of two catches for 24 yards. With an average of 5.1 yards per carry, Michel looks like he is laying to rest any questions on if he should be the lead back moving forward. Darrell Henderson Jr six carries for 23 yards for a 3.8 yard average and no touchdowns.
Kupp became the first receiver in the Super Bowl era to gain 90 yards in 10 consecutive games and he set the franchise record for most receptions in a single season with 120 after Isaac Bruce set it in 1995 with 119. Kupp ended the game with nine catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. His longest play was 42 yards and his two touchdowns were the difference in getting the Rams the edge in the second half. Rookie Ben Skowronek had his best game of the season with four catches for 42 yards but also had one drop that would have set up a first down.
Tyler Higbee missed his second game due to the COVID-19 reserve list. Brycen Hopkins and Kendall Blanton filled in. Hopkins had one catch on two targets for nine yards.
Starting right tackle Rob Havenstein was missed as Bobby Evans struggled to fill in and hold up the right side of the pass rush. Stafford was sacked four times and three of those sack were given up to Carlos Dunlap. The offensive line did make up for the pass protection struggles by producing run blocking that resulted in 123 yards rushing and lead back Michel coming close to his second game of over 100 yards rushing.
Aaron Donald got one sack and two tackles for a loss, one in the first quarter while diagnosing a screen play to give the Rams initial momentum. The defensive line started giving up too much space in the run game in the first half but then tightened it up in the second half to give up only 80 yards and one touchdown by the end.
Von Miller got his first sack as a Ram. Leonard Floyd got a sack and Ernest Jones led the team with 11 tackles. Jones also had a key play in the fourth quarter that resulted in a controversial possible pass interference but since it was not called Jones gets credited with a pass deflection. Overall, the ability of Miller and Floyd to keep Wilson in the pocket and force pressure, was a key part of the win.
The Seahawks lead receiver DK Metcalf was held to less than 55 yards and no touchdowns. In fact, the Rams secondary allowed zero passing touchdowns all game. Jalen Ramsey lined up on Metcalf enough times to see two pass deflections against the Seahawks primary receiver and win the matchup. David Long Jr was sloppy in tackling but Donte Deayon and Darious Williams played well alongside Ramsey.
Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott had to step up in the absence of Jordan Fuller who was on the Covid-19 reserve list. Scott held his own not allowing anything to get past him limiting the Seahawks passing game to 156 yards and no touchdowns. Rapp finished the game with an interception on the Hail Mary attempt.
Matt Gay has become one of the most consistent kickers in the National Football League and now is the leader in field goal percentage having made 96.5% of his attempts this season. Against the Seahawks, Gay hit two of two attempts with a long of 55 yards.
Sean McVay and the coaching staff had their second week of managing the week and the game with the issues brought on by the Covid-19 list of unavailable players. Shuffling their starting rosters and preparing a team through remote sessions gave the coaches an added level of difficulty this week. Nonetheless, the team was prepared to compete for all four quarters and find a way to come away with the win. The play calling of offense was rough during the first half. Although the run game kept the ball in the hands of the Rams, the pass game was taking too long to develop given the weaknesses in the pass protection. In the second half, adjustments seem to have been made to get the ball out quicker and also add some different looks for the run game including a jet sweep to Van Jefferson. On defense the mix of tight coverage forced Wilson to get the ball off under pressure and also the movement of Ramsey’s alignment seems to get the most out of the star defender having him inside at times but also setting him on his more traditional outside position to line up on Seattle’s best.