The Los Angeles Rams offensive line had quite the mixed bag Tuesday night against the Seattle Seahawks. The unit welcomed back (Pro Bowl alternate) Brian Allen, who missed Week 14 and all but one play against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13 due to a sprained MCL. Unfortunately, the group was without starting right tackle Rob Havenstein and his would be back up Joe Noteboom. The right tackle position was manned by Bobby Evans, who unsurprisingly struggled. According to Pro Football Focus, Evans wasn’t alone as each of the linemen graded below their season averages.
Pass Protection: F
Simply put, Carlos Dunlap had a day against LA. The offensive line allowed four sacks against the Seahawks, with Dunlap accounting for three them. In fairness, two of those four sacks could have been avoided if Matthew Stafford had thrown the ball away.
Carlos Dunlap (@Carlos_Dunlap) goes #speedtopower & gets his blocker on skates. Walks him back to QB depth & gets the sack! #passrush #seahawks pic.twitter.com/FAgo2l6ODg— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) December 22, 2021
With that being said, I would still rather the sacks than a costly interception. There were also 12 pressures allowed against Seattle, three more than Week 14’s showdown against the Arizona Cardinals. Another interesting note from PFF is they only tallied three sacks against the O-line. I counted one each for Whitworth and David Edwards with the other two being attributed to Evans.
Run Blocking: B+
The running game was once again effective, led by Sony Michel. As a team, Los Angeles accounted for 123 rushing yards on 29 total carries, good for 4.2 yards per carry. Removing Stafford’s 3 carries for -3 yards obviously makes the numbers look even belter, raising the yards per carry to 5.4.
Another great effort from Sony Michel. This guy runs hard and through tacklers! Never stops churning his legs! A reliable player. Here are some of his best plays in the victory against Seattle. @Flyguy2stackz pic.twitter.com/QWyS2jbbas— RAMS ON FILM (@RamsOnFilm) December 22, 2021
The average was aided by a 39-yard run by Michel (the longest run of the year for LA) and a 10-yard Van Jefferson jet sweep. The offensive line and wide receivers also pushed the pile on several occasions. You love to see it. Los Angeles also continued to use the jumbo package, adding Coleman Shelton as a sixth offensive lineman. The Rams didn’t use it as much as they have in previous games, but I would expect to see that usage increase once everyone is available to play.
The penalties on the offensive line were costly this week. Austin Corbett was called for holding on the opening drive, which wiped out a first down on a 16-yard catch and run by Michel. A few plays later, Evans was called for an illegal formation penalty. This negated another first down on a 7-yard pick up by Odell Beckham Jr. on third-and 5. Both of these penalties caused the offense to sputter and dashed any chance to put a touchdown on the board to start the game.
Thankfully, Havenstein has since been activated from the reserve/COVID list and will be able to play against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. As far as offensive line contributors go, the Rams are only waiting for Noteboom to be cleared. The family is almost all together again. Cheers to jumbo packages galore in Minnesota.