Defense and special teams came through for the Los Angeles Rams (11-4) in their 30-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings (7-8). On offense the run game with Sony Michel was also working which leaves only the passing game off the list of contributors. While Matthew Stafford did get off a nice 37 yard third down conversion and a touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr, it was the three interceptions that could have costed the team the game. Here’s a look at what happened on each interception and how it may have been avoided.
Second Quarter third and six
This series started with a run by Cooper Kupp and then an incomplete pass on second down with the Rams backed up on their own 13 yard line. The defense brings three lineman on the rush but also a nickel back to make it a four man rush against the five offensive lineman with Michel swinging out. Coleman Shelton gets flat out beat which creates the initial scramble situation and forces Stafford to move. Stafford tries to make a play to Michel while on the run and doesn’t seem to see Anthony Barr who ends up making the pick. Good defense to get pressure with four. Stafford admits he should have run the ball in that case.
Third Quarter second and five
Here, up by ten in the second half 13-3, this play could have been a run call and the interception would have been avoided. It’s a play action roll out shot at a deep post to Van Jefferson just like the Rams hit against the Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals. Again with a long developing play, Shelton gets beat on the line and it’s his man that causes the hit on Stafford. The ball gets off but is undershot for an interception.
Third Quarter second and ten
Again backed up on their own 12 yard line, up by ten points 13-3, with the run game working well, this second down call could have been a run call that would have been one way to avoid this pick. The formation has Kupp in the backfield and like we’ve seen before with Robert Woods and from the San Francisco 49ers with Deebo Samuel, this might have been the time to flex some creativity with the run game since a run play might have been the better call but also to spread the ball and avoid overloading Michel. Aside from that, the ball was tipped and that’s not always avoidable.
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