The Los Angeles Rams are 2-0 following a 27-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. There were plenty of winners on the Rams in getting a difficult road win over a good team, as well as a couple of plays that LA would like back, but overall I think you should be most grateful for the wins that could have been painful losses.
Instead, the Rams are 2-0 and there’s plenty that I love, a few things that I hate, and at least one performance that I’m indifferent about.
I record those thoughts in another new episode of the Turf Show Times podcast, so subscribe on iTunes and give it a listen below. I’ll also detail some of what I loved, hated, and was indifferent below.
What I loved: Cooper Kupp and Jalen Ramsey starring early in the season
Kupp had nine catches 163 yards and 2 TD, Ramsey had his first INT of the year
You probably remember that in the first eight games of 2019, his first back after missing the second half and playoffs in 2018, Kupp was usually unstoppable: 58 catches, 792 yards, and five touchdowns, culminating in a 220-yard effort against the Bengals. Then Kupp was shut out the following week on four targets against the Steelers and he had only three 100-yard games in the next season-and-a-half.
With Matthew Stafford throwing the ball to him, Kupp looks ready to pick up from where he left off with against Cincinnati.
Ramsey is a two-time All-Pro and going for his fifth straight Pro Bowl, but he knows that in order to gain more widespread recognition as one of the greats in this era, he needs to do more than dominate the “advanced stats” categories. He needs turnovers, highlight-worthy plays, he needs to get his name trending on a weekly basis. In a way, being a shutdown cornerback is the worst way to market yourself as a star cornerback. Ramsey’s new position allows him to go to the ball and he’s finding ways to make plays.
He’s now two-for-two in being a “Star” cornerback.
What I hated: The injury to Darrell Henderson
Bigger concern with RB position is depth, not the starter
The question of whether or not Darrell Henderson misses a game seems to be “when” and not “if” and that possibility became a reality rather quickly when he exited in the second half against the Colts and was replaced by Sony Michel and Jake Funk. If Michel had to start in a week, I don’t think it would be the worst thing in the world, but I’m hesitant to believe that the job is that easy. To some degree, the gameplan would have to change, just as it had to change a little bit when Henderson became the starter after Cam Akers’ injury.
But the more pressing issue is that if Henderson misses any time, the longest-tenured active roster on the running back would be Jake Funk.
Of course, Les Snead didn’t target Funk in the draft without some thought to the fact that Maryland runs an offense with a lot of similarities to Sean McVay’s. However, Funk only played in 10 games over the last three years — 10 games in three years — and he only carried the ball 135 times over five seasons with the Terrapins. That is 27 rushing attempts per season.
Jake Funk has averaged 27 rushing attempts per season over the previous five years.
When the Rams drafted Funk, they had Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson and Xavier Jones and Raymond Calais and now Funk is taking snaps with the ones. LA must be keeping in close contact with some running back out there. Otis Anderson and Buddy Howell are on the practice squad.
What I was indifferent about: Judging Raheem Morris after two games
The defense allowed 18.5 PPG in 2020, which is basically where they’re at in the early going
Sometimes people can take issue with a close final score or a “sloppy win” or a less-than-dominant performance on offense or defense, but I think you should always be most grateful for the times that the Rams win ugly. And this one wasn’t even that ugly — the Rams had one freak accident on a special teams play, one tipped pass for an interception that the defense turned into zero points, and one sack allowed — however it was mistakes that kept Indianapolis in the game and gave them a lead in the fourth quarter.
But mistakes are also the most exciting moments in football and you aren’t allowed to simply “opt in” for accidents that go your way and say “no thanks” to the ones that fall against you. Those fingertip interceptions, toe-the-line catches or interceptions, butterball-slippery fumbles that can go either way are meant to go either way and that’s the gamble you buy into every time you engage in a football game.
Knowing that, LA’s defense only allowed 17 points: nine points on three relatively short field goal drives and eight points on a 74-yard touchdown drive in which there were virtually no explosive plays allowed. There was nothing to be concerned about other than Kenny Young’s ejection part-way through it.
In my opinion, if a defense gives up three points or less to an adequate offense on any drive with today’s offense-hungry rules adjustments of late, that’s a win. So going on the road to face the Colts, an offense that was ninth in scoring last year with Philip Rivers, and allowing 17 points and only one touchdown drive seems like a win.
There was criticism on Twitter of Morris at certain moments on Sunday, but there’s no way we can be judging anybody after two games. Nor would I say that the job done by the defense through games warrants any criticism.