The Los Angeles Rams came up just short against the Seattle Seahawks, allowing a DK Metcalf touchdown with 0:36 left in the 4th quarter to fall 27-23 at SoFi Stadium. Despite the sixth straight loss, the Rams should be encouraged by a number of performances across the offense and defense. Without superstars Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald, individuals are beginning to find their feet in the NFL? Here are five stock up and five stock down players from Sunday’s loss.
1. Tutu Atwell & Brandon Powell, WRs
The creativity to get the ball in the hands of the Rams most explosive offensive players was probably a breath of fresh air for the LA fanbase. Tutu Atwell has shown critics that his 2nd round bust label is not warranted. Atwell made a spectacular one-handed grab, showing everyone that he isn’t just great for his speed.
Tutu Atwell rushed four times for 23 yards and caught two passes for 48 yards. Every time Atwell took a jet sweep handoff the Rams picked up five yards with ease. If Wolford had thrown a better pass downfield in the 2nd half, Atwell would have had a 60+ yard touchdown as well. Atwell looks smooth and is giving plenty of excitement of what he could do with a healthy offense around him.
Brandon Powell was just as electric as Tutu Atwell, finishing with three rushes for 45 yards and four receptions for 39 yards. Powell showed a lot of twitch and agility to squeeze through running lanes.
2. Bobby Wagner, ILB
What a performance by the captain of the defense. The former-Seahawk dominated his former team to the tune of seven tackles (five solo), three tackles for loss, two sacks, and one interception. Seattle clearly thought Wagner was past his prime after letting him go this past offseason. And while he may have lost a step, Wags is still one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL. An overlooked positive is Wagner’s leadership for the Rams team as they have showed a lot of passion and fight despite circumstances.
3. Michael Hoecht, EDGE
I wrote in a piece this past week that Hoecht could be a key future starter for the Los Angeles defense. On Sunday, he went to work in his first NFL start. Hoecht posted three solo tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and one tackle for loss. After struggling to develop Terrell Lewis and Justin Hollins failing to amount to much, Hoecht gives LA another piece on their defense moving into 2023.
4. Cam Akers, RB
Lost in the shuffle of the Rams six-game losing streak is that the beef between Head Coach Sean McVay and Cam Akers appears to be all over. Cam Akers has been the lead back the past few weeks and received 17 carries versus Seattle, turning those rushes into 60 yards and two touchdowns.
Seahawks 27, Rams 23— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) December 5, 2022
Cam Akers revival! The Rams flipped the switch on their RB room in Week 13 going away from rookie Kyren Williams back to the veteran.
Akers totaled 17 carries (1 catch) for 60 yards and 2 rushing TDs. Williams had just 3 touches all game.
5. Bobby Brown III, DL
I want to give some love to the forgotten names. I thought Bobby Brown III was a stud this week. He applied a lot of interior pressure in the passing game and the Seahawks only averaged 4.1 yards per carry without Aaron Donald and A’Shawn Robinson active.
*Bonus* - Cobie Durant, CB
My first bonus inclusion is the Rams 4th round rookie from this year’s class. Durant played with Troy Hill inactive due to a groin injury. I believe David Long Jr was benched later in the game, allowing Durant to see the field. The South Carolina State product had a textbook pass breakup and a good form tackle in the 4th quarter.
1. Kyren Williams, RB
I was a bit surprised by Kyren Williams’s lack of involvement. After seeing the field a lot versus the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs, Sean McVay decided to feed Cam Akers the rock. The ratio was the biggest takeaway with Akers “out-carrying” Williams 17:3.
2. Coleman Shelton, RG
I don’t feel like Coleman Shelton did anything significantly wrong against Seattle, but I have noticed why LA’s run game is different than its dominance in 2017 and 2018. Shelton lacks strength and doesn’t impose his will on defensive linemen. The Rams need more strength up front to pass protect and move defenders to create lanes. Shelton is a good backup to have, but he is not a starter. LA should look to upgrade his spot.
3. John Wolford (for last three quarters), QB
Early on Wolford was in command of the offense. Sean McVay was able to move the platform for his quarterback. However, once Seattle was able to contain Wolford and keep him in the pocket, things changed. Wolford underthrew a streaking Tutu Atwell which would have been a 60+ yard touchdown pitch and catch. And to cap off the game, Wolford could not muster enough on the football to throw downfield, throwing a game-ending interception.
The oft-maligned Cody Barton gets a wide open pass from John Wolford to seal the game pic.twitter.com/Q3MPP3DXw4— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) December 5, 2022
I will add that John Wolford’s play was significantly better than Bryce Perkins. And John Wolford’s first interception should have been negated because of a late hit, roughing the passer that went uncalled.
4. Leonard Floyd, EDGE
Floyd got pressure on the Geno Smith but that’s it. Multiple times, Geno Smith was able to get outside the pocket and Floyd was unable to keep his balance. The other disappointment about Floyd is that Michael Hoecht is beating a left tackle for two sacks. Floyd has been unable to beat right tackles this year on a consistent basis.
Bobby Wagner has more sacks than Leonard Floyd and more catches than Tyler Higbee.— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) December 4, 2022
5. Derion Kendrick, CB
Raheem Morris must have some sort of favoritism. Derion Kendrick continues to play over Robert Rochell as the outside cornerback opposite of Jalen Ramsey. Rochell could offer more physicality and tighter coverage, who has struggled since Week 4.