"Holy hell, I need a couple drinks" – Sean McVay after today's win— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) September 18, 2022
I already had my drinks so that’s the perfect time to breakdown my takeaways from this game. (Apologies if nothing I say makes sense...I had more than a couple if you catch my drift.)
Matthew Stafford still making poor decisions
Stafford was able to move past this pitiful three-interception showing underneath the primetime lights last Thursday. However as all LA fans have grown accustomed to during his tenure, the guy loves going Goffing at the most inopportune times.
Through two games in 2022, Stafford has thrown three touchdown passes to five interceptions. The guy clearly has the talent, that has never been a question. For the Rams to even come close to defending their championship this season, Matthew has to cut down on the turnovers.
I understand he has that “gunslinger mentality” but this is unacceptable:
Matthew Stafford has already thrown five interceptions this season.— Mike Kennedy (@MikeKennedyNFL) September 18, 2022
He has seven multi-pick games as a Ram, two more than any other player since the start of last season.
For all those years of being forced to be a hero in Detroit, this is a part of his DNA. Puzzling decisions are one glaring part of his game that McVay can’t coach out of him which is a shame because this tweet echoes my exact thoughts on Stafford:
Matthew Stafford would easily be a top five NFL quarterback if he didn’t throw stupid interceptions every week. Makes passes nobody else could but then follows them up with the most puzzling decisions. #ATLvsLAR— Ben Ramsdale (@benaramsdale) September 18, 2022
Cooper Kupp’s supporting cast getting there
Kupp was his typical dominant self against the Falcons, catching 11 passes for 108 yards and a pair of scores. This is what we’ve come to expect every week from him but that doesn’t make us any less awe-struck.
This time, he had a little bit more help. Allen Robinson was a no-show last week, but made up for it by catching his first touchdown with the Rams. Overall, Robinson had four receptions for 53 yards to go along with the score.
A troubling trend that carried over from opening weekend is that the Rams haven’t had anyone else step up at the receiver position. Van Jefferson was out for the second-consecutive week but I figured the team still had enough at their disposal to make it work in the meantime.
Besides Kupp and Robinson, Ben Skowronek was the only other wideout who caught at least two passes. It’s still early of course but other receivers on the depth chart like Tutu Atwell (who dropped his only target vs the Bills) and preseason star Lance McCutcheon deserve more looks as the season goes on.
Offensive line shockingly able to hold up
The Rams O-line gave up an unlucky seven sacks against Von Miller and a destructive Buffalo front. It was expected they would struggle with Center Brian Allen out 2-4 weeks and Coleman Shelton filling in at center this week among others.
What a difference a week makes as the line only gave up a single sack on Stafford. Their performance was a complete 180 and even a blog writer for the opposition took notice as well:
Rams offensive line got destroyed against four-man rushes last week. Today they look like a well-organized unit filled with Pro Bowlers. The fact that only Ta'Quon Graham has a hit on Stafford is one of the most alarming things about this horrendous performance.— Allen Strk (@allenstrk) September 18, 2022
Maybe for a week at least, the memes regarding the Rams’ O-line can be pushed aside. But you do have to admit someone got the best of the team with this one:
Rams offensive line without Whitworth pic.twitter.com/eed6qZolpn— L.A.M.P (@Rams4E) September 9, 2022
Running game looking far more balanced (as all things should be)
Cam Akers was rightfully in the doghouse week one after carrying the ball three times for zero yards. In that loss, Darrell Henderson handled the majority of the carries.
Sunday against Atlanta was a different story as Akers and Henderson combined had 25 rushes between them for 91 total yards and a touchdown. While we can argue their effectiveness and rushing averages all night, the running game was far more efficient in week two.
The problem is that near the end as the Rams nearly 28-3ed the game away, McVay couldn’t commit to the run particularly in the red zone.
Sean McVay. You are 3rd and 1. Inside the 10…and you throw the ball TWICE!!! This man drives me absolutely insane sometimes. You keep saying you need to get better with your play calling…Tell me, what exactly was that?— Tyler Bearde “Win for Vin” (@tbearde) September 18, 2022
If McVay is that intent on getting better with his play calling, he has to commit to the run game, especially when it’s working. The team was fortunate enough to have great blocking today and with a makeshift offensive line, it might not come every week so he’s going to have to take what he can when the opportunities present themselves.