The Los Angeles Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 26-9. LA started slow and was down 9-6 at halftime, but the offense seemed to find the right gear in the second half. The team absolutely took the game over throughout the third and fourth quarters. The victory pushes the Rams to an even 3-3 record on the season, and helps to keep the team relevant in the NFC playoff picture. Sean McVay in his post game press conference talked about the team’s play, and overall he is obviously happy with the win. The area of concern is that the offense took about half the game to get going, whereas the defense seemed ready from the jump. Let’s see what the coach had to say and hear some of his takeaways from his team’s latest performance.
“Great job by our guys. Lot of respect for the Cardinals. I thought they did some really good things defensively that kept us a little bit off guard. It was hard for us to be able to get into a rhythm. I thought the defense kept us in the game. Being able to handle the sudden change when we fumbled the punt return. Being able to keep them to a minimum in the red area. I thought they did a really good job and then I thought at the end of the first half, the big play Matthew to Cooper, to even just get some positive momentum.”
That play did seem to the turning point for Los Angeles. The Rams were able to get the score to 9-6 going into the half. To open the second half LA was able to score a touchdown and take a lead. The Rams never looked back.
LA leaned on their rushing attack in the second half. McVay called a number of consecutive carries and eventually Stafford and Kupp capped off their first drive in the third quarter with the throw and catch above. It was a big score for the team because it allowed the Rams to take control of the game. Kyren Williams was effective as the offense sprung to life in the second half.
“I thought out offensive line, I thought Tyler Higbee, I thought Kyren Williams, they did an outstanding job.”
The defense didn’t let up as the offense got hot. The defense only gave up nine points in this game and they gave this team a chance to win throughout the contest, The coach had to be happy seeing his team play as one unit after the break.
“I was really pleased with our group effort.”
The running game was working, the passing game was working. The offense looked dominant and didn’t let up. The Cardinals were not able to get back into this game like the Indianapolis Colts did a couple weeks ago. Once LA got the lead they held onto it.
“I thought Matthew was really outstanding. Didn’t have an many opportunities, but man he settled in and made the big time throws when he had to. Cooper had, I mean, you look at it and it’s like “holy jeez” you had 148 (yards), huh? So, but Kyren, the offensive line, Tyler Higbee was a big part of that too.”
The offense deserves praise but it was really the defense that stepped up early and often. The defense forced two turnovers in the fourth quarter. The offense was able to score off of each turnover and that had been something the team had wanted to see. Points off turnovers and the team closing games out. They most certainly did that in this one.
“I thought the defense did a great job. Christian Rozeboom’s turnover when it’s still a one possession game. God that was a big play, and those are the types of things that we want to be able to see. We make it more interesting than sometimes it needs to be, but love this group and I love the resolve that they showed and the way that they were able to finish the game.”
As the defense applied the pressure it was second year running back Williams who carried a bulk of the load for LA’s effective offense. Williams ran great for short and long gains. It’s unknown how he’ll respond to the physical toll of the NFL over a long season. He seemingly got banged up during this game but he found a way to fight through and he impacted the game greatly for LA.
“He was awesome and I was really proud of Kyren. I think he’s gonna be good, just got his ankle tweaked at the end, but he was running like an absolute man on a mission today.
It is good for the team and Rams fans to hear that Williams hopefully avoided any serious injury. Whereas the Rams really didn’t run the ball in the first half, the script changed once the third quarter started. They unleashed Williams and the ground attack.
“He was the star in the second half.”
LA was able to overcome some early mistakes and a slow offensive start.
“This was a great team win. I thought Austin Trammell’s punt return early on in the game was a big time deal. You know, I have trust in him to be able to have better ball security when he gets his opportunities moving forward.”
LA was not shutout in the first half despite the offensive struggles. The kicking unit helped their cause and converted each attempt that was taken in this game.
“I thought Brett Maher and you know the field goal and extra point operation today was excellent.”
Stafford has seemingly been healthy so far this season, and when he has a consistent ground game it takes the pressure off of him even more. With Puka Nacua, Kupp and more this offense might only get better as the season goes. If the offensive line can block like they did today then this team should be able to take on darn near any team in the NFL.
“The run game we talk about it taking all 11. I thought Matthew’s management of getting us in and out of some of the right looks was key and critical. It was truly the epidemy of it takes all 11 to be able to run the football efficiently and that was on display.”
The slow start for McVay’s offensive will most likely be talked about this week. The offense turned it around so that will be talked about too. It does seem a fair criticism that LA’s offense needs time to get into a groove. When opposing teams can take long drives to keep Stafford off the field, that has seemed to work in stalling this offense. LA may need to figure out how to be productive even if they aren’t getting the amount of offensive drives they are accustomed to.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of thirds down in that second half because we were able to be so efficient on those early downs, so I think the first thing is you gotta give credit to Jonathan Gannon and Nick Rallis. They did some things that, you know I didn’t have us in good positions early on and so I give them a ton of credit. I thought once our guys were able to settle down, be able to adjust, but it’s all about, you know, if you’re not converting on those third downs, you’re gonna have minimal opportunities. That was what was reflected but however you cut it’s an excuse and I gotta do a better job right from the jump for our guys and put them in some better spots.”
The bad news is that the Rams offense has been hot and cold this season. Sometimes it looks great and McVay looks like a genius. Other times it falters and everyone is left scratching their head at the play call and or the execution. The good news is that this team has shown that when rolling they have a strong offensive unit and a stellar defensive unit. If this team can play well across all three phases at the same time, then this team might be going places.