The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cleveland Browns on Sunday to improve their record to 6-6. Sean McVay was able to speak with some media members after the game, and overall he seemed happy the Rams are where they are. LA is in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt, and the Rams have won three games in a row with fives games to go before the end of the NFL’s regular season. Let’s get into some of what the coach had to say as he reflected on LA’s most recent win.
I don’t know the Rams would’ve been able to win a game like this earler in the year. Hopefully this game is a sign of real progression and proof that this team is improving. Coach McVay praised the Rams ability to play as a complete unit and to play their best ball in the final moments of the game.
“Great job by our guys being able to find a way. I thought...came to life at the most important moments. Really felt like the turning point in the game was John Johnson’s interception, and we’ve talked about playing complimentary ball. I think that’s been on display especially the last two weeks.”
Puca Nakua had a huge game for LA as he continues his historic rookie campaign.
Nakua also appeared hurt in this game and left for a time before returning and keeping up his dominant level of play.
“I thought he was dead, and then he comed back to life.”
The Rams have played a lot of teams tough this year, but they haven’t always gotten the results that they have wanted. In this game they played a stout defense, they kept the game close, built a lead and eventually they closed the door on the Browns. The team has shown some ability throughout the season, but it does seem like the team is playing its best football now.
“I think really it has been on display throughout the course of the season...we maybe just haven’t always gotten the results that we wanted, but I’m seeing a mentally and physically tough team. I’m seeing guys stay connected. I’m seeing guys create their own energy...they create an energy that makes it so fun to be able to go to work and continue to push in the right direction. I’m seeing great leadership from a lot of our veterans.,,we gotta just keep it going. It’s a long season.”
With this win the Rams have a realstic chance at making the playoffs. So much can change, but right now LA is where it wants to be with regard to playing past the regular season.
“If we continue to play this way then you continue to have conversations where you’re relevant to maybe earn an opportunity to play afterwords, but that’s so far away from our thought process...I’m really just loving working with this group.”
The Rams played a complete game on offense and defense. Matthew Stafford led the offense and avoided any major mistakes. Aaron Donald and the defense kept the Browns from doing enough on offense. The only real area of concern in this game may have been the kicking unit which missed a field goal.
“We gotta do some better stuff in the kicking game...that’s something that we have to be able to improve upon...I’m confident that we will.”
Towards the end of the game the Rams had a chance to kick another field goal for an 11 point lead, but instead the Rams went with a touchdown. LA won the game so it’s all fine and well, but it is concerning that McVay may not of had trust in his kicker and the operation in general.
The head coach talked about the decion to score with Kyren Williams instead of taking what would’ve been a short field goal.
“Out of respect for their field goal block operation we said ‘Make sure we have great ball security, but if we can punch it in...Kyren’s on my fantasy team...that’s a joke, that’s a joke, I don’t really mean that.”
LA is going to either figure out their kicker situation or it’s going to stay inconsistent. If it stays inconsistent then it is more likely going to hurt the Rams eventually. The good news is that the rest of the team seems to be humming. The offense and defense both have some veteran players and plenty of rookies. McVay seems to think the team has the right mix of experience and youth as the rookies are learning plenty from their veteran leaders.
“I think a lot of these rookies whether you talk about Puca, whether you talk about Kobie Turner, Byron Young, Steve Avilla, lot of these guys are really mature beyond their years, and their doing a great job of accelerating their progress, but when you’ve got guys that can really show you the ropes...there’s nobody better than Aaron Donald to be able to model the way...his consistency, the way that he goes about it, I’ve been so fortuante and blessed to be able to coach a player like him, and really a lot of our verteran leaders that have poured into these guys and I think they deserve a ton of credit, but also you know, those leaders for being able to help accelerate their progress because I think seeing is more powerful than anything that we can say....the way that they’ve poured into these guys is really starting to show itself and it’s got to continue to be a theme if we want to go where we’re...hoping to go.”
Stafford played another stellar game and has strung back to back performances with multible touchdown throws. Stafford has been as much of a reason as any else for why this team has won their last three games.
“He’s awesome...I mean, you know, Matthew is a baller. He plays his best at the most important moments, and I think you’ve seen that over the last few weeks. It was great to be able to see him make crunch time play after crunch time play, and be able to sustain scoring drives, and there was a lot of things that he was doing. Whether it was getting us in and out of the right play...like the one long touchdown that he makes to Puca, that’s a check that he ended up making up...I’m saying ‘Shoot what the heck am I supposed to do?’”
McVay seems to be counting on Stafford’s level of play to continue.
“Matthew’s a baller. He had another great game...he’s gonna continue to play really well for us.”
LA will look for their fourth win in a row when they travel to take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14. The Ravens are the top divison in the AFC Noth, and are considered a top team in the league by many. If the Rams can handle the Ravens on offense and defense then we may start to see LA as top team as well. Every week is a test, and the test scores matter more than ever in the month of December. We’ll find out if the Rams can pass another one on Sunday.