The Los Angeles Rams debuted on Sunday Night Football over the weekend. Up to this point, no one had seen any of the starters play since January. Since then, questions have swirled around the team that shipped their starting quarterback away in exchange for Matthew Stafford. Would the change at quarterback work? After the game against the Bears, it is impossible for anyone to argue the change hasn’t worked. However, even on the Rams’ best day, some players did better than others. Here’s a look at the winners and losers from Week One.
Los Angeles Rams Winners And Losers From Week One
Matthew Stafford may be in the running for the biggest winner of the weekend. With a new team, new players, a new stadium, and a new system, questions about Stafford followed the quarterback in high numbers. As the clock hit zeroes, it became clear that the trade for Stafford was not a failure. Stafford completed 20 of 26 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns.
Overall, the day put him on pace for 51 touchdowns and nearly 5,500 yards of offense this year. Both numbers would come close to breaking records. Of course, he may not be able to play this well every week, but he could still easily have the best season of his career. His best year to date was in 2011 when he threw for 41 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Even if Stafford’s pace drops a bit, he could still beat those numbers.
This season will be huge for Darrell Henderson when it comes to contract time. He started off the year in great fashion. Henderson had 16 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. If he were to maintain this pace, he would have 1,190 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. If Henderson has a season with over 1,000 yards, he could make a good amount of money when his contract is up.
When Cam Akers is back next season, Henderson will likely go back to being the change-of-pace running back. Thus, in the future, this season will be looked at as the test for the ceiling for Darrell Henderson. If he has a great season, he has a case to be a starter for the Rams or elsewhere.
Van Jefferson had an outstanding showing to kick off his second season. Jefferson was a massive surprise in how much of an impact he had against the Bears. He had two catches for 80 yards and a touchdown in the game. When looking at his rookie year, the change is stark. His rookie season saw him earn only 220 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, just one game into his second season, he already has a touchdown and 80 yards.
If Jefferson were to keep pace, he would earn 1,360 yards and 17 touchdowns. It seems unlikely that Jefferson will maintain his current pace, especially with such a loaded offense. That said, it is a monumental start for a wide receiver that was leaning towards being a subtle role player in his rookie season.
Cooper Kupp, meanwhile, had an outstanding game as well. He had seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Kupp is currently on pace for 17 touchdowns and more than 1,700 yards. While Van Jefferson isn’t likely to maintain his pace this season, Kupp could maintain his. If he does, he’d beat his record of 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns by almost 50 percent.
Since this year could mark three seasons since he’s had a 1,000-yard season, the pressure on Kupp is intense to get past the millennium mark this year. Thus far, he is on pace to do that by miles.
Sony Michel was arguably the last big trade of the preseason. As a result, many thought they’d see much more of Michel in the game. Instead, he was basically a non-factor. He had one rush for two yards. Michel clearly still has a long way to go to show the coaches he belongs as a substantial part of the offense. His usage may go up in succeeding weeks, but right now, the work is cut out for Michel during the week.
DeSean Jackson’s biggest enemy is his age. At nearly 35 years of age, the NFL is looking for any sign of a hint of regression. If they see it, they could move on quickly. Unfortunately for Jackson, two catches for 21 yards is a sign of a hint of regression. If Jackson doesn’t have a big impact on the offense, he could find himself in a world outside of the NFL soon, even if the team is winning handily.
This being said, he just wasn’t needed on Sunday night. The Rams offense has so much talent and a lot of mouths to feed.
No One In The NFC West
No one lost in the NFC West this weekend. The 49ers defeated the Lions, the Seahawks defeated the Colts, the Cardinals defeated the Titans, and the Rams defeated the Bears. Therefore, every team is 1-0 and no one pulled away, including the Rams.
In most divisions, a 1-0 start usually means the team is ahead of at least one or two teams in the division. However, for the Rams, a win didn’t accomplish anything in the NFC West race. This is the best division in football.