The Los Angeles Rams are a good football team. They further proved that on Monday night with a win against the Buccaneers in Tampa.
Did they demonstrate some poor play? Sure. Did Jared Goff make any critical mistakes at inopportune moments? Yes. Did Sean McVay call a perfect game? No.
But, did the Rams play a full 60 minutes and make plays when they had to? Absolutely. That is the sign of a good football team, a well-coached team, and a winning team.
The Los Angeles Rams Are A Good Football Team
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The Offense Won With A Different Formula
Before tonight’s game, the Rams had run the football 30+ times in all but two games. It is not only smart to have a balanced attack, but it is the recipe that makes this offense sweet and savory.
All week, leading up to this game, I was pounding the table on the LA Football Podcast that McVay and the offense needed to hit that 30+ sweet spot, regardless of if those runs were efficient or not. As long as the game was close, even if running plays were only averaging 2 yards a clip (Tampa Bay had the number one rush defense coming into the game), it was highly important that they stuck to it to keep the defense honest. They would eventually be rewarded with a cheating safety and a big play over the top.
Well, McVay did not agree with me and they ran the ball just 20 times, only eight of those going to their lead back (Darrell Henderson). There were moments where this appeared to snake bite them. Goff threw two costly interceptions and the offense grew stagnant late in the 3rd quarter spilling into the 4th.
However, the play design overall was very creative, and outside of two very poor throws, Jared Godd played a very good football game. He finished 39 of 51 for 376 yards, 3 touchdowns, and the aforementioned 2 interceptions. It was a historic game for Goff as he passed the legendary Kurt Warner in Franchise Touchdown Passes, moving into 5th place with 103.
But the real story on offense has to be centered around the terrific play of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. I truly think they have to be in the conversation for the best WR tandem in the NFL. Answer the poll below, because I really want to know who would truly be considered better? Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley? Perhaps if both are healthy (this year they haven’t been). Mike Evans and Chris Godwin? They sound nice but they haven’t produced like Woods and Kupp. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry? Same as what was just stated, they haven’t produced.
Under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, Kupp and Bobby Trees combined for 23 catches (11 and 12, respectively) for 275 yards (145 and 130, respectively) and 1 touchdown (Woods). When the Rams and Goff needed a play, these two elite receivers came up big.
Sean McVay’s offense goes through Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, and that is a matchup nightmare for most defenses.
This Is A Super Bowl Caliber Defense
We published an article last week comparing this current defense to some of the great Rams defenses of all time. Spoiler: through 10 games, they matchup up pretty well.
Overall, they were dominant, yet again, in this game. They only managed one sack (Samson Ebukam) on Tom Brady, but the defensive line was in his face all night applying pressure, and Brady felt it. He airmailed two interceptions that rookie safety Jordan Fuller was the beneficiary on. He airmailed a third that John Johnson dropped.
The most critical thing that I talked about all week, was the Rams’ ability to rush Brady without sending a blitz, or if they did blitz, being able to disguise it really well. Brandon Staley and the Rams front four accomplished this on Monday night (shout out defensive line coach, and friend of the show, Coach Eric Henderson)
They also held the Bucs rushing attack to an abysmal 42 yards on 18 carries. Referring back to what I talked about with the Rams offense, the same can be said for the Bucs. When you become one dimensional, you put a lot of pressure on your QB to be great. Tom Brady can still play, but he is no longer great. But this Rams defense is. They demonstrated that again on Monday and they are built for a championship run.
A punishing defensive line with an MVP caliber game breaker (Aaron Donald), and a great secondary anchored by an elite player in coverage (Jalen Ramsey). The two players mentioned probably get the most credit, but their play has elevated the players around them and it’s the supporting cast, specifically players that are not household names (Micah Kiser, Darious Williams, Troy Hill, Kenny Young, Morgan Fox, Sebastian Joseph-Day, etc.) that are giving this defense an identity and putting them on the map.
I’ll say it again, this is a championship-caliber defense.
The Present Is Bright, But The Future Is Brighter
There has been a lot of concern about the Rams cap space, or lack thereof. They have some big-name free agents coming up on the books, and the numbers don’t lie, they can’t keep everyone. Luckily for the organization, they have drafted some studs that should make this team a contender for years to come.
Cam Akers was a second-round pick out of Florida State. He hasn’t had a true breakout game, but he has shown flashes, including his first NFL touchdown on Monday against the Bucs. We seem to see him sprinkled into the offense a little bit more each week. Hopefully, that continues.
Van Jefferson, a second-round pick out of Florida, had an incredible training camp. The coaching staff and his teammates love him, but we haven’t really seen it translate to the field. Well, he also hauled in the first touchdown of his career on Monday. I sense that is the first of many.
Jordan Fuller came into the season as the 4th or 5th safety on the depth chart after being drafted in the 6th round. All he did was battle his way into the starting lineup alongside John Johnson. He has balled out all season long and put an exclamation point on a great season so far with a two-interception night against arguably the greatest QB of all-time.
The Rams’ future is very bright, and the Los Angeles Rams are a good football team.