Does it suck to be on a six-game losing streak? Yes. Does it suck that Sean McVay’s ownership of Pete Carroll has temporarily gone into escrow? Also Yes. But given the circumstances of the game and the fact that expectations were lower than the melting point of chocolate, this was actually something for the Los Angeles Rams to build on.
That’s not to say this was a moral victory but considering most were just hoping the young players could show some promise and the coaching staff could show some creativity, then mission accomplished.
[brid autoplay=”true” video=”1200946″ player=”32134″ title=”RBTP150″ duration=”3194″ description=”The Seahawks beat the Rams, 27-24 and improve to 7-5 while the Rams drop to 3-9 and have lost 6-straight games, which is the worst start for a reigning Super Bowl champion in NFL history. The Rams now have to do some continued digging and look at their current roster to see how they’re going to approach the offseason. While a handful of players outperformed our expectations, the end result wasn’t what we wanted to see (after being in position to win), but there were some signs of life on both sides of the ball. #MondayPain is continued & we sneak in a Raiders preview as well on a short week.” uploaddate=”2022-12-06″ thumbnailurl=”https://cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/22501/snapshot/1200946_th_1670293672.jpg” contentUrl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/22501/sd/1200946.mp4″ width=”16″ height=”9″]
The offense did things that hadn’t been done since Week 2 and the defense found two young gems, while yes, having their own blunders that emulated the blunders done by the Rams’ starters. So, at least, they were consistent. Furthermore, the results weren’t ultimately positive, the game was the most fun viewing experience since at least Week 3.
The Rams Offense
Offensively, John Wolford, the Wolf of Ball Street, had an up and mostly down day. (14/26 178 yards, 2 picks) He seemed still ‘not right’ after a neck injury prevented him from playing. He had some good throws, he also had some AWFUL ones. To add insult to injury, Wolford threw his first pick after the defense recovered a fumble. Wolford had hit Van Jefferson (2 receptions, 39 yards) downfield. Then he grossly underthrew his next pass targeting Kyren Williams and it was easily intercepted. His second pick ended the game.
Wolford came out after seemingly injuring his foot. Bryce Perkins‘ only play was a run that resulted in a first down. Perhaps Perkins should’ve played the rest of the game. Wolford didn’t have it after sustaining injuries.
On the positive, Sunday was a banner day for Tutu Atwell (2 rec 48 yards), as he finally started converting people who wanted him dropped off at LAX and flown as far away from their minds as possible.
Will he ever stop the cries of “CREED HUMPHREY“? No. But today showed he has what it takes to receive meaningful snaps on this team. He had a one-handed catch early in the game that would make Odell Beckham proud. He would have had a deep touchdown reception if not for an underthrown pass (a common theme), and he had a catch in the second half where he dragged both feet after missing out on a similar play earlier in the game. Sean McVay, of all people, admitted he should’ve involved him earlier in the year.
Other positive developments were Cam Akers (17 carries, 62 yards 2 TDs) having his best game since his rookie year. He was given the lion’s share of the carries and looked good doing it. Yes, it would’ve been nice to have Kyren Williams involved too but the Rams are a land of contrasts.
Furthermore, both Rob Havenstein and Ty Nsekhe allowed 0 pressures. That said, the interior of the line didn’t hold up as well considering Wolford was sacked four times. But given that this was the 12th different combination in as many games this is an improvement.
Tyler Higbee still doesn’t look quite like himself. He had several drops and a would-be touchdown was thwarted when he tripped over the ‘Spirit St. Louis’ Jared Cook who has seemingly been possessing Higbee for weeks now. Brandon Powell (4 catches, 39 yards, and 3 carries for 45 yards) was being used all over the field. He was utilized in end around runs and Robert Woods-style plays including a 20-yard run on which he made several Seahawks miss.
Today, was the most lively the offense has looked since the Divisional Round against Tampa Bau. There was creativity and the players looked like they were actually having a good time. Which seemed unfathomable over the last six weeks.
The Rams Defense
Defensively, things were equally mixed. There was no Aaron Donald or A’Shawn Robinson. But there was Bobby Wagner. Correction, BOBBY F—–G WAGNER! Wagner had seven tackles, two sacks, and a pick. Not just any pick. He wrestled the ball out of Tony Jones Jr’s cold dead hands through sheer force of will.
Wagner’s energy was infectious as a few of the Rams younger players shone brightly, chief among them Michael Hoecht. Hoecht had three tackles and two sacks while playing outside linebacker. He has played there because the Rams lack depth at that spot. He’s traditionally a lineman but this was clearly an emergency. He generated more of a pass rush than Terrell Lewis and Justin Hollins have done all year. He is definitely a young piece they can build around.
Greg Gaines generated a lot of pressure as well, Jonah Williams was big on run stops, and Bobby Brown proved that he, in fact, exists. Unfortunately, Leonard Floyd couldn’t generate any pressure of his own, and his inconsistency has been a real issue all year. Yes, he’s been hurt but today should’ve been a day where he feasted.
The secondary was the major problem. They allowed Geno Smith to throw all over them. Sure, there were great plays such as Cobie Durant coming up big on a third down late in the fourth quarter as well as another breakup later in the quarter. Russ Yeast also made a big hit in his limited action. Nick Scott continues to make big plays when the moment calls for it.
Derion Kendrick led all defenders in tackles but that’s also because the Seahawks could throw on him all day. Durant should be starting over him because Kendrick just kept getting beat including letting Noah Fant get a WIDE OPEN touchdown in the corner of the end zone. Taylor Rapp also got roasted and even when he made a play in the end zone he couldn’t bring down what would’ve been a crucial interception. Rapp was able to do well in the box but in coverage, he’s routinely outmatched.
The main event was the big Jalen Ramsey vs D.K. Metcalf matchup. Ramsey’s dominance has been called into question. On one hand, he leads the league in touchdowns allowed in 1-on-1 coverage. On the other, he does have ten pass deflections this season. He did allow the game-winning touchdown to Metcalf but for most of the game Metcalf wasn’t getting his yards on Ramsey, though he did scorch Kendrick. Ramsey also had a killer penalty on the game-winning drive that otherwise would’ve forced fourth down. He’s not washed as some would think but he’s also had a rough year.
It’s unclear if this is the product of him having to overcompensate for a secondary that is young, inexperienced, and devoid of a solid second corner (Troy Hill has been out for most of the year) or if this is him moving into a different phase of his career. Yesterday again was emblematic of his season.
The Rams without Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, Allen Robinson, etc. nearly beat a Seahawks team that had all their horses, and Seattle needed the game in order to stay afloat with the Niners. They barely got out of there with a win despite the Rams essentially fielding a pre-season roster. Their season is over and yet they still came to play. Sure, they haven’t solved all their problems but they found some solutions going forward.
Raheem Morris managed to find ways to create pressure without Donald and while “BEND DON’T BREAK” isn’t aesthetically pleasing it did its job for most of the day. They need to restock the secondary and find another pass-rusher next year but the pieces are there to make this defense work.
Offensively, they found some things that work. Atwell should get many more chances to succeed as the year winds down. Akers is looking better as well and if they can find a balance between him and Kyren Williams they can have a solid running-back tandem when they eventually fix the line.
All that’s left to play for this year is to see which young pieces are worth investing time in and today provided that. They also made fans feel a sense of normalcy and joy for a few fleeting hours. That’s not nothing. If they can win on Thursday against a Raiders team in the same boat then they can at least snap their losing streak and give fans one last victory Monday. (Or Friday, as it were.)