Morning Thoughts: Pain filled yet Optimistic

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Hi friends, after a heartbreaking loss I wanted to share some feelings and thoughts on the Rams performance along with a recap of the game. This is something I’ll attempt to do after every game, hopefully off of more wins than games like last night.

Despite going 3-1 over the last two years under Sean McVay, we all knew this was going to be a tough match up for the Rams. Seattle’s offense, one that appeared abysmal many times last year was hitting its stride while the Rams offense has been underwhelming to say the least. Defensively, Seattle hasn’t shown the ferocity they played with during the Legion of Boom era, but with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney could pressure the quarterback. The Rams defense, coming off of a 55 point performance wasn’t inspiring much confidence like the offense…but I was optimistic.

First quarter started with the Rams defense showing up by forcing a holding call and then causing a fumble on the first possession and on the second drive making Seattle punt after just 16 plays. The defense had come to play. Aaron Donald was an unrelenting force as we have all come to expect as soon as the whistle blew. What’s so disappointing was the wasted first quarter drives and it’s one that has become a trend. The Rams haven’t scored a first quarter touchdown in the past six games (dating back to the Super Bowl). I’m not sure if this is a McVay issue, a Goff issue, or both, but if the Rams want to make it back to the Super Bowl, it’s something that MUST be ironed out. It was nice to see McVay giving Gurley many opportunities right out of the gate. There’s absolutely no excuse to be squandering the good field position the defense has given the offense time and time again. The Red zone issues are a whole separate problem but I actually thought the Rams were better in their few opportunities down there.

LA hit two field goals and Seattle was able to successfully move the ball on our defense, going 75 yards in only 7 plays. I think most of us expected this to happen, it was just disappointing to see specifically the 38 yard gain to Will Dissly as he was wide open. If only that was the worst of the day…After Two straight 3-and-outs for LA and a similar drive by Seattle sandwiched in between, Russell Wilson found a WIDE OPEN D.K. Metcalf for a forty yard bomb. This looked to be a blown coverage (I’ll confirm when the All-22 is out), but it should also be known that the pass rush got absolutely zero pressure on Wilson. Donald and Fowler were out (not sure why about AD, resting?) and it bit us in the ass. At this point, my thoughts were looking at last week…“we really going to do this again?” “Can the offense please show up”

We finally started moving the ball on the next drive. Goff stood in the pocket and found Josh Reynolds for his second catch of the season, then Bobby Woods and Kupp back to back. The offense was humming, we were playing as if this was the end of the game, hurrying up the line…and I loved it. Annnnnnnd then Gurley fumbles. There’s nothing really else to say about that, Clowney and Wagner both made a fantastic play to force the ball out, but it was definitely frustrating. The next drive was a turning point for the Rams. Seattle moved the ball on the ground with Chris Carson (he’s so good) before Will Dissly made an incredible 25 yard over the shoulder catch against Troy Reeder. The Rams D stopped two runs and a scramble to force a 4th and 1 on the LA 30. If I were the OC (I’m not) that has a QB like Wilson (I don’t), I’m 10000% going for it and it looked like they would for a second. However, Carroll went soft and tried the “lets try and draw them offsides” which rarely ever works but I ain’t mad. Kicker Jason Myers comes out and pushes the 48 yarder wide we get the ball back with 88 seconds left. This drive was the first decent one all night for LA. Goff found Kupp, Woods, and Everett and moved the ball down to Seattle territory. After the help on a Roughing the Passer penalty by Clowney, and a strike to Cooper Kupp, we’re only down 1 going into halftime instead a possible 15.

Image result for cooper kupp rams seahawks

 

I’m content right now, not cocky, not super excited, but content. We saw this last week. The Rams ended the half last week just as well only to see us squander the ball in the second half. I was hoping for a different result on the opening drive if we really wanted to grab this game by the balls.

In the third quarter we came out firing. Gerald Everett was amazing all game, finally putting on display the skills we knew he all had (besides the INT drop) and goes for 30 yards on 2nd & 10. After two nice plays by Tyler Higbee and the offense, Gurley pranced into the end zone after eight yards and we were in business. Was that so hard?? Why does it take two quarters to put together drives like that. Man I don’t know, I was just happy we finally saw some consistency. It reminded me of last year, good times. Rams force Seattle into punting and after a fantastic play by Michael Dickson and Co. the Rams are stuck on their own goal line. Another punt, and not one of Hekker’s best give the Seahawks starting field position in our territory. Then Chris Carson and Wilson started getting going, run for 7, pass for 5, run for 12, pass for 9, run for 4 until eventually David Moore slides by a poor tackling effort by Marcus Peters into the endzone. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and eventually they’d clap back.

The following drive for the Rams was a good one starting with an extraordinary throw and an even better grab by Brandin Cooks who was unfortunately injured on the play and done for the day (get better Cooks). Higbee made a grab after a few plays and then Everett had another fantastic run after the catch and got tackled on the one. Gurley then made his fantasy players happy by vulturing the one yard touchdown and once again taking the lead. We then failed the 2 point conversion as somehow Goff’s shin was down (was the right call). I loved the aggressiveness, questionable play call though (hindsight 20/20). The next two drives were field goals making the score 29-24 Rams with nine minutes left and Seattle has the ball.

Seattle pushed the ball up the middle and behind the left side of the offensive line down the field essentially for 30 yards after a series of runs. 1st & 10 on LA 40 and after pressure got to Wilson he rolled and threw the ball but got hit right after the release by Clay Matthews. The ref threw a flag for roughing the passer despite the hit being absolutely clean, shoulder to shoulder contact. It was a terrible call, one that changed the game, but definitely NOT one that caused us to lose. It’s not an excuse so don’t use it as such. Chris Carson was eventually WIDE OPEN (sensing a trend?) in the shallow corner in the end zone for a bobbled catch that put Seattle up by 1 with a little over two minutes left. All right! Here we go, Goff make a name for yourself. It started with a 11 yard gain by Cooper Kupp and then two incompletions (one dropped by Kupp) making it 3rd and 10 on the LA 36. The next pass Goff threw a great ball to Everett who knocked the ball up which fell to the ground, but wait somehow Tedric Thompson caught it?? Yup. My feeling, “Welp.

Image result for gerald everett rams seahawks
AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

 

But the game wasn’t over yet. Due to predictable play calling and great discipline, the defense stood on its head and made an incredible play on 3rd and 3. Wilson ran what looked like a speed option play before pitching it to Lockett where Peters was waiting and actually made a tackle!! It was a huge play as the Rams would get the ball back with almost two minutes left. I was getting excited, but not too excited. We still had to move the ball down the field with no timeouts but to my own surprise I was feeling confident in Goff. JG16 drove the length of the field by finding Everett, Woods, and then Kupp multiple times. Goff made a great throw to Everett who ran the ball down to the Seattle 30 yard line with 30 seconds left. “This was it, we did it!! Just don’t turn the ball over and let Greg the Leg come in and seal the deal and we’ll walk out of here 4-1.” If only. Zuerlein came in and pushed the ball a tad right and missed the field goal. One word to sum my feelings up, distraught. I couldn’t believe it, but I don’t blame Greg at all. The dude has been a rock for years, and we sure didn’t lose the game because of him.

 

Quick Hitters

  • I thought Jared Goff was really solid tonight. He threw a few passes that were questionable decisions, but he made some incredible throws and stood in the pocket when the heat was coming. Seattle blitzed nearly every play on the last drive yet he never wavered. I feel 10x better about Goff this morning than I did a week prior.
  • Gurley played 93% of snaps vs. Brown’s 4%. It looks like this is Gurley’s back field after an increase of snaps the past two weeks. However he did “only” get 15 carries which is still less than last season. His blocking was much better last night besides one or two missed compared to last week.
  • Cooper Kupp is amazing, Robert Woods is still very good, and hopefully Brandin Cooks is OK. I assume we’ll hear more today and tomorrow about a potential concussion.
  • Gerald Everett is finally being used properly. Everett was McVay’s first draft pick as a head coach, and was praised for his “run after the catch” ability and matchup problems he can present. It’s about time he’s out-snapping Higbee. Everett played 81% of snaps, Higbee 56%.
  • The offensive line was much better tonight, but the run game was still inconsistent.
  • Aaron Donald is still the best player in the NFL. ‘Nuff said.
  • The Cornerbacks are an issue. Both Talib and Peters were bad, real bad. It’s something we’re going to have to keep an eye on. Hopefully Talib can step up and improve but this is very worrisome.

We play the 49ers next week, one that could be flexed into Sunday Night Football. This is the biggest game of the season (for now) and coming out with a win has immense importance. After that game, we go into Atlanta and then to London vs. Cincinnati. It’s very possible the Rams are 6-2 heading into the bye and with all things considered, that puts us in a pretty good spot. I hope you guys have a halfway decent day at work, I know I will not.

Next week: 3-0 San Francisco 49ers

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