The Los Angeles Rams had a rough go this last game. None of the three components of the team did well. It was a night of being off for whatever reason. Against an injury-riddled team, even if they are a division rival, should have been better. The one solace taken was it seemed the Rams beat themselves rather than being completely outplayed. Unfortunately, a lot of the stock of some players and concepts are on the way down for the week. Still, we need to start with the positive.
Darrell Henderson had a great game considering the number of carries he actually received. He ended up with 88 yards on 14 carries.
Early on he had a tough go, but that was more attributed to the Rams’ lack of rhythm more than Henderson not being on track. Coach McVay seemed preoccupied with how the Dolphins were able to beat the team with deep passes. Against a better secondary than last week, the Rams finally went back to the bread and butter. Once that happened the run game got going with Henderson getting really good chunks of yardage.
He didn’t get any touchdowns but probably should have. On long first and goal from near the 10-yard line Henderson was able to get really close to the goal, but the Rams instead of finishing it off with him punching it in decided to go to different plays.
Hopefully, this will be a learning experience for the Rams to not stray far from their identity and stay successful running the ball especially considering how well Darrell Henderson has been doing.
WR Josh Reynolds had only two catches but one of them was a 40-yard touchdown. The reason he is on here is it was a contested-catch in which he reeled in the long ball.
Given his speed and height it should have been more of his game, but really hasn’t. Against the 49ers he made that contested catch and was the only real bright spot in the wide receiver group. It was encouraging to see Reynolds be aggressive and win the catch. Even more, so considering he was interfered with during the catch.
A lot of people have been speculating that Josh Reynolds would be fading away as rookie Van Jefferson would be taking over his role. Up to now, that has not been the case, and if Reynolds play continues to shine it will continue to not be the case.
The offensive line has been a real bright spot from an unsure offseason. They continued to give Goff time in the passing game with clean pockets. Also, they have been giving the running backs holes to run through.
Other than Joe Noteboom‘s early injury the line has been the same since and the continuity is showing. They really are working as one unit pushing the pocket or keeping it clean. They have faced some strong defensive fronts and have shined through all of them. There is no reason to think this is going to change soon.
As inconceivable as it was in the offseason this unit could end up being one of the top ones in the whole league. A perceived weakness is an actual strength. Whitworth and company are doing an excellent job thus far.
The defense as a whole had a wretched day trying to tackle. It was painful to see how many broken tackles, whiffs, and soft coverages the defense was allowing.
On the opening drive, Deebo Samuel took a behind the line pass and looked to be tackled a yard or two past the line of scrimmage. Instead, he did not go completely down and was able to get up and trot downfield for 35 yards. This play was an example of the whole day. Bad angles, arm tackling, not finishing the play.
Usually, there is a play or two of the wow variety. The “oooh” hit, but that was completely non-existent. The linebackers got picked on and in the first half, the secondary was playing too soft. Too many times a 49er receiver would get the ball about five yards in front of the defender do a spin move and get far up the field.
Jordan Fuller was placed on IR and I believe this led to the bad tackling. The safety is a force and the defense feels different with him on the field. He is one to put hard licks on opposing players and the whole defense feeds of it. The 6th round pick is an impact and unfortunately, he was missed this game.
As good as the Rams defense can be, especially in the second half of games, the tackling has been a constant issue. Brandon Staley has to address it. According to Micah Kiser, it has been in practice, but whatever is happening it is just not translating to gameday. I expect this to be addressed and improved.
The Rams front got zero sacks on an immobile Jimmy G. In fact, hardly any pressure was put on him at all. After getting 8 sacks last week the Rams got stymied. The edges were non-existent and the middle had little to no push.
Granted the 49ers game plan was dink and dunk quick-release passing not allowing the Rams to get a chance. That said even with long-developing plays he had way too much time to pass. The blitz was rare and when it did happen they got torched one for a touchdown by TE monster George Kittle.
Obo Okoronkwo Was put on short term IR with elbow surgery. He was becoming more of a presence and his loss was felt. Hopefully, he will not be out for too terribly long. In the meantime, the other edge players have to do a better job in getting not only pressure but sealing the edges on run plays. LB Leonard Floyd has been doing an excellent job of this on the other side of the line.
QB Jared Goff
Jared Goff had a sub-par game. It wasn’t terrible but he was definitely off his usual mark. He overthrew some passes, and to wide-open receivers. On the opening drive, he had Cooper Kupp completely wide open and overthrow him by a significant margin.
Goff was playing near his home town so maybe the excitement of this and the pressure to do well got the best of him early on. Whatever it was he did not look his best. The O line as previously stated kept the pocket clean, he just was not on target.
I don’t expect him to be on the stock down section for too long. I could not ignore his play this game. The whole game he felt off and he was no exception. I expect him to bounce back and he will have to as the Rams face another really good defense in the Chicago Bears coming up.
WR Cooper Kupp
The usually sure-handed receiver had stone hands for the day. The most painful was a missed touchdown that he almost 10 out of 10 times would cleanly catch on the side of the endzone. Instead, it bounced off his hands.
Whatever was in the air had affected Kupp. He was just not his normal self and it carried over for the rest of the offense. Like Goff, I fully expect a turnaround and back on course for being what he is a top WR with glue for hands.
Kicker Samuel Sloman. Enough said.