The Los Angeles Rams lost to the Miami Dolphins in week 8 of the NFL season. With all the hype over rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa the Dolphin’s defense posed the biggest issue to the Rams. They had all the answers for the McVay offensive scheme. Bringing a lot of cover zero blitzes and being extremely opportunistic it was a dominant performance. They made QB Jared Goff’s life a nightmare.
The Rams should have gone into the bye week with a 6 – 2 record, but the Dolphins defense had different plans. They will have a couple of weeks now to try to steer the ship in a positive and hopefully consistent second half of the season. With that said let’s delve into whose stock was on the rise and who fell.
Safety Taylor Rapp had a rough beginning to the year. Being outplayed in camp by rookie Jordan Fuller some started to question if he was in the midst of a sophomore slump. He has answered the call and has done well the past couple of games. This one he had sure tackles and hard hits, one leading to a fumble. He has been in a great position to make plays as well as bringing his high motor.
The defense in general did not do a lot because they were so good that the Dolphins had a lot of three and outs. Rapp was a big part of this giving good coverage and adding a bit of fire to the team. Jordan Fuller is expected to return after the bye. Having the two play at a high level will put a big smile on defensive coordinator Brandon Staley’s face. He will continue to use creative ways to put them to succeed.
Darious Williams continues his outstanding play. Jalen Ramsey gets a lot of the press and mentions when talking about the rams secondary, but Darious Williams has been just as good and today he was great. He was a warm cuddly blanket to any of the Dolphins receivers swatting away passes and being their shadow all game long, He was a big reason none of the Dolphins were able to get more than 16 yards receiving.
He has shined through every game, with the only blemish being against the Bills that wasn’t really his fault. I see Williams continuing to have a tremendous campaign and will make it tough on any QB to hit his mark. He is one Scary weapon on the Rams secondary that will put a chill in any QBs veins.
All three running backs had a good day. Each contributed to the game getting big chunks of yards anytime their number was called. Not only running the ball, but all three contributed to the passing game. Rookie Cam Akers had a catch making three players miss showing elusiveness and decision making.
Darrell Henderson continues to show why he is graded so highly with a burst through the line of scrimmage that is lightning quick. It seems he goes so fast he almost trips himself up. Malcolm Brown showed his toughness as well as his blocking ability.
Unfortunately, I had to say RBs and not running game. That is because as good as they were doing throughout the game they all were underutilized especially considering the trouble Jared Goff was having with the pressure. With the bye to work out the scheme, the use of the running game will be more widely implemented.
QB Jared Goff
Jared Goff had a very bad game no questions about it. He was under intense pressure from the zero blitz packages the Dolphins kept sending him. He accounted for all four turnovers in the game, two fumbles, and two INTs. On top of that, he was slightly better than 50% of his throws. Some of the sets didn’t help, especially the empty backfield.
The line was getting a lot of pressure agreed, but he had a major issue with pocket awareness. He either did not feel the blitz or had happy feet when the offensive line gave him time. He gets too jittery when things around him get chaotic. This isn’t something new, in fact, it has been his calling card of criticism throughout his career. It was on prime display today as he showed no comfort at all throwing the ball. A part of pocket awareness is throwing through lanes. His throws were constantly tipped at the line.
I have noticed he hasn’t been terribly accurate. There were off-target throws throughout the game. Probably due to the pressure, but he was just off, from the intermediate routes to the long ones, and even the flats. Years past he had been pinpoint accurate with a majority of his passes. These past few games have not been the case.
During the presser, Goff did mention it was a horrible game by him. So he is aware of his mistakes and I do believe he will do his best to correct them. I would like nothing better than to have him go back to stock up for the rest of the year. He is going to have to put the work in and I believe he will.
Sean McVay is a smart man and a great coach. Unfortunately, his intelligence seems to get in the way of calling effective plays. Notably, he tends to stay away from the run even though it is working so well. Understandably, he doesn’t want his team to be one dimensional and to keep the defense on its heels. When the majority of the success is coming from the ground it needs to be the main focus.
In week three against the Bills, the Rams were down by a large margin and instead of calling pass after pass he stuck with the run and it worked. The Rams got back into the game and were leading very late into it. Against the Dolphins he would get a great run from one of his backs and then three straight passes ending with a punt.
It’s not just avoiding the run, it is also the failure to adjust once the defensive scheme is successful. When the Dolphins were coming with the cover zero blitzes he should have countered with the runs, quick passes, and screens. Ironically, he has been criticized for using too many screens, but in this instance, it was warranted and should have been used.
To his credit, he called himself out during the press conference pointing to himself not being clear and having his team ready. Albeit that has been a standard response when talking about losses. His stern demeanor tells me the problems I laid out will all be addressed. This team is too good and so is he for it not too.
Everett has been on a roller-coaster this season. Being mentioned in stock up and stock down. He has the tools to be an outstanding TE but in this particular game, he had mental lapses. The most egregious was late in the game. Dropping a well-placed pass by Goff trying to turn up the field instead of getting out on the sideline. It could have been an instance of trying to do too much to get back into the game, but that plus another drop earlier made this an overall bad day for the talented TE.
Some think that he has been showcased the past couple of weeks to try to draw up the selling price for a team looking for a TE. Whether or not that is the case he did not put his best foot forward against the Dolphins. I like to think his talent was just being used as well as being in favorable matchups. Gerald Everett is a very good TE but he does need to tighten up the mental side of the game to really shine as he should.