The Los Angeles Rams got a hard-fought, 26-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football. It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win nonetheless. Heading into a mini-bye, the Rams are 4-1 with the New York Giants on deck. Let’s dig into our ten takeaways.
1. The Rams Answered A Lot of Questions
The Rams had to answer a lot of questions heading into Thursday’s game against the Seahawks. After losing 37-20 to the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams faced a crossroad. For being a Week 5 game, Thursday’s division matchup was a must-win. This was especially the case after the Rams went into the half trailing 7-3.
It’s not easy to win in Seattle. It’s not easy to win division games, let alone division games on the road, let alone division games in that building on a short week in primetime. Not to mention trailing at halftime. The Rams overcame a lot and that’s what you need to see from a championship team.
2. Stafford Finds His Groove
It’s hard to explain, but Matthew Stafford seems to take two drives to work his way into a game. It was another slow start for the Los Angeles Rams offense and a lot of it had to do with Stafford missing throws. His interception in the end zone was one that is right up there with Jared Goff’s interception last year as being really bad interceptions. Stafford is in year 12 and can’t make those kind of mistakes.
However, Stafford picked it up in the second half. He found DeSean Jackson for 68 yards to set up the first of three touchdown drives in the second half. He finished with 365 yards and a 97.3 passer rating. The Rams needed Stafford to pick it up in the second half and with a dislocated finger, he did just that.
3. Woods and Stafford Finally Connect
Throughout the first four games, it was the Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp show on offense. Robert Woods seemed to disappear and not be in the Rams’ plans. That changed on Thursday night as Woods got more involved. He finished with 12 catches for 150 yards.
The Los Angeles Rams offense is certainly not firing on all cylinder right now. However, they get the next 10 days off and then run into a stretch of games against the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans. Once the offense gets fully in sync, it’s going to be a scary unit.
4. Rams Run Game Takes Over
For the first half of the game, Matthew Stafford wasn’t as sharp as we were used to seeing in the first three games. That was especially the case after he hurt his index finger. The solution? Run the football. On the final possession of the first half, the Rams handed it off to Michel eight times.
Henderson finished with 17 carries for 82 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Michel ran hard on the one drive and finished with 11 carries for 37 yards. When the Rams needed the run game on Thursday, it delivered.
5. Offense Good, but Not Sharp
The offense was good, but it wasn’t sharp. The play-calling and overall execution was lacking in the opening half. The defense played well and held Seattle to seven points. Had this not been the case, the offense likely would have had a hole similar to last week to come back from.
Still, Stafford faired well. He finished with 365 yards, but was just 13/19 for 131 yards in the first half. Darrell Henderson had six carries for 17 yards. Kupp had four receptions for 23 yards. This means that Stafford was 12-for-18 for 234 yards in the second half. It was quite a turnaround.
I’m being serious, Stafford should really have 500 yds passing
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) October 8, 2021
Shannon Sharp said that the Rams should have had 500 yards passing. If Stafford is sharper in the first half, he’s likely not wrong. It could have a lot uglier than it was.
6. Defense Back on Track
It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Rams defense didn’t play well last week against the Arizona Cardinals. However they got back on track on Thursday and put together a very solid performance. The defense played a very big part in the Rams win. The Seahawks were stuffed on 4th-and-2 early in the game. After Stafford’s interception, Troy Reeder came down with a Jalen Ramsey deflected pass to get the ball back as well.
The defense held Seattle to seven first half points. If that doesn’t happen, the Rams are in trouble. The defense did what it was designed to do. They got stops when they needed them and came up with turnovers. They got off the field and held Seattle to two touchdowns and two field goals (one missed). Seattle came into the game with a top-5 offense and had scored 28 or more points in three of their first four games. The Rams held them to 17.
7. Terrell Lewis Showed His Talent
Terrell Lewis had a very good game against the Seahawks. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering he sacked Wilson twice last year. Lewis sacked Wilson once, had a pass deflection that should have led to an interception, and simply stood out.
With his knee, he’ll likely never see a full-time role. However, he’s making the most of the time that he is on the field. If the Rams can get 100% of Lewis 50% of the time instead of 50% of Lewis 100% of the time, it’ll provide a very big boost for the defense. He was all over the field on Thursday and had the big tackle against Rob Gronkowksi a few weeks ago.
8. Rams Have Issues in the Secondary
It wasn’t all perfect for the Los Angeles Rams defense. There are clear issues in the secondary. Jordan Fuller is having a sophomore slump. Taylor Rapp continues to be a liability in coverage as well. Robert Rochell took David Long’s snaps, but he took a huge pass interference penalty and gave up a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Rams have Jalen Ramsey in the secondary and that’s about it right now. There is a problem at the third cornerback spot and whether it’s long or Rochell, it hasn’t always been pretty. The Seahawks combined for 283 yards passing, but there were big plays you would like to avoid.
9. Complete Team Win
I think that it’s worth noting that had Matthew Stafford been playing for the Detroit Lions, this is a game that he likely loses. Team situation matters especially at the quarterback position. Stafford didn’t play a good first half and the defense held Seattle to seven points. The Rams’ only points came on a drive that was dominated by the run game.
Finally the offense picked it up in the second half and the Rams were able to take control. Thursday’s win was a total team effort. When one group needed the other to lift them up, they did just that. This is a very solid team and they are all playing for each other. Championship teams do that.
10. Rams Have a Great Opportunity Ahead
The Los Angeles Rams now sit at 4-1 and have a great opportunity ahead. For starters, they’ll have a much needed 10 days off. The last three weeks have been brutal against the Buccaneers, Cardinals, and Seahawks. Those were three very physical, hard-fought games. The Rams are only the fourth team in NFL history to win four of their first five games against former playoff teams.
Coming up, the Rams play the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and Tennessee Titans before their bye week. It’s very possible that the Rams could be 8-1 or 7-2 heading into their next division game against the 49ers. The Arizona Cardinals have the Browns, Packers, and 49ers in three of the next four weeks. At the midway point of the season, the Rams could be sitting pretty.