1. Rams Hitting on All Cylinders
There was some talk about Sunday’s game being a potential trap game. As the Los Angeles Rams found out last season, even a bad team can show up on any given Sunday. For 3.5 quarters, the Rams never really let the Houston Texans into the game. Darrell Henderson found the end zone twice, all three wide receivers found the end zone as well, and the defense didn’t give up much.
Sunday marked the second time that the Rams were able to pull their starters heading into the fourth quarter. You don’t see that very often in the NFL and when you do, it’s only with the really good teams. The Rams are a good team.
2. Ernest Jones Makes Impact in First Start
The Los Angeles Rams traded Kenny Young last week which meant rookie Ernest Jones would get his first start. Jones was someone that the Rams really liked in the draft and he had their highest leadership grade. The rookie made an impact on Sunday, leading the team in tackles and intercepting a Davis Mills pass.
Jones is a rookie and it’s not all going to be perfect. The Texans were the perfect opponent for Jones to get his feet what. However, Sean McVay seemed pleased with the rookie, giving him a game ball. We’ll see if Jones can build on it moving forward.
3. Joe Noteboom Plays Well
The Los Angeles Rams are going to have an interesting decision to make this offseason. Joseph Noteboom is in the final year of his rookie contract. With that said, Andrew Whitworth will likely retired after the season. Noteboom has started 10 games at left tackle over the last two years and played solid. That continued on Sunday against the Texans.
Do the Rams bring Noteboom back at the end of the year or look to draft someone else or sign a veteran in free agency? Noteboom has at the very least given the Rams a lot to think about. Noteboom shut down Jonathan Greenard throughout the entire game and didn’t allow a pressure let alone a sack.
4. Van Jefferson Shows Versatility
Van Jefferson isn’t seen as field stretcher. However, he trails only DeSean Jackson in average depth of target with 13.5 yards. With the DeSean Jackson drama, the Los Angeles Rams will be losing their top vertical threat on the offense. However, Jefferson’s 68 yards reception on Sunday showed that he might be able to fill that role moving forward.
Jefferson had his third 80-yard game on Sunday and has really taken that next step in his second year. He’s shown that he can be relied on to make tough catches and do whatever the team asks of him. If Jackson does in fact get traded or released, the Rams might ask even more of their sophomore wideout.
5. Leonard Floyd Continues His Strong Season
Leonard Floyd doesn’t necessarily grade well in the analytics, but he’s shown this year that he was worth the contract extension. He leads the Los Angeles Rams defense with 6.5 sacks and is on pace to break his career high of 10.5 that he set last season.
Since 2017, the Rams have been looking for someone who could be a good pass rushing partner with Aaron Donald. The Rams traded for Dante Fowler in 2018 and then signed Floyd last season. The Rams are getting the most out of the former top-10 pick and he’s proving the front office right in return.
6. Special Teams Needs to Improve
It’s your weekly “the special teams needs to improve” section of 10 takeaways.
With that said, the special teams needs to improve. There have been four onside kick recoveries this season. Three of those have come against the Rams. The Texans had a few big returns as well which set up the field goal attempt before halftime and all three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.
Good teams are going to be able to take advantage of those miscues. The Lions and Texans don’t have the talent on their roster to do it.
7. Final Eight Minutes Don’t Matter
Dont’e Deayon and David Long Jr. led the defense in snaps. JuJu Hughes saw almost 20 snaps along with Bobby Brown and Michael Hoecht. It’s not that those player’s aren’t good. However, those were the players seeing a lot of snaps in the final eight minutes of the game while the defense played very vanilla.
If the Rams cost you money for not covering the 16.5 point spread, that’s a you problem. However, for 3.5 quarters, the Rams played flawless football and dominated. There were way too many getting upset over the final eight minutes of the game when the Rams were playing a second-team offense and defense. Everything that happened in the fourth quarter didn’t matter. The Texans made that game look closer than it really was.
8. Sean McVay’s 50th Win
Sean McVay won his 50th game as the Los Angeles Rams head coach on Sunday. The last three Rams coaches won a combined 43 games. With three more wins, McVay will tie Mike Martz with 53 wins with the Rams. Prior to McVay, the Rams franchise was in a dark place. McVay turned in around immediately and he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL.
Only 103 head coaches have ever won 50 NFL games since the league started in 1920, and he’s already done it at 35 years old. McVay can cement himself among the greats with a Super Bowl ring.
9. Rams 7-1 Through Eight Games
The Los Angeles Rams are now 7-1 and it’s the second-best record under Sean McVay through eight games behind only 2018. A lot of Rams fans would have been happy with 6-2. Instead, the Rams are 7-1 with their only loss being to another top-5 team.
The Rams are taking care of business and beating the teams they should. They also have wins over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks with Russell Wilson. The Rams have set themselves up in a good position heading into the second half of the year.
10. The Real Season Begins
The real season now begins for the Rams. This is a team that has wins over the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts to start the year and then were able to find their footing against the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans the last three weeks.
Coming up, the Rams have the third most-difficult schedule in the NFL. They play the Tennessee Titans this week followed by the San Francisco 49ers before heading to the bye. The Rams might have caught a break with Derrick Henry breaking his foot. After the bye, the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, and Baltimore Ravens will be on the horizon. This is when the Rams will win or lose the division and the NFC’s top-seed.