Av's 20 Random Thoughts at 2-1

1. Last night's game was exhausting but, in the end, satisfying!

2. Jared Goff is off to a great start. He has effectively erased the "can he play at a high level?" question. From now on its "will he play at a high level?"

3. Here are some great stats that illustrate what Goff, the Rams' receiving corps, and the offensive coaches have accomplished. After 5 games, the Rams have 5 receivers with over 120 yards receiving (representing 88.9% of the passing yards). They are (yards/% of team receiving yards):

Sammy Watkins: 194 (22.6%)
Robert Woods: 169 (19.7%)
Todd Gurley: 140 (16.3%)
Gerald Everett: 134 (15.6%)
Cooper Kupp: 126 (14.7%)

That is great balance, and shows that you can't stop the Rams' passing game simply by keying on one receiver.

4. Todd Gurley's rushing numbers are not exactly gaudy (3.8 ypc), but the Rams' commitment to the run is keeping opposing defenses honest.

5. The Gurley stats that really impress are his yards from scrimmage (127/game) and TDs (6). He's currently on a pace to exceed 2,000 yards from scrimmage (and 30 TDs!).

6. The addition of Whitworth and Sullivan has really helped the OL, particularly in pass protection. Hopefully Sullivan will be okay for Dallas.

7. The defense is, of course, a concern, but I don't think we've seen them close to their peak. The adjustment to a 3-4 is a work in progress, and I think that we'll see improvement in the coming weeks. In the meantime, hopefully the offense can carry the team a bit.

8. If you had told me last year that I would be typing that last sentence in September 2017, I would have called you crazy.

9. Tavon Austin does not seem to have much of a role in this offense (other than jet sweeps and jet sweep fakes), but we're stuck with him given his contract. Might as well try to get a big play from him here and there.

10. On the other hand, if he muffs one more punt, that role must be given to someone else.

11. Greg Zuerlein has certainly been doing his job!

12. One guy on the defense who is off to a pretty decent start is Michael Brockers. From the NT spot, he has 15 tackles (13 solo) and 3 tackles for loss.

13. Trumaine Johnson (and others) need to stop trying to strip the ball on every tackle. On one play, TJ turned what would have been a 4th and 2 into a first down by focusing too much on the ball.

14. The Rams are getting some pressure on opposing QBs, but its not consistent or quick enough.

15. Marc Barron made a couple of good plays, but I feel like his talents are wasted, to a large degree, as an ILB.

16. That Sammy Watkins over the shoulder catch was a thing of beauty.

17. Pharoh Cooper looks good on kickoff returns - when he holds on to the ball.

18. Show me a Seahawks fan who is unconcerned...

Rams whack whiners 41-39; The Good, Bad and Ugly

The Rams rode a terrific offensive team performance and overcome some horrible defense, injuries and extremely ugly special teams play to whack the whiners on the road and improve their record to 2-1 with a harrowing 41-39 win. In a game that the Rams came about as possibly to losing in what would have been a collapse of biblical magnitude, the defense found a way to hold on by stopping a two point conversion and holding firm after the whiners recovered an onside kick that seemed to occur after the play clock had expired. There are no style points in the NFL, but who would have believed after three weeks that our offense would be dominant and the defense would look this bad. Sure, we have tough games coming up against two really good defenses in dallas and seattle and that will tell us a lot more about good we really are on offense than playing the colts and the whiners, but it is indisputable that the Rams offense bears no semblance of any kind in any way to the pathetic debacles that we saw in the last couple of years of the Fisher era. I actually believe that this was the best offensive performance by the Rams to win a game in countless years and keep in mind, that while they are banged up, the whiners defense had played very well in the first two weeks of the season.

The Good

The entire offense. The offensive line allowed no sacks and finally gave Gurley some room to run. We had 26 first downs (two games worth for last year). While our skill position players are vastly improved for sure, its the play of the offensive line that is really the biggest difference from last year, along with the obvious dramatic improvement of Goff. We were 8-12 on 3rd down. We had 418 total yards. About the only bad offensively tonight (see below) was our failure to score a td when we have first and goal from the one (which almost cost us the game given what went wrong defensively and special teams wise tonight). I don't care who you are playing in the nfl, 41 points is a TON and you have to give credit to the entire offensive unit. Kudos to blythe who stepped and and looked decent when sullivan went out with the groin injury. Not saying he was great, but i didnt notice him, we is a good thing. I think he did have one false start on a blown snap count.

Anyone out there want to call Goff a bust at this point? Anyone still want to make the argument that Mannion should be playing instead of Goff? Goff is the real deal. 22-28-291-3 tds and a passer rating of 145.8. The long throw to watkins was absolutely perfect. He showed poise and mobility in the pocket. I agree with collinsworth (which is rare) that goff needs to work on stepping up in the pocket rather than backing up when he gets under pressure. Goff is only 22 and an incredibly talented guy. Like all qbs, some experience, along with a functional offensive line and a running game makes all the difference in the world. I defy anyone to make the argument...

Tremendous Positives

First off, I couldn't have been more wrong about the way I thought this game would unfold. I figured it would be the usual ugly slogfest featuring limited scoring and plenty of ineptitude from both teams. Just the opposite occurred.

I never thought I'd say this: The offense was outstanding tonight. Goff played tremendous football. Obviously spurred by his return home to play a division foe on national TV, he was 22-28 for 292 yards and would have been over 300 yards with an additional completion had Tyler Higbee not dropped a ball that would've put the Rams inside the 5. Tremendous poise and presence and excellent 3rd down execution. If this is what he can do with some frequency, we're in great shape. The jury is still out, but he's making me more and more a believer.

I thought the play calling was super; loved the fakes to Gurley and the roll outs. Loved the one play to Austin where unfortunately he was horse collared or he would've scored. Great 1 yard slant to Watkins after two failed runs. Many, many guys were involved. The polar opposite from what we've seen for years. The offensive line was wonderful- don't know if you can play much better as a unit. They pass blocked and run blocked with equal proficiency. Did they even have a holding call?? Just a great effort.

This was Sammy Watkins' coming out party. He showed us why we made the trade. Robert Woods, who I ripped early this week as being terrible, did a great job tonight, catching several balls and absorbing a brutal hit in the 2nd quarter. And of course Todd Gurley was phenomenal. 3 TDs, over 100 yards rushing, several critical catches early before the wide receivers got going, and the coup de gras final run that iced the game. This is the Gurley we hoped we had.

Aaron Donald was much better tonight and showed why he is worth a huge contract. And I thought Barron, another guy who was fairly criticized by some, played a good game.

I will save the negatives- and there are MANY concerns- for a different thread. But it was an absolute pleasure to see this team perform the way it did offensively and then hang on for dear life to secure the win. We're 2-1. And we can enjoy this for 10 days.


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