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Rams' run defense proved everybody wrong by shutting down Ezekiel Elliott

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  • Rams' run defense proved everybody wrong by shutting down Ezekiel Elliott

    By: Andrew Ortenberg | 12 hours ago Follow @AndrewOball

    Everybody doubted the Los Angeles Rams’ ability to stop the run. All week, there was talk of the Cowboys upsetting the Rams on the back of Ezekiel Elliott. Many people in the media pointed out the Rams’ poor numbers against the run as evidence that Dallas’ ground-and-pound attack would run all over them. But when it came time to actually play the game, the defensive front proved everybody wrong.

    The run defense was the best it has been all year, limiting Elliott to just 47 yards on 20 carries in the Rams’ 30-22 win, and the entire team to just 50 rushing yards – Dallas’ fewest in any game this season. Ndamukong Suh had what might’ve been his best game as a Ram, routinely showing up in the backfield, and plenty of other guys who have mostly been quiet this season made big plays.

    Dante Fowler was consistently present and making an impact in the running game, too, while the team finished with six tackles for loss. All of this from a team that ranked dead last in the NFL in yards per carry allowed. They didn’t look anything like the team that had been gashed on the ground all year long, and players at all three levels of the defense were playing with an intensity we haven’t seen stopping the run.

    All that is without even mentioning Aaron Donald, who was his usual self, even despite his underwhelming stat line. The defensive line completely wrecked the Cowboys’ game plan, forcing them to abandon the run and put the game in Dak Prescott’s hands.

    The transformation of the unit from the regular season was remarkable and showed what this defense is capable of when everyone is locked in. Playoff football is a whole new animal, and the Rams’ defense rose to the occasion.

    The bottom line:
    Whether they play the Eagles or Saints in the NFC championship game, the Rams will be playing another very talented offensive line and the defensive front will need to have another dominant game. Replicating the performance is the next step, but Wade Phillips will surely be sleeping soundly tonight knowing his guys got the job done in the trenches.

  • #2
    I expected Suh to step up now that it’s the playoffs and the D as well with media calling them out. I hope everyone keeps talking trash, it seems to motivate us well.
    "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

    Jack Youngblood


    • #3
      Originally posted by MoonJoe View Post
      I expected Suh to step up now that it’s the playoffs and the D as well with media calling them out. I hope everyone keeps talking trash, it seems to motivate us well.
      And everyone, please keep underestimating the Rams.
      “Oh, 100 percent,” Donald said. “I feel like the words, ‘Thank you,’ ain’t enough. You’ve got to show it... Instead of saying thank you — show it.”


      • #4
        I will say it reason Rams can't be last team standing. Just do not beat ourselves.


        • #5
          Well there are two more games left to prove if this is just a one off or what is to be expected. Right now I am not ready to drink the Cool-Aid on the Rams defense


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
            Right now I am not ready to drink the Cool-Aid on the Rams defense
            Getting a little long in the season for a Rams fan to be sitting on the fence waiting to buy in. :-)


            • #7
              Originally posted by Curly Horns View Post
              Getting a little long in the season for a Rams fan to be sitting on the fence waiting to buy in. :-)
              I am in no matter what because there are no other choices.... its either win and press forward or fail and go home. I been hoping that when the Rams defense smelled a Super Bowl they would rise to the moment. It still doesn't excuse the rest of the season and that they are no suspect. The only real variable one can lean on is the offense is the key if the defense is a no show...that I will drink on


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ram Dragoon View Post

                I am in no matter what because there are no other choices.... its either win and press forward or fail and go home. I been hoping that when the Rams defense smelled a Super Bowl they would rise to the moment. It still doesn't excuse the rest of the season and that they are no suspect. The only real variable one can lean on is the offense is the key if the defense is a no show...that I will drink on
                Fair enough. And just to be clear, the OP was in reference to the Run defense. The secondary needs to take the next step up.


                • #9
                  The front 7 came to play. Suh made some nice stops at the line of scrimage. Baron also stepped up and had his best game of the year along with Suh. We will need more of the same against the Saints.


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                  • r8rh8rmike
                    Ndamukong Suh: Rams' run defense has been 'terrible'
                    by r8rh8rmike
                    Ndamukong Suh: Rams' run defense has been 'terrible'

                    By Kevin Patra
                    Around the NFL Writer
                    Published: Oct. 12, 2018 at 10:50 a.m.

                    The Los Angeles Rams' defense has been run over this season, including giving up 190 rushing yards last week to the Seattle Seahawks.

                    "Terrible, without question," Ndamukong Suh said of the Rams' run D the past two weeks, via ESPN's Lindsey Thiry. "That's my personal opinion... It's terrible just from a standpoint of how much run yardage we gave up."

                    Through five games, the Rams have given up 534 rushing yards, thrice they've allowed more than 95 yards on the ground, and twice that number was above 140.

                    "I can't think back to many times to defenses that I've been a part of that have been [at] 191 yards, let alone many times over 100 ... I've been a part of some great defenses where we've, in a year, not allowed but maybe one team to get close to 100 or over 100," Suh said. "So that's what I pride myself on and want to maintain that and we have all the tools to be able to be that type of defense."

                    You'll excuse Suh if his memory is a bit hazy. His early-career Lions teams were torched on the ground, giving up an average of 100-plus rushing yards his first three seasons. Given his propensity to get up-field fast, offenses consistently wham-blocked Suh for big gains early in his career. During Suh's first two years in Miami, his defenses gave more than 2,000 yards on rushing, per Pro Football Reference. Heck, just last year, the Dolphinsallowed 294 rushing yards in one game to the Carolina Panthers (201 from running backs).

                    So maybe Suh hasn't been part of some of the stingiest ground defenses in the NFL; stuffing the run isn't exactly why he's been paid millions of dollars. Teamed with Aaron Donald in L.A., however, the duo knows the Rams' defense can be better against the rush.

                    "We've got to play better in certain situations," Donald said. "Just might be out of our gap here and there and then you get hit and they hurt you, so it's just little mistakes, things we need to fix, man, and we just got to keep working."

                    The Rams displayed the ability to slow the run late against the Seahawks last week when they needed stops.

                    The L.A. defense is predicated on stopping the pass first and foremost and grabbing the tailback on the way to the quarterback. In a pass-happy league, the priority is slowing the QB, especially if an offense is trying to keep up with Sean McVay's scoring machine....
                    -10-13-2018, 08:22 PM
                  • MauiRam
                    Rams' run defense gets back to basics ..
                    by MauiRam
                    By Nick Wagoner

                    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Until the St. Louis Rams defense proves it can stop a team from running the ball nearly at will, they expect upcoming opponents to follow the path set forth by San Francisco and Dallas the past two weeks.

                    "Oh yeah," Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers said. "It's a copycat league. I think a lot of people will do the same thing and try to be as productive as Dallas was and stuff like that, so we have to focus on what we did wrong in that game and just go forward. Teams are going to try to come in here and try to do the same thing and gash us."

                    The Niners and Cowboys did just that to the tune of 206 yards per game and an average of 5.56 yards per carry. It was an alarming addition to the Rams' ever-growing list of issues after opposing run games were virtually nonexistent in the first two weeks.

                    How did a defense that allowed 122 yards and an average of 2.9 yards per carry against Arizona and Atlanta suddenly spring so many leaks?

                    To a man, the response in the Rams locker room is one that would make San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan proud.

                    "We've got to go back to just fundamental football," defensive coordinator Tim Walton said. "Like I said, we've got to be able to be in our gap and do your job. Then, we have to tackle, leverage the ball, get off blocks and once you do that, that starts with us regardless of who we're playing. That starts with us of getting that stuff -- just being fundamentally sound across the board."

                    To the eyes of Walton and nearly every Rams defender who discussed the topic this week, that was a familiar refrain. Run defense is a simple concept that requires far more finite execution. One player out of position can ruin it for 10 that are in the right spot.

                    Of course, being in the proper position doesn't mean much if you don't follow through on making the tackle. Tallying missed tackles is an inexact science because of mitigating factors so take numbers for what they're worth, but Pro Football Focus has the Rams down for 33 missed tackles on the season with 19 of those coming in the past two weeks.

                    Missed tackles and missed run fits have pushed the Rams to 30th in the league in run defense, allowing 133.5 yards per game.

                    Walton doesn't allow his players to shoulder all of the blame, either, pointing out that he can help them be where they need to be.

                    "It starts with us doing our job, doing our stuff," Walton said. "My job is I've got to put them in a better position, and then we've just got to go out and execute, like I said, fundamental football. If you get off blocks, if you leverage the football, if you're in your right gap, if you tackle, all those things, you've got to understand their formations and their tendencies and what they're trying to do and we'll be fine....
                    -10-04-2013, 10:51 PM
                  • MauiRam
                    Rams still figuring out things on defense, with Dallas coming up, they better hurry
                    by MauiRam
                    Rams still figuring out things on defense, but with Dallas coming up, they better hurry

                    The Rams defense has not played up to expectations so far under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and it will face a significant challenge Sunday against the Cowboys. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

                    By RICH HAMMOND

                    THOUSAND OAKS — It’s not time to worry about the Rams’ defense. Give that another couple days.

                    Thus far, the scheme of new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has underwhelmed. The Rams rank 26th in the NFL in points allowed per game (25.0) and 22nd in yards allowed (343.7), and last week the Rams ended up in a shootout against a San Francisco team that previously hadn’t scored a touchdown.

                    The challenge doesn’t get easier this Sunday, as the Rams travel to face a balanced Dallas offense that includes quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and tight end Jason Witten.

                    “We look at it as a big challenge,” Phillips said after Thursday’s practice at Cal Lutheran. “I think we’ll see a lot about our team this week, as far as where we are, to match up against that premier offense.”

                    The Rams clearly are having some issues. After their dominating season-opening game against an Indianapolis team that lacked its quarterback and center, the Rams allowed 27 points and 385 yards in a loss to Washington, then 39 points and 421 yards in a way-too-close victory over the 49ers.

                    Run defense remains an issue, cornerbacks have been beat on big plays and, last week, the 49ers converted on nine of their 18 third-down attempts.

                    On the other hand, Phillips pointed out that special-teams miscues sent the Rams’ defense onto the field in unusual circumstances multiple times, and Phillips said the unit would get a boost from the expected return of starting cornerback Kayvon Webster, who missed two games with a shoulder injury.

                    Phillips also hinted that the Rams might move Michael Brockers, who has been one of the most productive players up front, away from nose tackle and to a defensive tackle role.

                    “A premier challenge,” Phillips said of Dallas. “When you’re playing a really good offensive team, that’s when you have to step up and be a good defensive team. I think we’ll get better in some of the areas we need to, but we’ll find out. That’s why we play the games, to see what happens. But I like our group.”

                    Phillips’ recent history shows that early-season struggles, when he takes over and transitions a team from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 front, are not uncommon.

                    In 2011, Phillips took over an awful Houston defense. In the third game of that season, the Texans allowed 40 points and 454 yards in a loss to New Orleans. Houston finished that season ranked fourth in points allowed (17.4 per game) and second in yards (285.7).

                    In 2004, Phillips’ San Diego defense...
                    -09-29-2017, 10:27 AM
                  • kman1521
                    Wade Phillips need to be start being held accountable
                    by kman1521
                    I feel like he is getting by on his past accomplishmnets, and not getting enough heat about how bad this D is. they cant stop anyone! I know the offense hasn't been clicking but, the defense is what will do them in. Im sick of hearing about all these great players on defense, but collectively they suck!. Change it up Wade, do something! blitz more, we get no pass rush at all. The offensive line is falling apart too..Goff has been bad, but he is getting more pressured then earlier in year. We miss Kupp a lot more then people will admit too..He was Goff;s safety net
                    -12-18-2018, 07:20 AM
                  • DJRamFan
                    Battle of strengths key Minnesota's Saturday matchup
                    by DJRamFan
                    By David McCoy Minnesota Daily
                    Minneapolis, MN (U-WIRE) -- Anyone who has been paying even remote attention to Minnesota's football team the past three weeks has noticed the way it has been able to run all over its nonconference opponents with ease.

                    After those three games, the Gophers are averaging 335 yards per game.

                    That figure is No. 1 in the country.

                    But the Gophers know they can't get too excited about that fact.

                    After all, they haven't exactly faced the nation's toughest run defenses, such as, well, Purdue.

                    The 11th-ranked Boilermakers have the nation's best run defense, giving up an average of just 16 yards on the ground per game.

                    And they just happen to be Minnesota's next opponent at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Metrodome.

                    "Everything goes up a notch," Gophers center Greg Eslinger said. "You've got to play at your absolute peak. There's no such thing as taking a play off or getting a bad block, because if those things happen, you're going to have some serious consequences because you're going up against the best opponents in the league."

                    On the flip side, Purdue's running attack is ranked fourth in the Big Ten at 225 yards per game while the Gophers' run defense is ranked sixth, giving up an average of 95 per game.

                    Their passing attacks are similarly ranked. The Gophers are seventh in the Big Ten in both passing offense and defense, while the Boilermakers are ninth in passing offense and 10th on defense.

                    The present scenario could mean one of two things: The team that wins the key matchup between the Gophers rushing offense and Purdue's run defense will have the crucial advantage, or the two strengths will cancel out and whichever team can revive its mediocre passing attack will dominate through the air.

                    Wide receiver Logan Payne said the Gophers receiving corps not only feels responsibility for taking the pressure off their top-ranked running backs, but also feels the need to make big plays as well.

                    "The home run is going to be there," Payne said. "There's no way that they can stop our run and also take away the home run. The challenge is there, and we need to make those plays."

                    While the Gophers' ground game has been consistent each week, their passing attack has been spotty at best.

                    But quarterback Bryan Cupito said he saw a lot of improvement in the passing game between the Colorado State game (190 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) and Saturday's game against Florida Atlantic (230 yards, two touchdowns, no picks).

                    "We proved that we can catch the ball as good as we can run the ball," Cupito said. "We're ready for Purdue."

                    Not quite on the former. Better be on the latter.
                    -09-20-2005, 02:29 PM