How much fun was Week 9? The Los Angeles Rams obliterated the New York Giants on the road 51-17, scoring more points on Sunday than they did in the entire month of November last season. There are so many winners this week that I had to make this one a tie.
Two players on the Rams desperately needed a breakthrough game. Two of them got it:
Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins won the week.
Let’s start with Sammy Watkins. Despite the lack of statistical impact over the past few weeks, his sheer presence on the offense has done wonders for the passing game. The Rams haven’t had a real quality WR1 since Torry Holt. Guys like Danny Amendola, Kenny Britt, and Danario Alexander attempted to hold the job over the past few seasons. The lack of a WR1 forced guys that are really WR2/3 quality players to step up and go toe-to-toe with the other team’s best cornerback. The results haven’t been pretty. It took the Rams 10 years to produce another 1,000-yard receiver after Holt’s final campaign.
With Watkins on the field, guys like Cooper Kupp have been able to shine. The defense needs to give Watkins attention, because he’ll torch them if they don’t. Kupp and Woods have feasted with the lack of pressure from a shutdown corner. But when Watkins doesn’t produce anything for four weeks, at what point does this pressure disappear? At what point do defenses decide he isn’t even worth shadowing? When do fans and critics alike start panning the Watkins trade as a disaster?
These aren’t questions we need to answer thanks to the 67-yard touchdown Watkins scored on Sunday. It was his only catch on the day, but that doesn’t even matter. Defenses were reminded that Sammy Watkins is a legit playmaker. The Rams coaching staff and front office were reminded why they traded this guy. Most importantly, Sammy Watkins was reminded that he can still make elite plays in the NFL. That’s very important for a guy in his contract year.
Robert Woods had an equally important day. Woods has been stellar for the Rams this year as he leads the team in receiving yards, but he had yet to score a touchdown before Sunday. Dating back to his time in Buffalo, Woods had not scored a touchdown since Week 6 of last season. That all changed on Sunday when Woods scored two touchdowns, including a miraculous 52 yard screen pass on 3rd and 33.
I wrote about the last time the Rams played at the Giants last week. In that article, I mentioned how I knew the Rams season was over the moment I watched Cadillac Williams drop a screen pass and not even try to stop the Giants from taking it the other way. I knew that all hope was gone. I feel like this is how Giants fans must have felt after Woods scored on that screen pass. The Giants season was going nowhere, but this felt like the moment that Bob McAdoo lost his locker room and ultimately dug his own grave following the season.
It still feels bizarre being on the other side of that situation, but here we are. The Rams have won their third straight game thanks to two guys that came over from Buffalo.
Steve Rebeiro is a staff writer and podcast host for Rams Talk. He graduated from Marquette University in 2016. For more of his opinions, follow him on Twitter here.
WEEK 5: JOHN JOHNSON
This is a series of articles crowning a winner for the Los Angeles Rams each week of the 2017 season. For a description of what it means to “win” the week, see the first article here.