From start to finish, the Los Angeles Rams dominated the Seattle Seahawks 42-7 on Sunday, December 17, In a rare instance, a team silenced Seattle’s 12th man. It’s hard to pinpoint a bad aspect of this game for the Rams other than a few poor decisions.
Special teams masters
The Rams’ special teams unit is the best in the NFL. While punter Johnny Hekker didn’t see much action and kicker Greg Zuerlein had a missed extra point, Pharoh Cooper was lights out. Cooper’s open-field vision continues to improve, and he constantly finds entertaining ways to create missed tackles. It may seem insignificant since Cooper didn’t find the end zone, but he still consistently positioned the Rams in Seahawks’ territory. Kudos to special teams coordinator John Fassel.
Feed Todd Gurley
Head coach Sean McVay admitted in last week’s loss against the Philadelphia Eagles that he needed to get Gurley the ball more. He followed through this week, and this proves what many have been saying the past few weeks: feed Gurley the ball. Gurley is a legitimate MVP candidate, and there is no reason he should have under 20 carries a game. It’s easy to abandon the run if it doesn’t work the first couple of attempts, but it won’t happen as easily in the playoffs. This is something McVay will need to keep in mind.
Welcome back Robert Woods
The Rams focused more on the running game instead of the passing game this week. Yet Robert Woods still made his presence felt. He caught several critical passes, including a touchdown. Woods missed the past few weeks with an injury, but he showed that he wasn’t slowed down at all. His presence will be needed in the playoffs.
Tavon Austin is not an every-down back
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that McVay was experimenting a little during garbage time. It intrigued me to see him using Austin as a featured running back, but it’s simply not a fit for Austin. Austin is not a running back; he’s a gimmick player. He made a few plays, but Austin still isn’t consistent enough for any significant role. Austin has potential. However, his role is more of a slot receiver and a situational running back.
Defense continues to thrive despite injuries
Every week the defense manages to find new ways to amaze me. Losing Kayvon Webster for the year was devastating, and the secondary still looked solid. Mark Barron was out the majority of the game, and guys like Cory Littleton stepped up to make huge plays. Connor Barwin returned to the lineup, and that helped tremendously. The Rams could have used his services last week against the Eagles.
The Rams look like a Super Bowl team
Jumping the gun a bit? Perhaps, but the way this team adjusts and finds new ways to improve and win amazes me. The Seahawks are a great team. They are a little banged up, but the Rams went into their house and humiliated them. It was hostile territory. The Rams visited the home of the 12th man and none of that mattered. I have never witnessed the Seahawks so frustrated or so lost on their home turf.
It isn’t just this past week’s game either. Offensively, the Rams have the potential to butcher defenses with their aerial assault or bulldoze through them on the ground. Defensively, the front seven is becoming more consistent at demolishing offensive lines. The Rams are evolving into a team that nobody wants to play, especially quarterbacks. If the Rams can remain relatively healthy, they are a Super Bowl team. But first it’s time to beat the Tennessee Titans and win the NFC West.