The Los Angeles Rams lost a 16-10 heartbreaker at home against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. This Week 5 matchup included the toughest defense the Rams have seen all year, and in many aspects, they simply were not ready.
1. Five turnovers are unacceptable
It’s a lot to ask for a struggling defense to attempt to overcome five turnovers. Actually, a kudos are in order considering they limited the Seahawks to just 16 points. That said, turnovers are a part of the game, but surrendering the ball five times will kill a team’s chances to win every time. The Rams’ turnovers never should have happened and were easily preventable. If the Rams continue to surrender the ball this easily, the season will end just like the rest have in the last 14 years.
2. Can we please ditch the Tavon Austin experiment?
I get it, Austin possesses loads of untapped potential and that’s great. Unfortunately, his failure to develop makes him more of a liability rather than a necessity or luxury. Head coach Sean McVay is attempting to force Austin into the offensive scheme, and it just doesn’t work well. It throws off the rhythm, and while it does work at times, his inclusion seriously disrupts the flow of the offense. I cringe every time I see him in the backfield, because it’s obvious where the ball is going. If anything, the Rams need to abandon Austin as a special teamer. Austin has become too much of a liability as a return man. His hands are terrible, and because of that, he has become limited to a running back. He’s too overpaid to be limited to such a role.
3. McVay showed his inexperience
Let’s start off by saying that the Seahawks defense is elite. McVay felt the dominance and altered too much of his offensive scheme. Fresh out of the gates, the Rams drove the ball down the field, and it was because the playcalling was diverse. McVay abandoned the run, especially in the second half, and the Seahawks shut them down because of it. Had McVay stuck to what worked the entire season, the Rams would have had a better shot at winning the game. Many fans are placing the loss on Cooper Kupp, and while he should have caught the ball in the end zone on the last drive, the blame for this loss should go to McVay. Even coaching has learning curves.
4. Goff needs to handle pressure better
Much of this can be attributed to the playcalling, but there are no excuses for some of Goff’s mistakes. Goff will play against tough defenses, so he must make smarter decisions. Goff continues to struggle with knowing when to throw the ball away. He should set his feet first before taking that chance. I saw a few lofted passes, including the one picked off by the Seahawks. Pressure will happen, so Goff will need to keep his composure and make smarter decisions. Still, Goff played well when it was all said and done.
5. Kudos to the defense overall
The Rams needed the defense to step up, and they did in a huge way. It wasn’t perfect, but some of those points were attributed to turnovers. That’s something the defense can’t help. They limited the Seahawks offense to one touchdown. The pressure applied by the front seven on Russell Wilson was the most impressive aspect. Aaron Donald produced his best game of the season and made his presence felt in the backfield. Even the secondary stepped up, making critical plays throughout the game. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will not tolerate boneheaded mistakes, and we’ve witnessed changes already. Expect this defense to become greedier as the season moves forward.
6. Welcome to the starting unit, John Johnson
Johnson replaced Maurice Alexander for the starting strong safety spot and made a difference immediately. In fact, Johnson did so well that the Rams waived Alexander in favor of the rookie. Johnson wasn’t perfect, but he was close. He made a couple of key tackles, deflections and had a 69-yard interception. If he continues to play at this high of a level, the Rams may have stolen a gem in this year’s NFL Draft.