SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA is now the new official home of the Los Angeles Rams.Along with the grand opening of the stadium, the Rams turned off the salary cap with new deals for cornerback Jalen Ramsey and long-time wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
The Rams start a new era in front of no fans on Sunday Night Football and defeated the Dallas Cowboys 20-17. Here are few observations about Sean McVay’s squad after their first week.
The Rams had an interesting draft a few months ago, by that I mean that they didn’t pick until the second round. As mentioned in a previous article , the Rams drafted some key rookies that can help immediately.
Wide receiver Van Jefferson hauled in a 31-yard catch right before half time. Sam Sloman helped keep the Rams in the game by going two for three in field goals and went a perfect two for two on extra points.
Overall , General Manager Les Snead should feel good about the rookies on the team.
The run game
When the Rams let go of a long time running back Todd Gurley, they essentially wanted to restart the run game that made them so successful in the past. Coach Sean McVay wanted to go with the committee route that made teams like the San Francisco 49ers so successful last year.
Veteran Malcolm Brown took the bulk of the load by rushing 18 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Brown shot up fantasy boards as he ranked as the fourth best running back for week one as he scored 23 points in standard leagues. As mentioned earlier, Akers had the second-highest total touches, while Darrell Henderson was eased into the rushing attack.
McVay knows how important the run game is to this offense. If the run game is able to control the clock, the quarterback will have to less. Which brings me to my next point…
A QB with a new role
Quarterback Jared Goff has been scrutinized for his play not matching his recent contract extension. Goff and McVay seemed to come into the game with clear goals; win the game and minimize mistakes. Allowing the revamped run game to eat up the clock and create easy touchdown opportunities seemed the clear plan going in.
Goff threw for 275 yards and an interception on 20/31 completions on the game. He turned in a dismal fantasy performance by scoring 10 points in standard leagues, but delivered in real life. Goff showed glimpses of the big arm, delivering strikes to Robert Woods who had 105 yards on the night with a long gain of 31 yards. This connection could be a week-to-week proposition but it’s good to know that Goff can change his style in order for the team to win.
Speaking of the entire team effort…
Rams sent a first-round pick in 2019to the Jaguars for Jalen Ramsey to be the cornerstone on the defense, and it showed on Sunday night. Ramsey connected on six tackles and thumped Michael Gallup in a sneaky cover two disguise coverage. He also sold an amazing call in a critical moment . Dak Prescott completed a long pass to Michael Gallup that would be called back for offensive pass interference. This stopped any comeback the Dallas Cowboys could muster up.
The defensive line had a lot of positives on Sunday night including three sacks and seven QB hits. All-Pro Aaron Donald was in midseason form by grabbing one of those sacks, four of the total QB hits, and a monstrous hit on Ezekiel Elliot. This is not to say the defense is perfect, because they did allow Dak to throw for 266 yards and have a 92.5 quarterback rating. They didn’t help much in fantasy either, scoring only three points in fantasy land.
All in all this a good first showing for a defense under first year defensive coordinator, Brandon Staley.
What did we learn…
The Rams started off great after a few key offseason departures. Coach McVay is looking for more of a balanced offense and it has shown that it’s effective so far. Goff’s role looks to be different from years past as he will be asked to do less for the time being. The rookies drafted this year will get their chance to show out.
Now, it’s important to remember that this is the first game of the year, with no preseason games, against a team with a new coach in Mike McCarthy. So this may not be the greatest indicator on what the season holds, but it’s certainly positive for the Rams.
All that can really be said is that the Rams won their first game in their new home; now onto Philadelphia.