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Los Angeles Rams review and preview: LAX to MIA

This past week, the Los Angeles Rams hosted the Chicago Bears for a primetime match up. The Rams looked to bounce back from a horrible performance against the San Francisco 49ers last week.

Not only did they bounce back, but they did something the league was hoping for, expose the Bears. The Bears have an elite defense from year to year, but they have struggled with the offense for years now. Despite that they came into Los Angeles with a 5-1 record.

Photo Credit: The Athletic
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A little close for comfort

The game was fairly close going into the half. The Bears defense kept them in the contest by only allowing 279 yards for the entire game. With the Rams offense faltering, the one thing that put the Rams over was none other than their special teams play.

The rest of the team performed well, but not spectacularly. Jared Goff has a decent game with 220 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a 108.1 rating. Aaron Donald had three tackles and half a sack. Safety Taylor Rapp had a great interception in the end zone.

Punting to victory

But Punter Johnny Hekker had some of the most critical plays of the game. He had five punts on the day and all five landed inside the 20. He had a long put of 63 yards. The league’s top special teamer really kept the Rams in the driving seat against a stout defense. Punters matter, people!!

The formula for the Rams win was to keep the game under control with an effective running game and have the defense on the field less than the offense. Hekker’s stellar game provided fantastic field position against an opposing offense that struggled to drive the field. Overall, the tactic worked well, resulting in a solid W for the Rams.

Up next, the Los Angeles Rams will be in the national spotlight and not because of the time-slot they are playing in.

Tua Time

Photo Credit:Pro Football Focus

Next stop for the Rams is Miami, where the Dolphins made a shocking move before their bye. After starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Miami Dolphins to a decent start, the coaching staff decided to make a change at QB and start rookie Tua Tagovailoa. Tua looked sharp in very limited action and has created instant buzz league wide.

The Rams come into town looking to give the rookie hard time in his first start. The main key to the game will be the Rams defense and how they stack up against a rookie signal caller.

A tough match up for the rookie

Tua is going against a very stout defensive front seven that has 86 QB pressures and 24 sacks on the year. This puts the Rams in the top three when it comes to attacking the quarterback.

Even if Tua avoids the pass-rush, he has to deal with a pass-defense that is seventh in the league in terms of QB rating, clocking in at 84.6. To succeed, Tua must have great protection from the offensive line. Luckily, the Dolphins have been suprisingly stout on that front.

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The Dolphins offensive line has only allowed 10 sacks which is ninth in the league. The caveat to that statistic is that Fitzpatrick, who is a long time veteran, was the one at the helm and knows how to avoid pressure. Tua will have to get up to NFL speed quickly and display a similar level of pocket awareness. In all honesty, it feels like the former Alabama star is going to have a tough time Sunday with this Rams team.

Riding into the bye

The Los Angeles Rams will likely use this game as a tune up before hitting the bye week. Jared Goff and company will look to run up the score because the defense will keep the Dolphins offense off the field in Tua’s debut.

Look for the run game to help start the attack to wear down the front seven. McVay and Goff will then try to air it out against an up and down pass defense that is rated ninth in QBR allowed, which is close the Rams ranking.

I’m confidently predicting a Rams victory that will keep them in the race for first place in the NFC West going into the bye week.

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