The Los Angeles Rams have had a difficult last couple of weeks with a number of players going in and out of coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols.
With the playoff just around the corner though, the Rams have no let their circumstances affect their play as they first beat the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football in Week 14.
They then had their Week 15 game against the Seattle Seahawks moved back to Tuesday night due to all the COVID cases. That gave the Rams enough time to get back key players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Darrell Henderson, Von Miller and Jalen Ramsey, among others.
With the Cardinals losing again in Week 15, the Rams had an opportunity to pull into a first-place tie with them in the NFC West at 10-4 with a win over the Seahawks.
Despite a slow start, that is exactly what the Rams did as they beat the Seahawks 20-10 at home. While it wasn’t pretty for L.A., division games rarely are, the most important thing is that they came away with their third straight win.
Let me get right into this one…
Kupp continues historic season
Where else is there to start after this game other than Cooper Kupp, who was again brilliant for the Rams.
Kupp was basically the Rams’ whole passing offense, finishing with nine receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown catch was a historic one as it marked his 120th reception of the season, which broke Isaiah Bruce’s record for the most receptions in franchise history.
If Kupp’s name isn’t in the MVP conversation then it should be as he’s still the receiving triple crown leader and on pace to set the single-season receiving record with 122 receptions for 1,625 yards and 14 touchdowns.
There’s not a whole lot left to say about this guy that hasn’t already been said, but he’s simply incredible and it’s been a joy to watch the season he’s having.
Michel is RB1
Outside of Kupp, the Rams’ biggest contributor on offense for the third straight week was running back Sony Michel.
Even with Darrell Henderson back, Michel took on lead-back duties, as was expected to be the case, and he had some really tough, physical runs for L.A.
Michel finished with 18 carries for 92 yards, also adding a pair of receptions for 23 yards. Moreso than the stats though is the importance that the style Michel runs with brings to the Rams.
To win in the playoffs the Rams are gonna have to be physical and wear defenses down, which Michel does but Henderson does not.
We’ve seen it the last few weeks when Michel has taken over. The Rams may not be getting off to fast starts, but they have been almost unstoppable offensively in the second half of games and the reason for that is that defenses are tired from having to tackle Sony Michel all game.
There should be zero debate moving forward. Michel is RB1 and Henderson is the change-of-pace back, which is the role the Rams always envisioned him in.
Defense is figuring it out
Something that we’ve also seen in recent weeks is that the Rams defense is starting to figure some things out.
We all had high expectations for this defense going into the season but for the most part, they have fallen short of that for a majority of this season.
The last couple of games have looked more like what we were expecting though, and that’s a defensive line that can generate a ton of pressure on quarterbacks and a backend that can lockdown top receivers with Jalen Ramsey and keep everything else in front of them.
Von Miller got his first sack as a Ram, Aaron Donald is playing his best football of the season, Greg Gaines is an absolute force inside and Ernest Jones seems to be improving each week.
This defense is ready to roll for the homestretch of the season.
Up next for the Rams…
The Rams now have a short week before traveling to take on the 7-7 Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. This is a game the Rams need to win if they want to win the NFC West, and if they are able to come away with a victory, they will officially clinch a postseason berth.