Highlights, Observations & Analysis From Week 14 Win Over Jaguars

It took a while, but the Los Angeles Rams finally got back in the win column for the first time in over a month in Week 14, hosting the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars and easily beating them 37-7 to improve to 8-4 on the season.

Now, let me just start by saying that it was the Jaguars, who are very bad, so there isn’t a whole lot to take away from this game.

But, I will say that it was good to see the Rams come out and dominate from start to finish to get back in the win column before the schedule gets tough again.

My main takeaway from this one is that the Rams cleaned up their mistakes from the last few weeks and got back to playing the football that is going to make them successful down the stretch.

Rams got back to basics on offense

And when I say that, I’m referring to the offense, who has been struggling as of late but was able to move the ball up and down the field with ease in this one.

The main reason for that, in my opinion, is they got back to their roots of running the football and setting up the play-action off that.

Everyone knows that Sean McVay is one of the most clever play-callers in the league, but in all honesty, he has gotten a bit predictable this season. The reason for that is he has a lot of confidence in Matthew Stafford and his ability to drop back and make the right decisions.

Just because Stafford has a talented arm doesn’t mean you have to stop being clever though, and what we saw in this one was McVay realizing that.

With Darrell Henderson dealing with an injury, the Rams turned to Sony Michel as their lead back and he responded with the best performance of the season for a Rams running back, carrying the ball 24 times for 121 yards and a touchdown and also adding three receptions for eight yards.

The Rams often went to 12 personnel with Stafford under center, also even bringing in a sixth offensive lineman for some plays.

And what did that do? Well it not only allowed the Rams to run the ball and control the clock effectively, but it also opened up the play-action passing game for Stafford:

Stafford had an efficient day, finding open receivers all over the place. Part of it was just him playing better, but part of it was also McVay putting his quarterback in a better position to succeed by playing complementary football.

It will be interesting to see how the Rams manage their backfield moving forward when Henderson is more healthy. It’s clear that Michel is more of a power back though, so he could benefit from more touches to help wear defenses down, whereas Henderson is more of a change-of-pace option.

Won the turnover battle for a change

One other takeaway from this one that will lead to more success in the future if it continues is that the Rams won the turnover battle for a change, and that’s a credit to both sides of the ball.

On offense, Stafford is pretty dang good when he’s not turning the ball over and stopping the opposing team 14 points. He took care of the ball and completed 26-of-38 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns on the day. That’s the Stafford we saw in the first half of the season.

And then on defense, the Rams created a pair of turnovers for the first time in a while to actually set up the offense with plus field position.

The first play was a special one from Aaron Donald as he slammed Jaguars running back James Robinson to the ground and stripped the ball in the process, setting up Jalen Ramsey for a fumble recovery against his former team.

A’Shawn Robinson then forced a fumble of his own on Carlos Hyde, which Taylor Rapp recovered. It was good to see the Rams defensive line, which should be their biggest strength, playing physical football.

Shoutout to special teams

There weren’t any turnovers on special teams but let me give them a shoutout as well because the Rams were good in that phase with Buddy Powell returning the opening kickoff 65 yards to give L.A. great field position.

Rookie cornerback Robert Rochell then also made an incredible play to keep the ball out of the end zone in punt coverage.

These are the type of plays that make a difference in close games against strong opponents, so hopefully it continues moving forward.

Kupp continues historic season

Cooper Kupp continued his historic season for the Rams, hauling in eight receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Here are some of the incredible milestones Kupp has reached in the first 12 games of this season, currently sitting with 100 receptions for 1,366 yards and 11 touchdowns, all of which rank first in the league:

Up next for Rams…

While a dominating win over the Jaguars was great, things get real now as the Rams travel to take on the first-place Ariza Cardinals on Monday Night Football in Week 15.

If the Rams want to keep their slim hopes of winning the division alive, then this is a must-win. It’s also been a while since the Rams have beaten a playoff-caliber opponent, so this gives them a prime opportunity to prove to everyone that they are legit championship contenders.