The Los Angeles Rams desperately needed a big win on Sunday to get back on track after three straight losses. They did just that, routing the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-7 in a game that was never close.
Matthew Stafford looked closer to his usual self, going 26-for-38 with 295 yards and three touchdowns.
But the player of the game for the Rams was Sony Michel, who took on the lead running back role with Darrell Henderson limited by a thigh injury. Michel crushed the Jaguars’ defense, totaling 27 touches for 129 all-purpose yards. He had a rushing touchdown as part of his 121 ground yards on the day.
Stafford praised Michel for staying ready and Sean McVay for his game plan with Henderson out. “Yeah, I got to give (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) a lot of credit. That was a great game plan we had in this game,” Stafford said of the Rams head coach. “And then really, the guys that were asked to play more than they played probably this season stepped up and played great.”
“(RB) Sony (Michel) I thought ran the ball really well. Kind of going into the week, seeing the plan unfold, and I’m like, ‘This is a Sony Michel type of game.’ He’s just going to slug it out, wear on these dudes. I thought he was great in the pass game too. Gave him some opportunities in the pass game, did some nice stuff.
“I get a great view from where I’m at of him running the football and some of those four, five, six-yard runs are just things of beauty. And, you know, he’s a heavy guy. You know, when he starts running, I think the defenders feel it, so I was happy for him. I thought (OL) Joe Noteboom when he was asked to step in there and played really well. And, really, all of our tight ends played really well as well. I’m just happy for our guys. Happy we were able to come out with the win.”
While he profusely praised the people around him, Stafford also had one of his best games in recent weeks. In fact, it was his first game since their win against the Houston Texans that Stafford did not turn the ball over, something he discussed after the win. “I just try to attack each game and treat it as an opportunity to go play great. Sometimes that doesn’t happen.
“I thought we had a great week of practice as a team. I thought we were dialed in, came out here on game day and played well. It boils down to execution. And I feel like our guys did that at a really high level. I tried to make sure that I wasn’t putting the ball in harm’s way and our guys were getting open to make catches so that’s nice.”
Hopefully the win put everyone in good spirits and brought some momentum to the locker room, as the Rams face their toughest task of the season in Week 14. After the beatdown they suffered at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals, they now head to Arizona to face the team with the NFL’s best record in a Monday Night primetime game.
Henderson likely should be back into his normal role, but perhaps Michel’s performance against the Jaguars afforded him an opportunity to be a more permanent part of the team’s offensive plans moving forward.
McVay impressed with Michel
Stafford was not the only one to sing the praises of Michel after the win against the Jaguars. McVay was also impressed with what he saw out of his back-up back. “Sony really carrying the load did an outstanding job just like I thought he would,” McVay said.
“I thought it was good to be able to mix up a lot of different personnel groupings, really utilize all hands-on deck. It was good to get Joe Noteboom in there. Sony was great. That was exactly what we had talked about and it was good to see it come to life.”