Week 1 – Panthers
Week 1 finally arrived and it didn’t take long for a running back to gash through our defense. Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey had 27 yards after just 3 plays. It was looking like an impressive opening drive for the Panthers until Littleton punched the ball out of DJ Moore’s hands and then managed to recover it.
A series of punts followed the turnover, with both teams struggling to move the ball. Carolina finally managed to get into long field goal range but their new kicker Joey Slye missed it. The Rams finally got the first points on the board, with Zuerlein replying with a 49 yarder at the start of the second quarter. Two plays later Rams had another fumble recovery after a backwards pass from Cam Newton, but this time inside the Panthers 10. Two 5 yard rushes followed and Brown had our first touchdown of the season. Both teams managed to put up 3 points on their final drives of the half and the Rams led 13-3 going into the locker room.
The Rams got the ball to start the second half and managed to stretch the lead to 16-3 with another Zuerlein field goal. A mistake by Zuerlein on the kick off gave Newton and his offense the ball on the 40 to start the drive. McCaffrey capped off the 8-play drive with a touchdown out of the Wildcat formation, taking the snap directly himself.
The Rams responded on the next drive as Brown chalked up his second touchdown of the game to give LA their 13 point lead back. Carolina hit another field goal before a terrible drive for the Rams that ended in a blocked punt and an instant redzone chance for the Panthers. Two plays later and our 13 point lead had shrunk to 3, Rams 23-20 with just under a quarter to go.
Next drive, Goff threw what could of been a costly interception but the Rams defense stood up and forced a quick 3 and out. We finally saw the former league offensive player of the year bust off a few big runs midway through the 4th, Gurley had 41 yards on 4 carries. This led to Goff getting his first passing touchdown of the year, on a little 5 yard hitch route to Higbee.
Next drive, Littleton got his second turnover of the game as he intercepted Newton, but the Rams couldn’t turn it into points as Zuerlein missed a 41 yard field goal. Carolina took over with decent field position and managed to drive down and score a touchdown to make it a 3 point game once again. An onside kick followed, the Rams recovered and needed just one first down to secure the win. Gurley managed that and the Rams left Carolina 1-0.
It was a day for the running backs, Gurley and Brown finished with 150 yards and 2 touchdowns between them. Christian McCaffrey had himself a day, 209 total yards on 29 touches and 2 touchdowns. To say the Panthers offense revolves around him is an understatement. On the defensive side Dante Fowler helped himself to a couple of sacks for the Rams and DB James Bradberry got a sack and an interception for Carolina. Cory Littleton had the most impressive day on the defensive side with 14 tackles, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception.
It wasn’t the best performance but we managed to get the win, and shake some of the offseason rust off.
Week 2 – Saints
The big rematch both sets of fans have been waiting for!!!
After all the controversy of last season’s NFC championship game, the rematch was finally here! Again, both sets of fans would drool over such key match ups like CB Marcus Peters v WR Mike Thomas and the seasoned veteran quarterback Drew Brees v the young up and coming Jared Goff. Also, Aaron Donald and co v that good Saints offensive line and how would the Rams run defense hold up against Kamara and Murray on the ground? Would the Saints secondary have enough to slow the Rams receivers? This one had it all!
As it turned out, early on this one was a defensive battle with both high powered offenses finding it tough. The Rams defense came up with a big interception early on through John Johnson III and soon after Goff found Cooks deep to put the Rams in place for a field goal. Defenses continued to be on top in the second quarter, but the Saints offense do get into field goal range and tie the game after a good mix of run and pass. Then with six minutes left in the half… more controversy! With the Rams driving deep in the Saints half, Goff is hit as he tries to throw and the ball comes out and the Saints recover. Cam Jordan then takes it all the way back the other way only for the play to be blown dead as an incomplete pass. After the review it was deemed that the ball was out before Goff’s arm was going forward, meaning a fumble, with the outcome of Saints ball at the spot of the recovery. Shortly after this, Saints quarterback Drew Brees injured his hand on a play from Aaron Donald and is subsequently sidelined for the rest of the game. Coming to the end of the first half the Rams once again drove into field goal range and take a 6-3 lead into the half.
The start of the second half saw Teddy Bridgewater (now in at quarterback for the Saints) move his team into field goal range and tie the game 6-6. Just after this the Rams offense started to show signs of life and get going a little on the ground and with Kupp and co through the air. Gurley then capped a good drive with a run in for the games first touchdown. The Rams defense continued to stifle the Saints offense and Bridgewater struggled to get any consistency going on offense. The Rams get another good drive going primarily through the air and Goff found Brandon Cooks in the endzone on a short route for our second touchdown of the game. Going into the fourth quarter and the Saints did get Mike Thomas and Kamara going a little but again have to settle for 3 points. Just after this the Rams drive with what was the play of the game. Copper Kupp catches a pass coming in from the left hand side then starts a powerful run downfield, breaking tackles and finding blockers only to fall just short of the endzone. Just after this Goff drives in for the score on a quarterback sneak. This score would seal the win for the Rams in what I’m sure was a very satisfying game for them, 27-9 Rams.
Honourable mentions for the Rams go to Jared Goff who was 19 of 28 attempts for 283 yards with 1 TD and 0 Int’s. Also, Cooper Kupp who had 5 catches for 120 yards including that big angry run. On defence for the Rams, Cory Littleton had 5 tackles and 3 assists while Eric Weddle had 5 tackles and 2 assists.
For the Saints the one standout on offense was Mike Thomas with 10 receptions for 89 yards, and on defense Eli Apple had 7 tackles.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read my take on the Rams first home game of the season….. And that’s my two cents.
Week 3 – Browns
Week 3 rolled around, and Rams were sitting pretty at 2-0. Not the best of performances but 2-0 nevertheless. The Rams first primetime match up saw us travel east to face the 1-1 Cleveland Browns.
Similar to Week 1, the game started slow with both teams punting on opening possessions before trading field goals. The second quarter wasn’t much better especially for the Rams, as Zuerlein missed a field goal before Myles Garrett had a sack fumble to give Cleveland the ball inside the Rams 20. A good defensive stand meant the Browns had to settle for 3, taking a 6-3 lead into half time, the second week in a row that the Rams saw this scoreline at the break.
The second half started just how McVay drew it up, a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped off with a Cooper Kupp touchdown, his first since his knee injury last season. The Browns then answered back with a 75-yard touchdown drive of their own, to regain the 3 point lead. The next drive ended in an interception thrown by Goff, with TJ Carrie making a great play for Cleveland. Cooks ran a curl to the outside and Carrie exploded towards the ball to get the Browns second turnover of the game. Cleveland couldn’t take advantage of this, though and punted the ball back to LA. Jared Goff responded by marching the Rams 72 yards down the field to take a 17-13 lead going into the 4th quarter. Jared had a couple of nice connections with Cooks and Kupp before a clever end around to Kupp who flipped the ball to Woods on the double reverse. Unfortunately he ran out of space and was forced out at the 3. The Rams went backwards and forwards via penalties before Goff found Kupp wide open and he waltzed into the endzone.
The Browns then worked the ball down the LA 40 yard line. Their drive stalled and with 4th and 9, first year Head Coach and offensive play caller Freddie Kitchens called an inexplicable draw play, which Eric Weddle managed to stop well before the first down marker. The Rams turned the favourable field position into 3 points to make it a 7 point game midway through the 4th. With just under 3 minutes left on the clock and already in Cleveland territory, Goff threw what looked to be a costly interception. The Browns had the ball at their own 43 and managed to drive down to the Rams 4, but the defense stood strong and on 4th down John Johnson picked off Baker Mayfield and sealed the game for the Rams.
Clay Matthews had a nice game with two sacks, one of which was a strip sack but unfortunately, the Rams couldn’t recover. On the Offensive side Kupp and Cooks had 213 yards and 2 touchdowns between them.
Similar to the Carolina game, not the best game we’ve seen from a McVay team but another win and moving into week 4, 3-0.
Week 4 – Buccaneers
A game many Rams fans thought would be a comfortable win!
Was the writing on the wall from the start in this one with our kick off going out of bounds which gave the Bucs the ball on their 40 yard line to start the game? Read on to find out!
From the very start the Bucs offense came out flying and marched down the field on their first drive to score and set a tone to which they played the rest of the game. The Rams offense couldn’t get going early and Goff threw his first interception of the game while being hit. Onto the second quarter, and the Bucs offense continued to look good, while the Rams defense struggled to contain them. On the Rams following drive Goff threw his 2nd interception, giving the Bucs good field position and from there the Bucs scored on a screen play. 21-0 Bucs! After this the Rams offense gets going through the air and Gurley goes in on a decent run for the touchdown. The Rams continue to fight back in this one and another good drive sees TE Gerald Everett emerge in the passing game and also catch a touchdown in the end zone. 21-14 Bucs. Not to be out done, the Bucs and wide receiver Godwin continued to find holes in the Rams defense and running back Ronald Jones added a TD near the end of the half. Rams have time near the half for Greg Zuerlein to kick a 58 yard field goal. 28-17 Bucs at the half.
The third quarter saw the Rams drive on the back of our passing game, but had to settle for a field goal. On the Bucs next drive Winston went deep with a pass which should have been picked off but the Rams secondary just can’t come up with it and the Bucs added another three points with a field goal. Goff then threw his third interception via a tipped pass. The Bucs continued their strong offensive performance and went down the field and hit TE Cameron Brate for another touchdown. Goff and the Rams passing game began to flow and looked good, with Gurley capping off a good drive with a short TD run and it’s clear to all it was a shoot out! The Bucs responded right back on their next drive with Winston going deep to beat the Rams secondary to Evans who goes in for the touchdown. The Rams passing games continued to click and Kupp, who’s having another big day, goes in for the score. A potential momentum shifter saw Winston throw an interception to Marcus Peters who took it to the house and the Rams now found themselves in a one score ball game. 45-40 Bucs. Rams chose to go for the two point conversion but were unsuccessful. The Bucs then march down the field and look very balanced on offense and are able to put another three points on the board. The Rams technically still only one score down drive to try and tie the game late but a sack fumble from Shaq Barrett seals the win for the Bucs with former Ram Ndamukong Suh taking the fumble in for the score. With no real time left on the clock the Bucs get the upset win 55-40.
As well as the Bucs played in this one, and they did deserve the win, I can’t help think with the penalties we gave up in this game and turnovers we really did help their cause. Our defense really struggled all day to contain the Bucs and our offense, while it did get going, did not play consistently and really leaned on the passing game.
Honourable mention to the Rams wide receivers in this one as they were the stand out on our team and played very well as a unit so I’m mentioning them collectively. On defense for the Rams, Eric Weddle had 10 tackles and 5 assists.
For the Bucs, Winston was 28 of 41 Attempts for 385 yards 4 touchdowns and 1 Int. And Chris Godwin had a big day with 12 catches for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns. On defense for the Bucs, M.J. Stewart had 8 tackles and 1 assist. And the Bucs linebacker core had a good day accounting for their three interceptions.
Once again thank you taking the time to read my take on our Week 4 game.
That’s my two cents.