The Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks battled in a clash of talented NFC West teams in another close Thursday Night Football game, this time with both teams chasing the upstart Arizona Cardinals. The Rams moved past the Seahawks and improved to 4-1 on the year, with their lone loss to the undefeated Cardinals, who have Kyler Murray playing at an MVP level.
Sean McVay has the Rams playing terrific football with new quarterback Matthew Stafford leading the offense and they look primed for a trip to the playoffs, at the very least. Russell Wilson left the game for the Seahawks, but the Rams offense worked as Cooper Kupp had another excellent outing.
However, Robert Woods– the Los Angeles native– enjoyed a coming-out party after a slow start to the season and had a game-high 150 yards receiving to pace the way for the Rams.
Robert Woods has arrived
The Rams jumped out to a 3-1 start and lost one game thanks to the right arm of Murray. Stafford and Kupp lit the league on fire through four weeks, but it was finally Woods’ turn to take center stage.
On Thursday night, the former USC star finished with 12 catches for 150 yards, nearly doubling his numbers on the entire season. Earlier in the week, McVay insisted on getting Woods more opportunities, and that was exactly what happened in the Rams latest victory (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).
So, when Robert’s involved, that’s a good thing for the Rams offense. That’s something that we want to continue to see displayed, but Robert is a leader, he’s a captain and he’s been doing a great job up to this point. We just need to get him some more opportunities and that starts with me.”Sean McVay on Robert Woods
The gameplan certainly seemed to feature Woods, who led the team in targets with 14. The Seahawks had no answer for Woods, and perhaps his performance is exactly what he needs to build some momentum and flourish just as everybody expected after Stafford came to town.
The Rams offense is one of the best in the NFL and it showed against a division rival
When the Rams traded Jared Goff and picks to land Stafford, it was expected to be a significant boost to the entire team. Suddenly, the Rams are 4-1 and consist of a lethal passing offense with other weapons being revealed. Kupp and Woods were the obvious beneficiaries, but Van Jefferson and Tyler Higbee have also reaped benefits, not to mention veteran DeSean Jackson who remains as a viable deep threat.
The Rams offense is now 6th in points per game, 7th in yards, and 2nd in time of possession and finally have a lethal passing option with Stafford running the show instead of Goff.
If it weren’t for the recent loss against the Cardinals, the Rams might be undefeated and in sole possession of the NFC West crown. For now, all signs point to a Cardinals-Rams battle for NFC West supremacy with both of these teams being early favorites to dethrone the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as NFC champions.
The defense is getting it done as well
When Brandon Staley left and took the Los Angeles Chargers head coaching job, there were some rumblings about the Rams defense taking a hit. But, that hasn’t exactly been the case thus far.
The Rams sit 2nd in the NFL in sacks as Aaron Donald continues to terrorize offenses. McVay’s team also sits 4th in interceptions as Jalen Ramsey continues to shine as one of the best defensive backs in the league.
LA has five players with two or more sacks, and both Donald and Leonard Floyd have three in five games. At this rate, the Rams have a legitimate case for Super Bowl contenders, and are doing this all without starting running back Cam Akers, who ruptured his Achilles in the preseason and has forced the Rams to lean heavily on Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel.
Don’t sleep on the Rams, and the emergence of Woods has this offense with one of the best 1-2 punches at the wide receiver position.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference