The Rams won their season opener last night against the Bears with a final score of 34-14. I watched the whole game, and today I’ll be bringing you my observations and thoughts from last night’s win. Stafford started his debut with the Rams hot and led the team to a win against his former division rival
First of all Matthew Stafford looked great. He stood tall in the pocket and was performing well all night. The offense started out hot in the first quarter with 10 points after a field goal and a deep shot to Van Jefferson. Before the half, the Bears’ front 7 began pressuring Stafford and held them to only a field goal. Stafford handled their pressure well and didn’t commit any turnovers, something that’s a major improvement from Goff. He handled the pass rush from the Bears great in the second half and scored 21 more points. The offense looked much better and committed fewer mistakes.
In the second half, the Rams offense started to struggle a bit but still scored 21 more points. Once Stafford started getting more comfortable against the pass rush, he was able to perform better. I think we might see a few growing pains here and there as Stafford learns the playbook better. We’ll definitely be seeing more deep shots this season which was seemingly absent last year. The first two of Stafford’s TDs were longer than 50 yards and his arm was super impressive. The Rams will be passing more this year, so that’ll help the main two Running Backs (Henderson & Michel) who are both injury prone. Their depth at WR should allow everyone to stay fresh, now that they play an extra game this year.
Now let’s talk about the #1 defense from last year. The Rams defense struggled to contain David Montgomery and defend against the run. Whether it was Montgomery or Fields, it seemed that the defense had problems defending the run. This can mostly be attributed to poor play from the Rams’ LB core, who did perform surprisingly well against the pass. The linebacker position was a big weakness going into the offseason, and hopefully, Ernest Jones can step up. In the second half.
Jalen Ramsey was all over the field in prime time and showed the reason why his trade price was so high again. The Bears knew they weren’t going to have much success passing his way so he moved around the field instead of shadowing. I think he’ll start as more of a hybrid role when he’s not shadowing a WR. With the loss of John Johnson III and their weakness at linebacker, I’d expect Ramsey to fill the need for a big tackler.
Aaron Donald has somewhat of a quiet night with 1 sack. The Bears were doubling him most of the night, so that’s understandable. The guys around him stepped up and had 2 sacks and 4 TFLs. Morris’ run defense didn’t look as impressive as Staley’s but I’m sure adjustments will be made. The secondary on the other hand was very impressive and had a pick in the end zone against Dalton. They forced the Bears to run the ball instead of passing but didn’t really stop it well. They play a lot of good RBs this year (Johnathan Taylor, Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook) so they’ll need to take care of their run defense soon.
Rest of Season Outlook
Overall, the team showed lots of promise and should compete in a tough NFC West. Stafford’s command over the offense was impressive, and his arm talent shined. Stafford should learn the offense more in the next few weeks and should play better as a result. Some things to watch would be the run game, run defense, and Sony Michel’s usage in the coming weeks. The Rams will travel to Indianapolis next week who just lost to the Seahawks yesterday. There’s a lot of tough teams on their schedule, including an NFC West lineup that all started out 1-0 this week. The path to the Super Bowl in their own stadium will be a tough one, but Stafford and co. seem up to the challenge.