The Rams traveled to Minnesota to beat the Vikings 30-23 in yet another turnover filled game. The defense and special teams had a good day, while the offense struggled a bit. That being said, let’s break down the good, the bad, and the meh of the playoff clinching win for the Rams.
Jalen Ramsey locked down yet another #1 WR and had a great game all around. Justin Jefferson has been one of the NFL’s best this year, and he barely made an impact when covered by Ramsey. This was one of Ramsey’s best showings all season as he continued another great season with the Rams.
Michel has earned McVay’s trust and for good reason. Since taking over the backfield, he’s averaged 105.7 yards per game and 4.75 yards per carry. His tough downhill running style has brought a different dimension to the offense, and he’s had success with it. With Akers now on the active roster, there may be no need for him to finish out the season as Michel has been playing great.
This section was originally meant for Aaron Donald, but the defense as a whole deserves recognition. Donald was a monster on Sunday, whether he was making TFL’s in the backfield or pressuring Cousins. Leonard Floyd was also able to put some pressure on Cousins. He pressured Cousins out of the pocket and forced a throwaway.
Rookie standout Ernest Jones was taken out early in the game with an injury, and Travin Howard and Troy Reeder filled in nicely. Howard hasn’t seen much action in his short career, but made an immediate impact with a pick. Reeder made six tackles, including one for a loss and also broke up a pass. For once, it seemed as if LA’s linebacker play was more help than hindrance.
After many lackluster performances in the beginning of the year, the special teams unit has really found its stride. Matt Gay had another perfect kicking day and proved yet again why he’s pro bowl worthy. Brandon Powell made the best special teams play this year with an explosive punt return touchdown that helped the Rams stay ahead. Powell has had some explosive kick returns this year and has ended the search for a returner. A question that needs to be asker is what’s Tutu Atwell’s role when he returns to the team? Powell has filled the returner void and Odell Beckham Jr./Van Jefferson has filled the role on offense.
With Ramsey covering Jefferson, it was Williams who was responsible for Thielen/Osborn and he didn’t exactly impress. Most of the Vikings big passing plays seemed to be coming from Williams in coverage. The only standout game he’s had this year was with Ramsey out against Arizona, but otherwise has played poorly. At this rate, I don’t see him getting resigned this offseason.
The offense had its good and bad moments, but pushed through for an ugly win. Stafford has been inconsistent the past couple of weeks and was turnover heavy in this game. The concerning part about these turnovers is that they follow the trend of losses where they were playing from a deficit due to Stafford’s inability to take care of the ball. Although Stafford has been inconsistent at times, you have to admit that there’s things that the offense is capable of now that they weren’t before with Goff. When the offense is clicking, the Rams are capable of beating any team, but the turnovers limit them.
Week 17 preview
Overall this was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. The defense stepped up when the offense struggled at times, and there were some surprising performances from players. The Rams will now travel to face the Ravens in the extra game added this year. As of writing this article, Lamar Jackson is still listed as out, but even if he’s out Tyler Huntley filled in well. Even though the Ravens are an injury riddled team, they’ve got lots of good pieces on both sides of the ball and shouldn’t be overlooked. The Ravens currently have given up the most passing yards per game in the NFL, so that’s something Stafford and co. should attack.