Week 6: Special Teams Wins Championships

I was scared of the Jacksonville Jagwahs. They’re a team on the rise, just like us, but where we do it on offense (for the most part) , they do it on defense. My mentality with all sports is that defense will always win championships.

Today, the special teams won for us…again.

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  • Before I could even settle down at home and take my clothes off, 14 points were put up during the first minute of play. I missed Pharoh Cooper‘s big kick return for a TD. That’s another big return from him, he had a big one against the Cowboys that helped us win.
  • On the flip side, I missed Leonard Fournette‘s big TD run soon after. It’s no surprise this happened. Although the last 6 quarters of Rams defense has been decent, we’ve had a LOT of trouble stopping the run this season. I honestly felt that Fournette was gonna break the rushing record today. He had 100 yards before halfway thru the first quarter…yikes.
  • The Rams theme this season is “…but we’re still in the game.” Despite all our mistakes this year, we’ve always found a way to keep ourselves in the game. Today, despite an awful first quarter of defense, we found ourselves up 10 at the half.
  • Special teams played a big part, of course. We had the Pharoh TD to start, then we had a huge punt block for a TD, then Hekker did his thang, and then a long 56 yard kick from Legatron.
  • And that would be it. Our defense clamped up after the first quarter, with some help of a pretty lackluster Jagwahs offense led by Blake “I’m Gonna Throw an INT” Bortles. For our offense, we were able to string a few good drives to get some points, including a key drive into the redzone where we scored a much needed touchdown. Plus, we only had one turnover today, which was mainly due to the Jagwahs’ defender making a great play to strip Woods.
  • So while it was our special teams that came up big, it was the whole team coming thru that gave us a W, which is pretty damn satisfying for Rams fans.

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  • Robert Woods is continuing to be very solid for us. He has great hands. He did cough up a fumble, which wasn’t his fault, and missed an open pass for a long 3rd down conversion, but it seems like Woods is Goff’s #1 guy.
  • Speaking of Jared Goff, he wasn’t super spectacular today. He made the right throws and avoided turning the ball over, but a lot of missed deep balls was very worrisome. He failed to connect with Sammy Watkins a couple times, which I hope he can figure out. It was nice to see Goff air it out though.
  • Todd Gurley was solid today, still running strong.
  • Defensively, I was proud that the defense got it together after the first quarter. But man, we gotta learn how to tackle.

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What a solid win today. I’m still getting used to this new competent football team that has a chance to win every week. It’s truly bizarre…I didn’t think we’d beat this Jagwahs defense, but we came through. Crazy…

The Rams are 4-2 for the first time since 2006. We’re on top of the NFC West. We’re young as hell, well not Wade Phillips. London game next week. GO RAMS!

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Week 5: We Should’ve Won This Game.

If you do the math, the Rams left 13 points on the board today. Yea that’s assuming our kicker, who went 7-7 last week, would make two easy FG’s. That’s assuming our star running back and QB don’t turn it over in the redzone.

We should’ve beat Seattle today, but we didn’t. We gave up the ball five times, one was luckily canceled out by an amazing INT, so I guess…4 turnovers??? Yeah…FOUR TURNOVERS TODAY.

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  • What sucks is that our defense was fairly Mobby Squaddy today. They were excellent in stopping the big play and stopping the run. We got some huge INT’s from Cody Davis and John Johnson. Most importantly, we only gave up 16 points, which is winnable for ANY team…even the Browns.
  • But we just kept…. fucking ….up.
  • The first mistake was Gurley’s fumble for a touchback. Pretty frustrating. Gurley always stretches for the TD, and I’m not gonna blame him for that, but you gotta be more careful. And it’s the Seahawks too, they got defenders that are smart and will knock the ball when you stretch, they’ve done it before. So instead of at least 3 points (I’ll assume 7 cuz it’s McVay era), we get 0.
  • The next was Legatron’s FG miss. It was a chip shot. He’s had these moments before, but so far this season, Zuerlein’s been clutch. That’s 3 points, so that’s 10 now.
  • The next was the WORST. On a simple screen play, Goff tosses the ball a bit too high (we’ll get back to this) and Gurley can’t come up with it…in a wacky sequence, it lands in the hands of a Seahawks defender for an INT. I’m assuming we get at least a FG that drive…so that’s 13 points.
  • Do the math, 10+13=23. 23>16

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  • Todd Gurley was stuffed today. Is he honestly gonna get 200 total yards every game?? No. Seahawks aren’t that dumb.
  • Jared Goff didn’t look too bad. I was pleased that he threw the ball deep a few times today. Overthrowing his targets by a little at times and actually drilling WR’s within reach a few times. I was really pleased that Jared tucked the ball in and ran FORWARD, even got a first down. He often falls back when under pressure but today he stepped up. There’s still some questionable passes that he throws, but he’s still very young.
  • Goff had attempt #3 at a clutch drive today. If I am properly recalling, his previous 2 were against Miami in his debut (lost) and against the Redskins this season (first play INT). He hasn’t really had much success, which led me to question if Goff is clutch.
  • Even though we came up short and lost again, I am PLEASED with Goff’s clutch time performance today. Goff definitely looked clutch. He started off with an absolute dagger through the Seahawks secondary to Higbee. Found Woods to get in the redzone (I think woods). Plus, he did it all without any timeouts. He was calm and composed, which was very encouraging.
  • Cooper Kupp would drop the potential game winning pass, and that killed me. I love Kupp, and he was doing ok today and even made a spectacular grab earlier. The pass by Goff was a bit high, but it was Kuppable.
  • Robert Woods is a solid WR. Great catches today for Woods. I trust him now. Tyler Higbee looked great today. Pharoh Cooper did his thing too. However, Sammy Watkins could not connect with Goff today.
  • AND Tavon Austin….the fact that he got taken out of punt return duties is troubling. That’s one of his biggest abilities. Luckily, his punt fumble was canceled out by an INT from our rookie. Despite all that, Tavon continues to be a threat offensively, especially on jet sweep fakes. We got a big Kupp grab off a fake today. He’s still dangerous, but we need him to get it together. He’s still Tay awesome and it showed with his TD today.
  • Our offensive line was decent for the most part, but a couple lapses resulted in two turnovers, including one where Andrew Whitworth got beat pretty badly on a one on one edge rush, but that was more on the Seahawks’ Clark dude than anything.

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Though we lost today, this magical Rams season continues. Every game this season was winnable. For a young team like ours, this is good to hear. However, if we keep fucking up like today and Washington, and don’t improve our mistakes…we got an issue. Would Jeff Fisher win this game?? I’m still happy we have McVay.

WEEK 4: WE ARE FOR REALLY REAL

WE FUCKING WON

HOW THE FUCK DID WE WIN???

I was just happy that we were competitive…that was it! That’s literally all I wanted from today. That’s all I want from this season.

By halftime, I was ready to dig a grave for the Mob Squad.

…we WON.

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  • I’ve had my skepticism after the first 3 weeks. As much as I did enjoy our success so far this season, I knew that we barely escaped a bad Niners squad, we were honorable (but lost) against the Skins, and beat a pretty awful Colts squad. This team showed bright spots, but I didn’t want to say that we were legit that soon. A good performance against the Cowboys today would show that we were decent or at least not the Same Old Sorry Ass Rams. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a win. All I wanted was a good effort today against a “good team” in the Cowboys, just like the Redskins game before.
  • First half was absolutely awful. Our defense, specifically our rush defense, was just dreadful. The Cowboys scored on every possession. We couldn’t stop Zeke. We couldn’t stop Dak. We couldn’t stop Dez Bryant. We gave up 100+ yds rushing in the first half. Pathetic.
  • …BUT WE WERE ONLY DOWN BY 8 AT THE HALF.
  • Our offense wasn’t too bad in the first half, but since we couldn’t stop Dallas, we weren’t able to have much time on the field. But we were lucky to grab some points while we did have the ball. We got lucky on a punt fumble by the Cowboys that gave us points. We got a huge return by Pharoh Cooper later that led to points. And we still had enough time to get a last second field goal to make the score 24-16 at the half.
  • So the game was in reach, but with our defense playing as bad as they were, that 8 point lead looked like an 80 point lead.
  • Then the 2nd half happened…and it couldn’t have started out worse. We went 3 and out.
  • But something happened to our defense and the Cowboys’ offense at the half. It’s like we switched powers. I want to believe that our defense woke up, rather than the Cowboys fell asleep. We finally got some good stops and made them punt the ball.
  • And on offense we kept grinding and grinding for points, until Todd Gurley broke out a huge 50 yard catch for a TD to take the lead!
  • Then we kept grinding and grinding. Getting field goals from Greg Zuerlein.
  • The Cowboys did grab a TD in the 4th quarter, which made me extremely worried. Again, the abused Rams fan in me began to cycle through all the ways we could possibly lose this game. Goff INT? Gurley fumble?? I ran through it all.
  • But for fucks sake dude…we answered back. We GRINDED through again. Gurley ran his ass off…like you can see the hunger in his eyes. We got the field goal, and then it was…uh-oh…it was D time. Will our D stop Dak and Zeke???
  • THEY DID. WE GRINDED. WE WON.

This is a monumental day for us Rams fans. If you started following this team this year, you’re happy…this is great…but if you’ve been watching Rams “football” for the past decade like I am, this win is unbelievable. This McBae era of football is for really real. This team is legit.

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  • Oh yeah, the players. Jared Goff, again, outstanding. No turnovers today, made great decisions all day. Slung the ball all day. He did have a hiccup in the 4th where he threw into triple coverage for some reason, but everything else was fine. He was a leader today and definitely is our franchise QB.
  • Todd GURLEY. He almost had a 100+ rush 100+ receiving day (would’ve been the first since Sjax). He’s running with so much passion this season. He’s all in. I’m really happy that he’s involved in our passing game a lot more this season. That’s all I wanted.
  • Tavon Austin is not putting up crazy numbers, but his influence is still there. I read a stat that Gurley runs better when we fake to Austin on a sweep. It’s the stuff not on the stat sheet that Tavon does. On the Gurley TD pass play, it was another fake to Tavon that made the LB’s crash inside and leave Gurley wide open in the seams. I just had to note that.
  • Greg Zuerlein. Legatron was composed today and nailed every field goal for us. Special teams in general was big again, from the turnover in the first half to Johnny Hekker continuing to be the best punter in the league to Pharoh Cooper‘s big return.
  • Cooper Kupp continues to not look like a rookie.
  • I can’t be too positive. We shouldn’t have to make our offense work for this. We almost lost this game because of an awful first half on defense. That’s inexcusable and a main point of concern. I’m glad the defense stepped up in the 2nd half though. It is a 60 minute grind, and the defense did pull through and made up for that first half.
  • Our receivers weren’t as good as last week against the Niners. Sammy Watkins was pretty much absent for most of the game, but made a HUGE catch late to keep our drive going. Robert Woods was there sorta. Everett and Higbee coulda done better. There was miscommunication out there.

Again, I’m just happy that we have a culture where we grind out games. The fact that we are winning these games (or coming close to winning), is a great sign for Rams fans. Huge win today.

About NFL Protests

I really like to keep politics away from this blog. However, what has transpired this weekend has left me proud to be an NFL and NBA fan.

It all started in Alabama, home of the nation’s top College Football team. I don’t know how it got there, but the President brought up NFL players kneeling for the Anthem, saying that they should be fired. Well, it was worse, he actually said to “get that son of a bitch off the field.” Yeah, our President.

Then it brewed further with the Warriors refusing to go to the White House, which of course prompted our President to respond on Twitter. It could’ve stopped there, but LeBron James, of all people, went on Twitter and called our President a bum. Yup. That also happened.

That led to today, where the largest Anthem protest took place in the NFL. I mean wow, there were entire teams that didn’t even come out for the anthem, that’s insane. I thought NFL players were scared of the consequences, but they were bold and strong today. I’m very proud.

This whole Trump/sports thing isn’t some random thing that happened. Sports and politics have been mixed more than ever during Trump’s presidency. Just a few weeks ago (I think), ESPN anchor Jemele Hill caught some heat for calling Trump a “White Supremacist” on Twitter. A lot more sports personalities are coming out against Trump.

So what do I think of it all??

Is sports an escape from politics??? Should sports people stick to sports????

For me, sports is an escape. I’ve used sports as a way to escape my own troubles. I go to sports games and sit with fans, who I don’t know personally, to enjoy the sports that I love. That’s the beauty of it. I can turn around and high five somebody I never met in my life. We can share that moment for the rest of our lives.

We don’t know our stances on politics. Some of them may be racist or assholes, but here we are, in Giants gear rooting for the Giants or at the Kings game or Warriors game cheering on the team. I literally went to the Rams game last season and the guy next to me said something along the lines of: “I hope they ain’t kneeling.” I put that aside, and cheered with him as our Fisher-era Rams barely beat the Seahawks in LA. I understand the idea of it being an escape and the idea of it being strictly entertainment.

I definitely feel something when an important issue pops up when I watch sports. It could be anything, from gender equality to racism. My body shifts from a more relaxed state to a more concerned state. It’s just me trying to be more serious, cuz it’s a serious issue. Some of the messages are very powerful like that Budweiser ad during the Super Bowl about immigrants, while some can be a bit cringy like Amy Schumer’s beer ads on equality. But the point is, is that it always shifts the tone from fun to serious. For me, I’m cool with it, BUT only because I agree.

It’s easy to say politics should remain in sports, when you agree with everything being said. If anchors like Curt Schilling and those guys from Fox Sports were more prominent in mainstream sports, I probably wouldn’t be able to watch. I would boycott. So I’m trying to put myself in the position of the “other side” and imagining them hearing stuff they hate on a daily basis, as well as their President being criticized. Their escape has now become a constant barrage of attacks aimed at them. I gotta say, it sounds like it sucks.

So I’m confused about that right now. However, the big difference is that we’re dealing with something wayyy different. I mean we’re dealing with actual Neo-Nazi’s and White Supremacists. When Jemele Hill mentioned that Trump is a White Supremacist, I mean…is she lying??? It’s not like saying Obama wasn’t born in America.

For me, I think Roger Goodell and all the NFL elites gotta take more responsibility. We don’t have many chances to bring people from conflicting backgrounds together. I see it every day. You see these fans, mostly white, in the stands rooting for African Americans and Hispanics (not much Asian athletes yet), but these same people are the ones that are telling these men to go back to their countries and shouting racial slurs. It’s truly bizarre. It made Fantasy Football really off-putting to me, especially being a Todd Gurley fan during last season.

I understand that some of Colin Kaepernick’s stances are really out there. I don’t agree with all of what he says, I don’t think all cops are pigs as Colin suggested with his socks. But for guys like Malcolm Jenkins, that’s a cause that you gotta support. The NFL gotta try and get fans to understand these issues.

Just look at what happened to Pewdiepie. You got people saying it’s ok because it’s “gaming culture,” but if he were to speak out about it and truly try to attack the issue of offensive language in gaming, he could make a difference even if it isn’t everybody. Roger Goodell can be that guy. If he can speak out and support all of the players kneeling and ACTUALLY talk about the issues, then we could get fans to understand. You have to talk about it.

So yeah, I wrote this at 1 AM on Sunday Night after an awesome Paramore show. That’s my thoughts right now. If anybody reads this with comments, feel free to discuss.

Week 3: Droppin’ 40 on the 49ers (Revenge Game)

Continuing with the theme of comparing the McVay era Rams to the Fisher era Rams, we scored 41 points this time compared to Fisher’s absymal 0 point showing in our season opener last year. Yup, remember that? The game that I called the “Worst Performance I’ve Ever Seen in My Life.”

It’s amazing, week by week we continue to see a completely new and improved squad.

I was only able to watch the first quarter and a lil bit here and there (because F Thursday Night Football), but for the most part I can say we did well. We’re not perfect, yet.

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  • We gave up 39 points.
  • Our defense is still not great. We didn’t give up a bazillion yards rushing this week at least. But I’m disappointed in our pass defense. We let Brian Hoyer throw all over us and almost lead a comeback in the end.
  • As somebody who watched the Mob Squad defense lead us to victory in previous seasons and our lackluster offense lead us to defeat, it’s shocking to see this complete 180. This time the defense is letting us down. Wade Phillips needs to figure something out ASAP cuz we’re not gonna get away with this.
  • But enough about that…our OFFENSE.
  • Jared Goff‘s Bay Area homecoming went pretty well. He looked comfortable while rocking his Cal colors. Again, he’s flourishing under McVay’s system and he seems to get more and more comfortable every game.
  • The elite throws were there today. A deep, accurate ball on the run. A deep ball to Watkins. Running through his progression to get the ball to the correct receiver. Goff is looking great. I do think he needs a better internal clock to remind him that he doesn’t have exactly all day to throw the ball. But another solid game from our QB.
  • The biggest takeaway from this game has to be our WR’s: Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. For the first time in a long time, we looked like we had a tandem. I’ve been asking for reliable WRs for Goff, and we had them tonight. Watkins had 2 TD’s, with one being an impressive run after the catch. Then I think he caught an impressive deep ball. Woods made up for last week with some impressive grabs in this game. Again, I’m just happy we have guys that can catch a ball.
  • One stat floating around this week is that Jared Goff is one of the best QB’s throwing the deep ball. A big reason why is because we have guys that can run after the catch. We saw that tonight again. We got guys that can create.
  • THEN there’s Todd Gurley who’s continuing to be amazing this season. He’s doing it all from rushing to receiving. He’s running with so much confidence and swagger, I got a feeling he’s back. The one play that shows he’s back is when he cuts to the outside and outruns defenders to the sidelines. It’s a huge difference from Todd running straight into a pile of defenders last season.
  • Lastly, Aaron Donald ended the game on a sack, which is lightyears better than his ejection in our meeting last season.

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Overall, it’s nice to see that we have SOMETHING on offense. I not only believe in McVay’s system, but I’m believing in Goff as our future. I’m a bit worried defensively. If we don’t pay Aaron Donald, who do we have???

Week 2: I’m Proud

For me, this season is just figuring out if McVay is the answer. Even though we lost, I’m proud to say that we’re heading in the right direction.

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  • This game couldn’t have started out any worse. Going down early, and then after falling behind 0-10, a Gurley fumble on the first play.
  • But it’s the McBae era, and we answered right back with a beautiful drive sparked by a spectacular play by Jared Goff and Everett. It looked all bad. Jared ran out of time and the pocket began collapsing. It was Fisher era all over again. We were going to go three and out.
  • But Goff broke outside and found a wide open Everett for a huge gain. Honestly, I was expecting the worst, but to see our young QB extend the play and our rookie TE finding an open lane was encouraging.
  • After that, the momentum swung to us. But our defense….our damn defense didn’t play well at all today. The huge run TD before the half was the killer, among other things that I’ll get into later.
  • Our run defense was absolutely awful today. We’re not gonna win if we can’t stop the run. Passing defense wasn’t too awful, but wow the run couldn’t be stopped today. Just piss poor.
  • Yet we somehow continued to make it a game. One big drive featuring Todd Gurley helped spark a comeback (yes, a comeback). I’ve been hoping for Gurley to get involved in the passing game, and he definitely was today. But on top of that, Gurley is starting to run with more confidence again. Yeah the blocking’s better, but Todd’s more aggressive attacking the holes, like Benny Cunningham did last year despite how awful we were. It was nice to see. Then we got Jumpman Gurley back again. He hurdled two dudes, including one where he jumped over a defender and stretched out for a TD. He looked like rookie year Gurley today. He just looked hungry.
  • Jared Goff looked pretty good today. Made some tight passes, but missed a few. Made some good decisions. He’s making pre snap adjustments. He’s going thru his reads. It really helps when Gurley’s involved in the pass game. But we still don’t have a vertical game.
  • Of course, the day would end because of Goff’s weakness…he stares down receivers. It was an easy pick off, and it pissed me off because it ruined the kinda proud feeling i was already having, but i’m still proud either way. Hopefully today will get Goff to finally think about the staring down issue. I’m dying to know if Jared Goff is clutch. I know that he is capable of being a serviceable QB in the NFL, but I need to know if he’s clutch. I still have faith in Goff.
  • There was a Hekker fake punt today, which was incredible. You actually saw coach Fassel call that play just before it happened.
  • Aaron Donald came back and he’s still dominant. Still ferocious.
  • There’s still some stupid penalties that are killing us.

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But yeah, you’re not going to win games if you don’t play defense and if you shoot yourself in the foot. However, we’re getting there. I’m still a bit sour, but I’m seeing something beginning to take form. Today, we saw a team that fell behind a couple times, and we came back twice. Plus, we had a chance to actually win in the end. It’s just the silly mistakes we gotta work on.

It’s clear that the Jeff Fisher days our long gone…thank goodness. On to Thursday..

Week 1: TRUUUUUU and COOOOOOOP

Hello, and welcome to the McVay era.

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  • Kinda knew that today would be an easy W, especially with Andrew Luck being out, but being a Rams fan makes you cautious, especially after Jeff Fisher, Spags, and Linehan. Yet here I am, typing this while up 27-3 at the half. It’s a new day…
  • I’m trying to get used to this new sense of confidence. I felt abused after the Fisher era. Somehow, I expect every ball to be dropped. I expect every big play to be called back by a holding penalty. Or every throw to be picked off.
  • Suddenly, we’re not going three and out. We’re converting 3rd downs. We’re scoring touchdowns. We look competent. I already talked about this a couple weeks ago during the preseason, but to see us do it in Week 1 is a huge confidence booster for everyone, especially when you remember how horrific last season’s start was.
  • Jared Goff looks great, honestly. He made some crazy throws today, from seam passes that cut through the defense to touch passes along the sidelines. He looks confident and unrattled, almost like a veteran despite being 22 yrs old and in his 2nd year.
  • Cooper Kupp is going to be that dude. Had a crazy 1 handed catch today and his first TD. I pray he stays healthy.
  • Gurley is running with more confidence. His first TD of the season required him to be aggressive and attack the hole, and he did that and pushed it in for the TD. There was also more involvement in the passing game, including a well drawn play action screen pass that resulted in TG running in the open field with 3 blockers ahead of him.
  • As long as we block, I have no concerns with this offense. I trust Goff, Gurley, and our receivers.
  • There was no Aaron Donald, but other players stepped up, Trumaine Johnson to be specific. A huge pick 6 to open it up and then a strip fumble later. Robert Quinn showed flashes of his older self as well. Joyner had a crazy deflection on a deep pass.
  • Special teams was typical, very elite. Legatron hit an easy 50 yarder while Johnny Hekker looks like he hasn’t lost a step.
  • We’re not perfect. I was a bit disappointed at our O-line penalties. We could also open up our offense a bit more. We’re still very conservative. Defense could be a bit tougher, but we still have the talent.
  • But we showed promise. That’s what matters. We had great drives that weren’t because of lucky plays. They were well drawn out and executed, which is a vast improvement from last year’s high school offense. Defensively we made some big plays. And lastly, special teams was elite like always.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America

That’s a great start. I’m very proud. It’s McVay’s first win, Goff’s first win. It feels different. I’m trying not to get too comfortable, but as of right now I’m a very happy Rams fan.