Studs and duds from Rams' narrow win over Falcons

Studs and duds from Rams' narrow win over Falcons

Published September 19, 2022
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The Los Angeles Rams beat the Atlanta Falcons by a mere four points on Sunday in a game that felt like they should’ve won by at least two touchdowns. They held Atlanta to 261 total yards, got off the field defensively 70% of the time on third down and only committed three penalties.

Yet, they still only won by four points after nearly blowing a 28-3 lead in the second half.

All that matters is the Rams are 1-1 after two weeks, beating the Falcons 31-27 in Week 2 – in large part thanks to Cooper Kupp, the offensive line and a clutch play by Jalen Ramsey.

Have a day, rookie. Durant stepped in for the injured Troy Hill in the second quarter and quickly had an impact in the secondary. He picked off Marcus Mariota on a dropped pass by Cordarrelle Patterson, returning it 52 yards to set up the Rams’ third touchdown.

.@KDTrey5 do you like what you see????

🦈 @One4_era | 📺 @NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/62ybAZIkbo

— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 18, 2022

The in the second half, Durant came through again with a big play on defense. He sacked Mariota on a perfect blitz from the slot. He was active in Week 1 but didn’t play a snap, so this is his first NFL action. Not a bad debut for the rookie.

Kupp was quiet on the first two drives of the game, not seeing a single pass thrown his way. Then he predictably came alive with a Cooper Kupp-like performance. He finished with 11 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns, another excellent showing from the Rams’ No. 1 receiver.

He hasn’t missed a step from last year’s historic campaign and there’s no reason to believe he can’t keep it up for another season.

Dropped it right in to the Kupp.

🔟 @CooperKupp | 📺 @NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/icGdSrLGSx

— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 18, 2022

Higbee was a popular target for Stafford in this one. He caught seven passes for 71 yards, dodging defenders to pick up valuable yards after the catch. As usual, he was reliable as a blocker, too, which is an underrated part of his game.

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That’s two weeks in a row he’s seen a ton of action as a receiver in the Rams offense.

Akers seems to be out of Sean McVay’s doghouse. He carried it just three times in Week 1, but he got 17 touches in this win over the Falcons, totaling 62 yards. He showed pretty good burst out of the backfield and made a couple of nice moves to make defenders miss, highlighted by his sidestep after Mykal Walker had a free shot on him in the hole.

Henderson only got 10 touches, all carries, and averaged a healthy 4.7 yards per carry with one touchdown. The tandem rushed for 91 yards on 25 carries, a much better day than the one they had in Week 1.

Ernest Jones just keeps showing up. He chased down Mariota on a scramble to the outside and had 12 tackles, with one of those going for a loss. He’s the faster linebacker between him and Bobby Wagner, but the combination of the two has really helped the middle of the Rams defense.

He’s going to be a big part of the defense all season, just as everyone expected him to be in Year 2.

Shelton almost looks better at center than he does at right guard, not that the Rams can make that change permanently. He played very well in place of Brian Allen, clearing big running lanes in the middle. And he was going up against Grady Jarrett in pass protection, too, which isn’t an easy matchup.

It’s pretty clear the Rams are going to be fine at center until Allen returns. Now it’s about figuring out the right guard spot with Tremayne Anchrum Jr. going down.

Long hasn’t gotten off to a very good start this season, and it might cost him his spot in the lineup if Durant keeps playing the way he did. He was called for pass interference against Kyle Pitts, which cost the Rams 36 yards. He also missed a tackle on Cordarrelle Patterson’s 10-yard run earlier in the game.

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It’s not often Donald is considered a dud, but he didn’t have his name called very much in this game. He finished with 2 tackles, no sacks and didn’t generate much pressure like he usually does. The Rams as a team didn’t do a lot to pressure Mariota, with two of their sacks coming from Bobby Wagner and Durant on blitzes.

He did come through when the Rams needed him most, pressuring Mariota into the interception by Jalen Ramsey to seal the game.

Whether it was Riley Dixon taking too long to punt the ball or a miscommunication by the protection unit, the punting group nearly cost the Rams the game by allowing a kick to get blocked and returned for a touchdown.

That was Dixon’s only punt of the afternoon, but the return unit wasn’t very good either. Brandon Powell had minimal space and had just one kickoff return for 15 yards, with a punt return that lost 1 yard.

There was some good and some bad from Ramsey and Stafford on Sunday. Let’s start with Ramsey, who was called for pass interference after getting beat deep and also appeared to blow his assignment on Olamide Zaccheaus’ touchdown, leaving him wide open. However, he made up for it by picking off Mariota to seal the win.

Stafford made some outstanding throws, including his first touchdown pass to Kupp and another that gained 20 yards to No. 10. He also threw two more interceptions and almost had a third in the end zone when the Rams were on the 1-yard line.

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