The Rams feature one of the most exciting offensive units in the NFL this season. At times, it seems impossible to criticize the young team, or it’s coach, because of how dominant they are. However, Sunday’s game left something to desired for fans. The run game is sometimes left behind in favor of the pass, as it was early on Sunday.
The Rams found their way out to an exciting 16-0 lead on Sunday behind two huge forced turnovers. The Rams were able to take one short field into the endzone themselves, and Alec Ogletree had a pick-six. However, the Rams offense stalled after the team got out of the gate so quickly.
The Rams seemed to have stalled because they got away from the run game. Now multiple possessions into the game, Todd Gurley had touched the ball just four times. Jared Goff was not doing a poor job throwing the football, but Arizona was dropping many guys into coverage expecting pass every play. That thick coverage allowed the Cardinals to take away a lot of the Rams passing attack.
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Sean McVay has been criticized at times this season for not using his star running back enough in the run game. In the Rams losses, Gurley gets a number of carries that is far below his average. As soon as the young head coach gets pass happy, Rams twitter lets him know about it by exploding with “Feed Gurley”, and rightfully so.
In the Rams final drive of the second half, peace was restored when Gurley touched the ball on the first three plays. On those plays, Gurley went for over 30 yards and gave the Rams a shot to get points to lengthen their lead. The second half consisted of plenty more Gurley as well, a beautiful run/pass balance. Gurley was able to finish the game with 158 all-purpose yards despite his head coach going away from him at times. That is the type of guy Gurley has been all season, always reliable on every touch.
On Sunday the Rams play the Eagles at home. Philadelphia will be arguably their toughest test of the season and the Rams will have the play great to win. The Eagles bolster a strong defense in multiple phases, and the Rams will need to stay balanced. If McVay goes pass happy on Sunday the Rams will have a very difficult time scoring points. The Rams will try to keep Fletcher Cox honest with success in the passing game. Brandon Graham, one of the best pass rushers in the league, will tee off on Goff off the edge if the Rams can not consistently run the ball. Ultimately, Sean McVay must utilize Gurley well. Luckily for the young head coach he has some momentum from the end of the Arizona game.
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