The LA Rams offensive line passed the first test. Now the team must face a dangerous Philadelphia defensive front
The LA Rams offensive line needed a good season opener to silence their loudest critics of the offseason. Was it enough? Perhaps, perhaps not. But the performance against what appears to be one of the more talented assemblies of defensive front talent was unmistakable. The Rams were able to run the ball, and the Rams were able to pass the ball.
The game had a few surprises. The Rams running game went 40 carries for 153 yards, while the Dallas Cowboys rushed 27 times for 136 yards. The Rams scored twice on the ground, while the Cowboys rushed for just one touchdown.
Rams questions are answered
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the debut was that the LA Rams seemed to answer some of their questions about their offensive line. Can the Rams offensive line open holes in the running game? Can the Rams protect Jared Goff? Will the Rams offense get back on track?
The answers to all three questions are yes, yes, and Yes. While it is still early in the season, the Rams had a difficult draw in the opener against a fresh Cowboys defensive line. The result was very impressive.
Standout PFF grades from @RamsNFL Week One win:
Whitworth – 95.2 (his highest since 2010!)
Donald – 91.7
Blythe – 81.9
Corbett – 80.3
— J.B. Long (@JB_Long) September 14, 2020
While the two biggest question marks for the offensive line, right tackle Rob Havenstein and left guard Joseph Noteboom, did not put on a stand out performance for the Rams, that’s okay. The Rams offensive line first and foremost must pass the optics test. In the Rams’ first game, it did, with flying colors.
Well schemed offense
As we learned in a very well written analysis by our very own John Vogel, the LA Rams offensive game plan entered the game prepared for a fast pass rush and used that Cowboys pinning-their-ears-back to their advantage. The Rams did not ask more of the offensive line than it was able to do. And yet, by doing so, the Rams offense was very efficient in a game where rust was always a risk.
The Cowboys did eventually tap their blitz packages to try putting more pressure on Goff, and it was effective at times. But in the end, the Rams did enough to win a very important game and did so in commanding fashion.
Next up – Philadelphia
The 1-0 LA Rams must now take their newly found confidence on the road to face the 0-1 Philadelphia Eagles. After facing a gifted Cowboys front four, the Rams offensive line must now face an even tougher Philadelphia Eagles defensive line. While the starters may be questionable for game two, the group of Derek Barnett, Jason Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham is likely one of the toughest matchups for the Rams this season if healthy.
if you followed the Eagles loss to the Washington Football team, you know the story was about eight sacks given up by the Eagles offensive line, and two interceptions thrown by quarterback Carson Wentz.
The Eagles front-four may be better than that of Dallas
What you may not have tracked is that the Eagles had three quarterback sacks of their own, 2.5 of which came from their defensive line. Combine that with the seven rushes Haskins made by scrambling from the pocket, and the picture comes into focus. The Eagles front four can put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.
Not only that, but Washington was only able to run for 80 yards on the day. That includes Haskins 17 yards due to scrambles. While the final score was Washington 27 Philadelphia 17, it was Washington’s 27 point run of unanswered points that sealed their victory. Some are already patting themselves on the back claiming the offensive line is back. I think the signs are promising indeed. But the Rams face a much tougher assignment on the road facing a tremendous Eagles defensive line desperate for a win.
We’ll touch base again on this one. A great appetizer. But week two is where the LA Rams offensive line is served the main course.