III: Special teams
While the LA Rams did not need a Top-5 performance out of special teams to win in Week 1, that will not be the case throughout the season this season. In fact, it could prove to be a difference maker in the Rams Week 2 contest with the San Francisco 49ers. Let break down how the Rams special teams performed in Week 1.
On the one and only punt from the LA Rams, the coverage unit allowed a return of 18 yards. by Seattle Seahawks punt returner DeeJay Dallas. While a small sample, that is a horrific effort that simply must be better going forward.
Once again, this one is just a small sample. But the LA Rams returned one kickoff for only seven yards. That short return was the second half opening kickoff, as RB Kyren Williams fielded the kickoff on the 16 yard line and could only muster eight yards to spot the football at the 24-yard-line. The better play would simply be to call a fair catch and have the ball spotted at the 25-yard-line.
While LA Rams rookie punter Ethan Evans has the potential to play a significant role for the LA Rams this season, his debut was . . . forgettable. He punted just once in this game from the LA Rams 24-yard-line, and was only able to get 45 yards in his first punt attempt. Adding salt to the wound, the Seahawks returned that punt 18 yards, making the entire play a net punt of just 27 yards.
The LA Rams defense forced the Seattle Seahawks to punt four times, all in the second half. Of the four punts, two were touchbacks, one was spotted at the 21-yard-line after going out of bounds, and one was returned by PR Kyren Williams for seven yards.
Punter Ethan Evans has a pretty full dance card for the LA Rams. Not only is he the designated punter, but he also handles all kickoff duties for the Rams. Evans kicked 5 touchbacks, and one that was fielded and returned for 34 yards. On the final kickoff, Rams kicker Brett Maher kicked a fielded football that was returned 16 yards.
Was that last kickoff simply to give Ethan Evans a rest? Or did Evans get shaken up during the second half, prompting the Rams coaching staff to take precautions by siting him for the last kickoff?
Veteran kicker Brett Maher did not have much success in the first half in Week 1. While he did kick an extra point, he had one field goal blocked,and then missed a 56-yard field goal to close out the first half. But he roared back to relevance in the second half, kicking two more extra points, and scoring on all three of his field goal attempts. He ended the day by scoring 12 points for the LA Rams, allowing them to win by a comfortable 17-point margin.