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Rams in Clubhouse: "Ready for The Back 9"

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by Florida_Ram, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. Florida_Ram

    Pro Bowler
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    Jun 18, 2016
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    2017 LA Rams prepare for "The Back 9"

    The Los Angeles Rams rolled into their bye week after sinking a "hole in one" when they shut out the Arizona Cardinals 38-0 in London. They also sent a message to a few more of their doubters in the NFL hierarchy. They now begin their quest to finish strong on the back 9 of their regular season schedule.

    After winning 5 of their first 7 games, these 2017 Rams have shown resilience, character, unity and seem to have taken on the personality of their new coaching staff. You can see it with this years team by their confidence, swagger and the composure they've displayed during periods of adversity in many of their games prior to the bye week.

    Led by first year head coach "offensive magician" Sean McVay and the ageless "defensive wizard" Wade Phillips, the personnel on this roster has transitioned well to the new leadership and their coaching philosophies. Added to McVay and Phillips is long time special teams guru John "Bones" Fassel and this group together is a compelling trifecta of NFL coaches.

    There are other solid pieces to the coaching staff that makes this team click. Offensive line coach Aron Kromer, offensive coordinator Matt LeFleur and QB coach Greg Olson. Even under the radar additions like Aubrey Pleasant and Ejiro Evero handling the secondary along with various other competent assistants completes a very strong 2017 coaching staff. Not to be overlooked strength and conditioning coach Ted Rath and athletic trainer Reggie Scott and the importance that they've been to the team

    This feisty and talented young Rams team has its share of flaws and the NFL critics along with many of their fans will continue to point them out right up until the last game of the season. Regardless of the critique that will follow the Rams like it does with every team in the league, this team has taken a big step up in pedigree over their first seven games and has made this one of the most enjoyable seasons to witness for us fans giving us hope for making a playoff run.

    Even with their flaws and seven games of film tallied up for the next nine teams of opposition to review, unless this Rams team folds under pressure like a beach chair on the white sands of a Florida beach, there isn't a lot of evidence to make a strong case that they will simply stumble and eventually fade from playoff contention.

    This Rams team has taken their fans on a wild joy ride and they've bought into HC Sean McVay's vision and program. Even the new slogans McVay and his staff chose at the beginning of training camp such as, "We Not Me" and the Rams post game unity chant in the locker room, "Family on Three".."1-2-3 Family!" has permeated this roster of players with a belief in themselves and a newfound winning culture.

    These 2017 Rams team have arguably been one of the top three most entertaining and fun teams in the NFL to watch this season.

    We all know there are still nine games left that will determine the fate of McVay's Rams and what stands in front of them, isn't a bunch of easy Par five wide open clear fairways for this team to simply play it safe and conservative.

    Like the immense pressure on a pro golfer high up the leader board facing the back 9 holes in the final round of a PGA championship, this Rams team will need to show they can remain poised when the pressure mounts and adversity punches them in the gut. They will have to battle their way out of any sand traps, bunkers and thick rough on their quest to return to the NFL's 12 team playoff tournament.

    The final nine games left on the Rams schedule will match them up against some heavy weight opponents that are fighting for their own right to earn a playoff berth. The importance of winning or losing any of these remaining games just adds more anxiety, drama and excitement leading up to the next game on the schedule. Each victory or loss will be magnified ten fold with very little room for McVay's Rams to bogie away any winnable games.

    With the bye week now behind them, each passing game will add an extra abundance of butterflies, suspense and adrenaline for Rams fans around all around the world. Especially the faithful fans that have stuck with this team year after year and remained loyal to the team with curled horns on their helmet. All those consecutive agonizing seasons before this year have made this one an unexpected surreal experience that we can all appreciate on the highest level in the world of pro football.

    If these 2017 Rams are as good as several of us fans believe, they will stand their ground and continue their rise to the top of the leader board. Should they persevere and continue the momentum that they had built up heading to their bye week, like a battling ram they will smash their way through most of the nine obstacles in front of them. If this is indeed their time they will stay the course and become one of the final 12 contestants invited to the NFL's annual post season party.

    The Rams players should be ultra focused at the highest level, let alone well rested for the challenges that stand in front of them on the back nine of their schedule. They ended the bye week as one of the most healthy teams in the NFL and there is no excuse or sand trap game "cliche" for them not to be ready for anything the Giants bring to the table this coming Sunday in New York.

    The Rams are about to take us on a journey that none of us fans or NFL pundits can guarantee what the eventual outcome will be. Like many of you, I'm already feeling the anxiousness and excitement as our team gets ready to tee off on this nine game journey. Enough of the golf metaphors, it's time for some Rams football again and I'm ready to enjoy each game one at a time with all of you great fans part of the amazing Rams family.



    The entertaining and surprising 2017 Los Angeles Rams are 5-2 after their first seven games and there are no clever reasons or bogus excuses from fans or NFL experts that can prove they should have a better or worse record.

    Like the great "hall of fame" coach Bill Parcells said, "you are what your record says you are"

    The Rams haven't started a season 5-2 since 2003. That adds up to 14 long grueling years that us faithful and loyal fans have patiently waited for.

    What does their 5-2 start tell us within the scope of the big picture?

    Just as their new head coach Sean McVay mentioned in a recent press conference, “‘Who were you talking about after seven weeks in the NFL last year? What were guys’ record?’ Nobody cares. Because, really, it’s about what you do at the end.”

    Let's rewind the tape and take quick review of how the first seven games for the 2017 Rams season got them to where they are today.


    (1-0) At Los Angeles Week 1* Rams 46 Colts 9 "Luckless Colts Dominated"

    LOS ANGELES >> Just before Rams quarterback Jared Goff disappeared into the Coliseum tunnel late Sunday afternoon to celebrate his first win as an NFL quarterback, he paused, peeked over to a hundred or so fans shouting his name from the stands and raised his right arm to the sky.

    The roar that immediately erupted was unlike anything we’ve heard from the Coliseum for an NFL team in what seems like forever. Not two minutes before, 31-year-old Rams head coach Sean McVay did the same exact thing as he exited the stadium on the way to his team’s excited locker room after dropping a 46-9 hammer on top of the Indianapolis Colts.

    The eruption was just as loud. There was hope in the air. You could feel it, sense it and even hear it. So was confidence and faith. It was everything the Rams immediately let slip through their fingers upon returning home to Los Angeles last season after spending the previous 21 years in St. Louis. Their 4-12 finish did more harm than anyone cares to admit, although one look at the crowd on Sunday revealed a humbling reality.

    But also somewhat understandable, given how the Rams stumbled all over themselves last year. It was a bad look. And it had devastating effects. For now, Los Angeles is taking a collective wait-and-see attitude before deciding when, and if, it pours its heart out for the Rams. Which made the fans reaction as Goff disappeared into the Coliseum tunnel so important.

    After building a year’s worth of skepticism and cynicism and even anxiety, they were letting their guard down a little bit after soaking in the Rams thoroughly entertaining and dominant win over the Colts. Goff masterfully delivered a season-opening masterpiece that, for one day at least, erased the horrible stench from last year. The offense was efficient and explosive and imaginative.

    Even without All-Pro tackle Aaron Donald, the Rams defense was fast and active and disruptive while taking two interceptions to the end zone. To put the day in perspective, the 37-point margin of victory more than doubled the Rams combined margin of victory in their four wins last year. So yeah, there was hope in the air. And a huge sigh of relief that the Rams may have gotten it right with drafting Goff first overall last year.

    The kid everybody was in such a rush to declare a bust after a miserable rookie season looked every bit like a high-end NFL quarterback. Operating behind a rebuilt offensive line that kept him clean for most of the afternoon, he picked apart the Colts on 21-of-29 passing for 306 yards, one touchdown and a 117.9 quarterback rating.

    “Expected of him,” said new Rams wide receiver Robert Woods. “We see it at practice. We see him making these throws, calling these plays, very poised and confident. You see him out there today, making those throws, giving receivers chances like Cooper Kupp to go up and make plays on the ball. I mean, I would say that’s confidence and you saw it here today.” It’s a performance we never saw last year from Goff across seven forgettable starts.

    And one far too many fans and pundits prematurely predicted he wasn’t capable after watching him struggle as a rookie. They underestimated just how bad Goff had it, of course. The offensive line was terrible, the wide receivers incompetent and the coaching archaic, ineffective and unimaginative. He was also a 21-year-old kid making the jump from a college spread offense to a traditional NFL system.

    Those aren’t excuses. It’s reality. A year later, with everything around him decidedly better and a contemporary, imaginative coaching staff in charge, Goff looked like a completely different player. “He’s a number one overall pick for a reason,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s a damn good football player and he did a great job as far as scheming what we were doing.”

    Funny how that works, right? Give a smart, strong-armed, accurate throwing quarterback real perimeter weapons, a better scheme and time to stand in the pocket and throw the ball and good things happen. “I think with the additions we’ve made and everything we’ve done in the off-season, that’s how it’s set up,” Goff said. True, true. But a good quarterback is also required. Goff wasn’t perfect on Sunday, but he efficiently spread the ball across nine different receivers while standing tall and confidently in the pocket while scanning the field and finding the open man.

    “Very impressed,” said McVay. “I think that’s the goal – make good decisions, throw the ball with anticipation and accuracy in the timing and rhythm of the play and I thought he consistently did that today. Taking care of the football is a huge part of it and I thought he was able to get a handful of different guys involved in the pass game and that’s what you want to be able to do when we do have a handful of playmakers at the skill guys with our receivers, tight ends and backs. So, credit to Jared. I am very pleased with him today.”

    The Rams drafted Goff with those attributes in mind. That it didn’t come together for him in year one didn’t cause panic from Rams building as much as it sprung them into action rebuilding the infrastructure around him. Coaching included, moving on from Jeff Fisher and replacing him with McVay. The bevy of moves they made during the offseason were specifically designed to get Goff on the right track.

    But it was on him to take it from there. He did exactly that on Sunday in a way few could have anticipated. “I thought he was tremendous,” Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “I didn’t know how he’d be with a new group, a new offense, but I thought he was great. No moment was too big. He was in control.

    “Communication was great. Demeanor was great. I think he feels, not so sure safe is the right word, but I think he knows he’s got a good group with him. And we’re here to protect him as an offense, and as coaching staff with Sean, to help him be successful.” Goff did his part on Sunday. And the rebuilt offense around him followed his lead.


    (1-1) At Los Angeles Week 2* Redskins 27 Rams 20 "Run Defense Exploited"

    Redskins Run Wild in L.A., Trample Rams for First Win

    Jared Goff’s late interception thwarts Rams comeback vs. Redskins

    LOS ANGELES — Kirk Cousins threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Grant with 1:49 to play to give the Washington Redskins a 27-20 victory Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams and rookie head coach Sean McVay.

    Cousins capped the winning 70-yard drive by finding Grant in the front left corner of the end zone. The Rams had tied the game at 20 on Greg Zuerlein’s 40-yard field goal with 7:16 to play. It was set up on a trick play, when punter Johnny Hekker completed a 28-yard pass to Josh Reynolds to the Washington 17. But two penalties stalled the drive and the Rams had to settle for the field goal.

    Chris Thompson scored on runs of 61 and 7 yards for the Redskins (1-1). Mason Foster sealed it with 1:37 to go by intercepting Jared Goff. Cousins had a much better day than in a season-opening loss to Philadelphia, when he had three turnovers. He completed 18 of 27 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions.

    McVay, 31, worked for the Redskins for seven seasons, including the last three as offensive coordinator under Jay Gruden, before being hired by the Rams as the youngest head coach in modern league history. Despite McVay’s familiarity with the Redskins, it didn’t translate into a win for the Rams (1-1).

    Washington was in control most of the afternoon, including jumping ahead 13-0 early in the second quarter after Thompson took a toss and ran in from 7 yards, getting the ball just inside the pylon. Late in the second half, on second-and-6 from the Washington 39, Thompson took a delayed handoff from Cousins out of the shotgun and burst through the defense for his long TD run and a 20-10 lead.

    The Rams, who didn’t look near as sharp as they did in routing Indianapolis a week earlier, made a game of it thanks to a spectacular play by Todd Gurley. Midway through the third quarter, Gurley caught a swing pass from Goff, hurdled cornerback Bashaud Breeland and then reached for the pylon to complete the 18-yard play and pull the Rams to 20-17.

    Gurley also scored on a 1-yard run midway through the third quarter. His fumble helped set up a 22-yard field goal by Washington’s Dustin Hopkins in the second quarter. With the Redskins trying to add to a 20-17 lead late in the third quarter, Hopkins’ 51-yard attempt bounced off the right upright. Goff didn’t have nearly the day he did a week earlier, when he threw for a career-high 306 yards to get his first win as an NFL starter. He was 15 of 25 for 224 yards, with one TD and one interception.

    (2-1) At San Francisco Week 3* Rams 41 SF 49ers 39 "Goff & Gurley go off"

    Finally, a really fun game. On “Thursday Night Football,” no less.

    If you tuned in Thursday night, you probably didn’t expect much. The San Francisco 49ers hadn’t scored a touchdown in either of their games this season. The Los Angeles Rams showed signs of life, but they’re still the Rams. We didn’t expect a classic.

    Maybe it’s not a classic, but it might be the best “Thursday Night Football” game we’ve seen, the best game of this young NFL season – and nobody saw it coming. The Rams finally prevailed 41-39 in an entertaining, high-scoring game. It was the highest scoring game in “Thursday Night Football” history.

    This Sean McVay-Kyle Shanahan rivalry might be fun. McVay, the Rams’ new coach, has improved his team’s offense tremendously. The Rams traded blows with the 49ers, who have their own offensive guru in Shanahan, and we had a tight, high-scoring and thrilling game into the fourth quarter. The 49ers rallied late. They scored, recovered a fumble on a kickoff return and scored again.

    The 49ers missed a two-point conversion with a little more than two minutes left – they had to go for two because the 49ers missed an extra point early in the fourth quarter – so they needed an onside kick. And the 49ers recovered it to keep their hopes of winning alive. The Rams’ defense finally made a couple plays to win it. Linebacker Mark Barron made an incredible stop on a screen pass to Carlos Hyde, who would have gotten deep into Rams territory had Barron not wrapped him up, and Aaron Donald got a fourth-down sack to seal the Rams’ win. It wasn’t easy, however.

    The Rams needed big nights from many of their offensive stars. L.A.’s offense showed up in a big way. It’s the first time it has scored 40 or more points in multiple games in a season since 2006, and this season is only three games old. You can see McVay’s influence on the offense already. Jared Goff, who struggled so much as a rookie last season, had 292 yards and three touchdowns.

    Todd Gurley, who struggled last season, had 149 total yards and three touchdowns. The Rams haven’t played offense this well in more than a decade. They’re exciting all of a sudden. The 49ers finally showed some signs of offensive life too. Brian Hoyer rebounded from a terrible start to the season with 332 yards and two touchdowns. Hyde had two touchdowns. Pierre Garcon had 142 yards receiving. This game had a little bit of everything.

    Had you said before kickoff that the 49ers would score 39 points, nobody would have believed it and there’s no chance anyone would have believed they lost while scoring 39. But this was a thriller on Thursday night. Maybe all the stories about how scoring in the NFL was down and would never rebound were a little premature.


    (3-1) At Dallas Week 4* Rams 35 Cowboys 30 Rams "Statement game in Dallas"

    ARLINGTON, Texas — “Middle-school offense.” Todd Gurley didn’t mince words, and good for him.

    A year ago, the Rams were lost. They ran the ball like a team clad in cement shoes. Touchdowns drives were as infrequent as traffic-free jaunts on the 405. Frustration mounted, and finally Gurley let loose after a game and opined that a group of teenagers could organize an offense equal to the Rams’ attack. Turns out, the offense just needed Coach Sean McVay, who might pass for a high school senior if he shaved.

    Gurley, sullen and criticized last year, now arguably is the NFL’s top all-purpose threat, and is the main reason why the Rams are the league’s surprise team. After a bumpy first half, the Rams responded with brilliance Sunday afternoon and rallied for a 35-30 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. “When you’re winning, I’m telling you, it makes everything so much better,” Gurley said with a big grin.

    What a turnaround. Gurley led the Rams in rushing (121 yards on 23 carries) and receiving (94 yards and one touchdown on seven catches) Sunday and accounted for more than half of the Rams’ 412 yards. His turnaround is the main reason why the Rams have a 3-1 record and flying higher than anyone expected. This isn’t perfection. The Rams looked dreadful on defense in the first half, when they allowed 24 points and 287 yards and trailed by 11 points. These lengthy lapses have been too frequent for the Rams this season, and success won’t be sustainable if they continue.

    But not only did the Rams clean up things on defense in the second half, when they allowed six points and 153 yards, but the Rams also now have an offense potent enough to survive defensive hiccups. That’s why this year’s 3-1 record feels much different than last year, when the Rams finished 1-11. The Rams had great balance on offense against the Cowboys, as quarterback Jared Goff had a steady day (21 of 36, 255 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions) and they ran for 168 yards.

    The Rams nursed a small lead for most of the fourth quarter and held the ball for more than 10 minutes. The Cowboys regained momentum in the middle of the quarter, when they pulled within 32-30 but failed to convert on a game-tying two-point conversion attempt. In need of first downs, with 7:08 left, the Rams turned to Gurley. He carried the ball seven times and caught one pass as the Rams bled more than five minutes off the clock and took a 35-30 lead on kicker Greg Zuerlein’s seventh field goal of the game.

    The defense made one final stop to secure the victory and the Rams jumped around on the sideline like, well, a bunch of excited middle-schoolers. “The biggest thing for us,” offensive lineman Rodger Saffold said, “is whenever we’ve seen some adversity, we’ve been able to stay calm, stay focused and continue to play our game.” It’s amazing how a successful running game can calm nerves.

    A year ago, the Rams seemed to have no idea what to do with Gurley. They ran him up the middle, into a wall of defenders, and when that didn’t work, they just tried it again and again. Gurley averaged 3.2 yards per rushing attempt. McVay, also the Rams’ play-caller, has made things look different. He sends receivers in motion to pull attention from Gurley, and McVay had the wild idea of actually throwing the ball to Gurley.

    The Rams’ run blocking has improved, and Gurley looks more motivated, perhaps in part because he has coaches who are putting him in positions to succeed. With 362 rushing yards and 234 receiving yards through four games, he’s almost halfway his 2016 all-purpose total of 1,212. Gurley also has become only the third running back in NFL history to total at least 575 yards from scrimmage and at least seven touchdowns in his team’s first four games. The others? Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith. A year ago, Gurley looked broken. McVay’s offense, and some offensive upgrades, provided the fix.

    “I don’t think it’s necessarily if you can ‘fix’ him,” McVay said. “I mean, this guy is a great player. … Just because last year, from a numbers standpoint, maybe it wasn’t what we would have liked, that doesn’t take away from some of the things he did on tape, when you really study it. These are things that we expect from Todd, and I know he expects of himself.”

    (3-2) At Los Angeles Week 5* Seahawks 16 Rams 10 "Humbled by Seattle's Defense"

    Seahawks shut down high-scoring Rams for 16-10 victory

    LOS ANGELES (AP) When Todd Gurley stretched the ball toward the goal line, Earl Thomas soared in with perfect timing and a martial arts-style chop to the running back's arm, knocking the ball out for a touchback. After an impressive start to the season, the Rams thought they were ready to run past the NFC West's perennial power.

    Thomas and the Seattle Seahawks barely swatted away the upstarts in a defensive performance full of timely brilliance. Russell Wilson passed for 198 yards and a touchdown, and Thomas forced two of the Rams' five turnovers in the Seahawks' 16-10 victory Sunday. Jimmy Graham scored late in the first half in a defense-dominated win for the Seahawks (3-2), who shut out the NFL's highest-scoring offense in the second half and won despite getting outgained 375-241.

    ''We all played so well on defense,'' Thomas said. ''Even when our back was against the wall, we squared up in the red zone. This is the No. 1 offense, and we did a great job.'' Thomas made enormous plays early and late. The veteran safety stripped Gurley at the pylon to kill the Rams' opening drive, and he intercepted Jared Goff's fluttering pass at midfield with 6:02 to play.

    Sheldon Richardson also came through with two big plays, diving to intercept a deflected pass in the third quarter before scooping up Goff's fumble near midfield with 2:45 left. ''He's going to be all right,'' Richardson said of Goff, who went 22 of 47 for 288 yards with three costly turnovers. ''He's not the same guy from last year. But he's no Tom Brady yet.''

    Goff moved the Rams 55 yards in the final 1:09, but Seattle's defense made its final stop. Rams rookie Cooper Kupp barely missed a diving TD grab on third down, and Goff's fourth-down pass to Kupp was too low. ''For our guys to come through and finish like that, that's as exciting as the game gets,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

    Tavon Austin rushed for a 27-yard TD for Los Angeles (3-2). After a quick start to the season that caught the NFL's attention, the Rams wasted their strong defensive game when new coach Sean McVay's offense ran into the Legion of Boom. ''We had a 12-play drive and a 13-play drive that went for no points, so it wasn't so much we weren't moving the ball,'' Goff said. ''We just weren't finishing drives. We got into the red zone and didn't do a good job. That's where it shows up. You see why Seattle has been so good for so long defensively.''

    Wilson didn't have big numbers, but the quarterback put on a performance of vintage resourcefulness, repeatedly wriggling away from the Rams' pursuing defense to make plays. Blair Walsh's two second-half field goals turned out to be the difference for Seattle, which managed just 97 yards in the second half. Austin, the wide receiver used more often as a ball carrier by McVay, scored the game's first points when he took a handoff and high-stepped to the end zone early in the second quarter.

    Wilson then threw an interception to Rams rookie John Johnson, who returned it 69 yards before Wilson made a possible touchdown-saving tackle. Thomas forced Gurley's fumble on a play that was ruled a touchdown on the field, but went to video review because it could have been seen three ways: A touchdown, out of bounds on the 1, or a fumble and touchback. Officials eventually ruled Gurley had lost control of the ball an instant before stepping out of bounds.

    ''I did a great job watching the Bruce Lee movies, and it kind of carried over to the football field,'' Thomas said of his chop. Thomas made an incredibly similar play against the St. Louis Rams in 2014, chopping the ball out of Benny Cunningham's hand at the goal line. Kupp, the Rams' impressive third-round choice, barely missed the biggest catch of his young career on a tough ball. ''I expect to make that play,'' said Kupp, who had three catches for 44 yards. ''I can't say anything about whether it was behind me or a one-hand catch. If I'm putting my hands on the ball, I've got to make that play.''

    (4-2) At Jacksonville Week 6* Rams 27 Jaguars 17 "Thank you Special Teams"

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Los Angeles Rams have won games with offensive prowess, defensive stops and Greg Zuerlein's leg. Now, they can add special teams to the list. Pharoh Cooper returned the opening kickoff 103 yards, one of two special teams touchdowns that helped the Rams beat the up-and-down Jacksonville Jaguars 27-17 on Sunday.

    The Rams (4-2) also blocked a punt for a score - Malcolm Brown returned the loose ball 8 yards in a pile of teammates - and improved to 3-0 on the road for the first time since 2001. ''When I hit that sideline, I just took off and prayed that I didn't get caught,'' Cooper said. ''We had a great day in special teams. ... Special teams play is something we all take pride in and you can tell it really shows.''

    The units were Jacksonville's downfall. The Jaguars (3-3) gave up 17 points on three special teams gaffes - the long return, the block and a 16-yard punt that set up a field goal. Making it an even longer day for the home team, Jason Myers missed two 54-yards field goals that could have made a difference. ''It's very disappointing,'' Jaguars special teams captain Arrelious Been said.

    ''We can't sit back and wait for offense and defense to do it. We've got to go out there and do it.'' Jacksonville's defense did its part, holding the high-scoring Rams to 249 yards and 12 first downs. But the unit got little help outside of rookie Leonard Fournette's big run to open the game. The Jaguars botched a decent chance to tie the game early in the fourth quarter when Blake Bortles fumbled on one play and then threw an interception on the next. It cost Jacksonville a shot at ending its inconsistent ways to start the season.

    Los Angeles essentially sealed the victory on Greg Zuerlein's 29-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining. It should make for an enjoyable few more days in Jacksonville. The Rams will remain in the city for four days before continuing an 11-day road trip in London. ''I think our guys just embrace that mentality where you come into a stadium and they have this breakdown of, `We're all we got. We're all we need,''' Rams coach Sean McVay said. ''These players are mentality tough. That's becoming the identity that you hear us talk about all the time.''

    The Jaguars, coming off an impressive victory at Pittsburgh, still haven't won consecutive games in more than a year and lost for the ninth time in 10 games at EverBank Field. ''Why we're so volatile in our play? I don't know,'' linebacker Paul Posluszny said. ''They just made more impact plays than we did that forced the outcome of the game.'' Fournette set the tone again by scoring on the first play from scrimmage.

    After Cooper's kickoff return, Fournette took a handoff and went 75 yards for his sixth rushing touchdown and seventh score of the season. Fournette finished with 130 yards on 21 carries, but only 55 yards after his first run. He also injured his right ankle late in the game and did not return, but expects to be fine. Todd Gurley ran 23 times for 116 yards for the Rams. Robert Woods caught five passes for 70 yards. And Jared Goff was 11 of 21 for 124 yards, including a 4-yard TD pass to Gerald Everett. The difference, though, was special teams.

    (5-2) At London Week 7* Rams 33 Cardinals 0 "Wade's Defense pitches a Shutout"[​IMG]

    LONDON — Wade Phillips shrugged a couple weeks ago. He seemed almost bored by the questions, even as everybody who followed the Rams wondered what in the world was wrong with their defense.

    Apparently it wasn’t anything Phillips, with his 40 years of NFL coaching, couldn’t fix. The magic happened at halftime three weeks ago at Dallas. Since then, the Rams have allowed only 39 points in 14 quarters. The high point came Sunday, when the Rams’ defense shut out Arizona, 33-0, knocked quarterback Carson Palmer out of the game and shut down running back Adrian Peterson.

    The Rams forced two more turnovers Sunday and held the Cardinals to 193 yards and 10 first downs. “It’s just us coming into our own,” linebacker and team captain Alec Ogletree said. “We didn’t start how we wanted to start. We knew we had the players and the ability to do a lot of stuff, but you just have to keep chugging along, keep plugging at it until you get it right. We still have some things to work on and get better at. We definitely haven’t peaked yet, for sure. There’s definitely a lot more to come.”

    The transition to Phillips’ 3-4 scheme was clunky, and it probably didn’t help that star lineman Aaron Donald missed all of training camp and the season opener because of a contract holdout. The Rams allowed 99 points in their first 14 quarters, and they couldn’t stop Dallas in the first half of that game. Then everything turned, dramatically and quickly, and the Rams have been thriving in areas where they struggled early in the season.

    Run defense is foremost. Arizona’s Adrian Peterson rushed for 134 yards against Tampa Bay a week earlier, but the Rams held Peterson to 21 yards on 11 carries. Peterson’s longest run was for 6 yards. “That’s how you do it,” Rams lineman Michael Brockers said. “If you get 11 hats to the ball and stop him before he gets started, man, he turns into a normal human being (instead of) the Hall of Famer he truly is. I think that’s what we did today and we did a good job at it.”

    he Rams stuffed Peterson early, then played increasingly good pass defense and started to get to Palmer in the second quarter. The big play came with under six minutes left in the second quarter, when Ogletree smashed Palmer on a sack and broke Palmer’s arm. The injury is expected to require surgery, and Palmer could miss the rest of the season.

    Arizona crossed midfield only once after Drew Stanton took over for Palmer. “It’s unfortunate,” Brockers said. “You don’t want to hurt anybody, but when you get out there and you get that quarterback out, it messes up the rhythm of their game and I think we just took advantage of it.”

    Todd Gurley, who never rushed for more than 85 yards in a game last season, topped the century mark for the fourth time in his past five games, as he gained 106 yards on 22 carries. Gurley scored on an 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and also caught four passes for 48 yards.

    “Whenever he’s getting going, it obviously helps our whole offense,” quarterback Jared Goff said. “I love handing off the ball and letting him run. There’s nothing better than that, letting him go. Then obviously it opens the pass game a lot more, so any time we can get him going, we want to. “I think it’s a testament to the guys up front. I think (Gurley) would say the same thing. It’s nice having the holes he’s having now, and him doing the rest.”

    Gurley did agree with Goff, and deflected praise, but he’s clearly running with more confidence than in 2016. The Cardinals hadn’t allowed an opposing running back to rush for 100 yards this season. “It felt good,” Gurley said. “Coach did a great job with the play-calling and the line was doing a great job of creating holes, and me and Malcolm (Brown) were able to have a couple big runs.

    The Rams had high praise for the way Coach Sean McVay handled their week. Last year, when the Rams lost to the New York Giants, they spent almost a full week in London, with the hope that it would acclimate them to the time change. It didn’t work, as the Rams looked flat. This time, the Rams spent four extra days in Jacksonville and didn’t arrive in London until Friday morning.

    “The way we did it this time was way better. Way better, I think,” Goff said. “We felt good. I think you can ask anybody. We felt really, really good (Saturday) and the day before and all the way throughout the week in Jacksonville.” McVay pushed the credit for the sharp play back onto his players.

    “I think it’s them,” McVay said. “We’ve got mature players. We’ve got high-character players in that room, and they knew we were coming on a business trip. They did a great job of just taking it one day at a time. That’s a credit to our players.”

    "The Journey begins in New York"

    2017 Los Angeles Rams remaining opponents "The back 9" Rams current record 5-2

    Statistics are skewed a little bit because some teams have played one more game than others.

    Regardless the sample size 7 & 8 games is all we have to give us for a barometer of how these teams stack up against each other on paper.

    Rams Points Per Game 30.3 Rank #2
    Off Pass Yards 241.6 Rank #13
    Off Rush Yards 127.6 Rank #6
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 48.98% Rank #1
    Rams Points Allowed 19.7 Rank #11
    Def Pass Yards 205.0 Rank #9
    Def Rush Yards 123.1 Rank #25
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 36.36% Rank #12
    Total Sacks 23 Rank #7
    Takeaways Fumbles 3 Interceptions 9
    Point Differential +74 Rank #2
    This team is exciting & has stunned most of the NFL media with their quick turnaround in less than a year.

    (Game 8) AT New York current record 1-6
    Points Per Game 16.0 Rank #30
    Off Pass Yards 213.1 Rank #20
    Off Rush Yards 83.3 Rank #27
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 32.61% Rank #29
    Points Allowed 22.3 Rank #17
    Def Pass Yards 258.7 Rank #27
    Def Rush Yards 120.7 Rank #23
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 40.78% Rank #22
    Total Sacks 13 Rank #24
    Takeaways Fumbles 4 Interceptions 3
    Point Differential -44
    East Coast trip with both teams coming off a bye week. NYG has nothing to lose & not to be taken lightly.

    (Game 9) VS Houston current record 3-4
    Points Per Game 30.7 Rank #1
    Off Pass Yards 229.1 Rank #16
    Off Rush Yards 138.3 Rank #3
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 36.05% Rank #25
    Points Allowed 26.9 Rank #29
    Def Pass Yards 238.0 Rank #22
    Def Rush Yards 96.6 Rank #9
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 35.56% Rank #10
    Total Sacks 17 Rank #14
    Takeaways Fumbles 3 Interceptions 8
    Point Differential +27 Rank #10
    Watson is dangerous throwing & running with the football. The Texans are capable of beating any team at any venue.

    (Game 10) AT Minnesota current record 6-2.
    Points Per Game 22.4 Rank #14
    Off Pass Yards 238.5 Rank #14
    Off Rush Yards 120.0 Rank #13
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 42.73% Rank #7
    Points Allowed 16.9 Rank #4
    Def Pass Yards 200.8 Rank #7
    Def Rush Yards 81.4 Rank #4
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 27.72% Rank #2
    Total Sacks 24 Rank #6
    Takeaways Fumbles 3 Interceptions 7
    Point Differential +44 Rank #5
    The Vikings defense is among the leagues best & Keenum, Sam or Teddy can be efficient.

    (Game 11) VS New Orleans current record 5-2
    Points Per Game 27.3 Rank #6
    Off Pass Yards 271.7 Rank #4
    Off Rush Yards 118.7 Rank #14
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 38.10% Rank #10
    Points Allowed 20.7 Rank #12
    Def Pass Yards 224.4 Rank #17
    Def Rush Yards 120.3 Rank #21
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 46.81% Rank #29
    Total Sacks 19 Rank #12
    Takeaways Fumbles 2 Interceptions 9
    Point Differential +46 Rank #4
    These are not your Saints from the previous 5 years. This team is rolling and looks like a legitimate contender.

    (Game 12) AT Arizona current record 3-4
    Points Per Game 17.0 Rank #27
    Off Pass Yards 269.7 Rank #5
    Off Rush Yards 63.4 Rank #32
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 36.36 % Rank #22
    Points Allowed 27.3 Rank #30
    Def Pass Yards 246.9 Rank #23
    Def Rush Yards 105.9 Rank #14
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 47.71% Rank #31
    Total Sacks 13 Rank #24
    Takeaways Fumbles 0 Interceptions 7
    Point Differential -72
    Hampered by injuries & no longer the elite team they were 2 years ago. Division opponents can still be scrappy.

    (Game 13) VS Philadelphia current record 7-1
    Points Per Game 29.0 Rank #4
    Off Pass Yards 242.5 Rank #11
    Off Rush Yards 129.2 Rank #5
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 47.79% Rank #2
    Points Allowed 19.5 Rank #10
    Def Pass Yards 256.8 Rank #26
    Def Rush Yards 70.4 Rank #1
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 31.00% Rank #3
    Total Sacks 22 Rank #9
    Takeaways Fumbles 5 Interceptions 9
    Point Differential +76 Rank #1
    Wentz has been a beast in his 2nd season. A legit MVP candidate & the Eagles are flying high with their defense.

    (Game 14) AT Seattle current record? 5-2
    Points Per Game 25.0 Rank #10
    Off Pass Yards 272.7 Rank #3
    Off Rush Yards 97.6 Rank #21
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 43.14% Rank #6
    Points Allowed 18.9 Rank #7
    Def Pass Yards 216.0 Rank #12
    Def Rush Yards 117.7 Rank #20
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 35.48% Rank #9
    Total Sacks 17 Rank #14
    Takeaways Fumbles 5 Interceptions 8
    Point Differential +43 Rank #6
    Seattle's defense stifled the Rams in Los Angeles. This could be a season changing contest.

    (Game 15) AT Tennessee current record 4-3
    Points Per Game 22.6 Rank #13
    Off Pass Yards 201.9 Rank #26
    Off Rush Yards 124.6 Rank #9
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 34.78% Rank #27
    Points Allowed 24.7 Rank #26
    Def Pass Yards 229.3 Rank #19
    Def Rush Yards 100.1 Rank #10
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 35.23% Rank #8
    Total Sacks 11 Rank #30
    Takeaways Fumbles 3 Interceptions 7
    Point Differential -15
    Mariotoa & his Titans can be a formidable foe at home in Tennessee. Could be a competitive & thrilling game.

    (Game 16) VS San Francisco current record 0-8
    Points Per Game 16.6 Rank #29
    Off Pass Yards 211.2 Rank #22
    Off Rush Yards 95.8 Rank #23
    Off 3rd Down Conversion 31.09% Rank #30
    Points Allowed 27.4 Rank #31
    Def Pass Yards 250.2 Rank #24
    Def Rush Yards 131.8 Rank #29
    Def 3rd Down Conversion 46.96% Rank #30
    Total Sacks 17 Rank #14
    Takeaways Fumbles 4 Interceptions 5
    Point Differential -86
    Rams will be favored & their playoff hopes might hinge on getting this victory vs 49ers & new QB Garoppolo.

    Hope you faithful Rams fans enjoyed this "Back 9" presentation.

    I definitely know all of you have had a blast watching our team play this year. Go Rams!

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  2. bubbaramfan

    Hall of Fame
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    Aug 7, 2013
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    Missed ya Florida, bout time you started posting this stuff for us again:grouphug:
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  3. Dog

    SportsBook Bookie
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    Jan 26, 2013
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    Nobody can put together a body of information.....GOOD information at that....like Florida can. Outstanding!

    Bravo Sir!
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  4. rafa

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    May 20, 2013
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    9-0 in the back 9 to finish 14-2
    LET'S GO!!!!
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  5. dieterbrock

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    Jan 3, 2013
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    I say we make sure we birdie the 9th hole before we start focusing on the back 9....

    Great post though!!
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  6. DaveFan'51

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    Apr 18, 2014
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    Simi Valley, Calif.
    Great Report Florida_Ram, XLNT work! Well worth the read! Keep-um-coming!!(y)(y)(y)(y):D
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  7. Ramstien

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    Oct 15, 2016
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    Chattanooga, TN.
    Took me a while to go thru it all but it was well worth it. Thanks for posting.
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  8. Merlin

    Golden Shellback
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    May 8, 2014
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    Sin City
    We could really use an offensive explosion game. Hope this is it.
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  9. Farr Be It

    Hall of Fame
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    Aug 1, 2017
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    Incredible effort @Florida_Ram !

    Good stuff for us info junkies.
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  10. PowayRamFan

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    Aug 15, 2011
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    ROD is certainly lucky to have people like Florida contributing, outstanding write up.
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  11. LACHAMP46

    A snazzy title
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    Jul 21, 2013
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    Garden Grove, Ca.,
    Like I always say to the wife....I'll just take it, one hole at a time....:sneaky:

    Great post Florida!!!:yess:
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  12. Florida_Ram

    Pro Bowler
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    Jun 18, 2016
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  13. Dodgersrf

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    Mar 17, 2014
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    #13 Dodgersrf, Nov 4, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
    Great job as always Florida. Really enjoyed this.

    The coaching staff McVay hired is absolutely incredible. The fact that he didn't hire a bunch of Minnion Followers has made this team an exciting force to watch. I love the fact that McVay has been very open about wanting to surround himself with experience. Many people, are intimidated to have guys working under them that may know more.
    These guys deserve just as much credit as McVay has been getting.
    Is McVay a genius? IDK
    Is he a great Football Coach? The writing is on the wall, with a resounding YES!

    We can't have anymore games like Seattle. handing the ball over in Seattle territory 3 times was gut wrenching. We're going to make mistakes....and that's ok. Lets not hand the game over on a silver platter to a division foe again.
    Many here also remember 1995, when we started off something like 5-1, only to tank the rest of the season., but this feels much different. It's impossible for me to wane my excitement for the present and future of this team. I firmly believe we have finally turned the corner.

    I want this game in a bad way. Last year ( I believe it was this game) we went for 2(which we didn't make) instead of kicking the extra point after a TD. Game goes to overtime and we Lose. In addition, a close friend of mine is a MINNY fan and I want revenge.

    As of now, this is a game many are waiting to see. I really want to knock these guys off their perch.
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