Whether it’s a four-touchdown performance from Matthew Stafford, a dominant rushing attack, or a defensive masterpiece schemed up from Raheem Morris, as the weeks churn on, the endless list of ways the Los Angeles Rams are able to win ball games continues to grow. Following their first loss of the year in Week 4 at the hands of the lone undefeated team in the NFL (Arizona Cardinals), the Rams got themselves back on track following a 26-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks, who have found themselves with much bigger fish to fry following a hand injury suffered by Russell Wilson in the second half.
Through the first four games, Los Angeles’ high-octane offense has spread the wealth, and in turn, lit up scoreboards on a weekly basis. While many expected the addition of Stafford into McVay’s portal of offensive wizardry to produce high totals and chunk plays, I don’t think anyone expected them to gel this quickly. Whether it’s Stafford to Cooper Kupp, or Stafford to Robert Woods, or a red zone hookup with Tyler Higbee here, or a 60-yard nine-ball to DeSean Jackson there, attempting to stop Los Angeles’ offensive attack has become a nightmare for opposing coordinators to game plan against.
Thursday presented another wrinkle into McVay’s scheme.
While Kupp used the first four weeks to dominate the catch point, serving as the target hog and Stafford’s first-read in his progressions early and often, the arrival of Woods into the stat sheet was a more than welcomed sign for McVay, as the nine-year wideout amassed 12 catches—the second-most in a single game for his career—for 150 yards, by far his best performance so far this season. With 15 catches combined the first four weeks, Woods was dominant at all three levels of the Rams’ offense.
Lined up throughout the evening both inside and out, Woods’ presence, alongside Kupp and the slew of other talented weapons at Stafford’s disposal, presented unique looks to the Seahawks’ weak secondary unit. With an average of 4.2 yards of separation on each route, Woods was the Woods of old, working seamlessly at the top of routes with crisp feet, sure hands, and a route tree that displayed a work of art when all was set and done.
The inclusion of Jackson has also boosted the Rams attack, as if it needed any more wrinkles to throw at a defense.
At 34 years old, Jackson has enjoyed his own share of a farewell tour over the last couple of seasons. From a pit stop in Tampa Bay to an attempt at rekindling old glory in Philadelphia, Jackson found himself uninvolved early in the season with just 17 snaps combined in his first two weeks. Fast forward to Week 5, and Jackson’s role is still drastically limited compared to his boundary presence in years past, but, with Stafford under center and McVay at the helm, there’s plenty of targets to go around, and Jackson, a potential future Hall of Famer, has begun to earn a small slice of the pie by averaging 24.5 yards per catch, tops in football.
A one-dimensional wideout through the majority of his career, Jackson is known for one thing and one thing only: speed. One of the premier deep threats the league has ever seen, from the onset of his career, Jackson has torched opposing secondaries with 32 touchdowns of 40 or more yards—which ranks sixth all-time. Additionally, his 63.2-yard average on those touchdowns is the highest in NFL history. While he won’t be asked to run 50-yard sprints six or seven times a game like he did as an Eagle, his presence garners the attention of secondary defenders, and that alone is enough to open up everything underneath his vertical stem.
Now 4-1, the Rams have quickly found themselves in the driver's seat of the NFC West. And while, sure, the Cardinals are undefeated and the San Francisco 49ers will surely remain competitive with whoever is under center, as you look over the horizon and to Los Angeles’ upcoming matchups against the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans in three straight weeks, matching the Rams’ likely 7-1 at the near halfway point of the season would be a tall ask for Arizona considering their upcoming slate of opponents.
As McVay and Stafford’s relationship continues to augment, the Rams’ offense follows, and in bunches. With weapons aplenty forming one of the league's most formidable offensive arsenals, Los Angeles’ success will continue to snowball, and there’s no sign of them slowing down.