5 Things We Learned from the Rams' 19-13 Victory Against the Seahawks
Well, well, well...wasn't that fun?
In a game that surely had its fair share of dull and sloppy moments, the St. Louis Rams did what they haven't done in a very long time.
They won a divisional game.
The last time the Rams won a game within the NFC West was in Week 16 of 2010 against what was a five-win San Francisco 49ers team.
That's a streak of 20 consecutive weeks of play, including seven straight divisional losses.
I have a feeling you are going to be reading many statements this season describing ends to several of the inept streaks previous Rams teams put together.
To answer what was asked by one of my Rams FC colleagues here on Bleacher Report, I think that is what hope feels like.
In the afterglow of a precious Rams victory this week, these are the five things we've learned from today's win over the Seahawks.
1) Greg Zuerlein Is a Stud
I thought a lot about what one word to use in describing Zuerlein. But I'm not sure that you can.
He is unbelievable. He is an inspiration. He is powerful. He is a relief. He is the offense's savior.
I've said before that Zuerlein puts the Rams in scoring position whenever the team crosses midfield. That statement has an obvious level of hyperbole built into it.
But after today, I can say there is none.
Zuerlein is the Larry Bird of the NFL. Once he's in the building, he is in scoring range.
Zuerlein was perfect again today, nailing each of his four field-goal attempts.
In what has now become routine, Zuerlein again split the uprights from distances of 48, 58 and 60 yards.
He broke the Rams' franchise record in the first quarter with the 58-yard bomb, and then proceeded to break his own record some 20 game minutes later with the 60-yarder.
Simply put, Zuerlein is a stud.
2) The Rams Defense Is Actually Really Good
If points and yards matter to you, then you will really like the direction of the Rams defense.
In each week of the season, the Rams defense has cut down on their points, passing yards and total yards allowed.
The Rams continued that trend, giving up only 13 points to the Seahawks. In those 13 points, the Rams allowed just 140 passing yards (new season low) and picked off three passes (tying their season high).
The value of the Rams defense was seen perfectly at the end of the second quarter.
After the Rams scored a touchdown on a fake field goal, the defense forced a quick three-and-out of the Seahawks, getting a big sack on third down.
The Rams offense took advantage of a terrible Seattle punt, got into field-goal range and added three more points to their lead.
There are a lot of question marks surrounding the Rams offense, but there are now very few regarding the defense.
3) The Offensive Line Is the Difference
The Rams offensive line is the difference between the team taking a small step forward this season (which seems inevitable) and the team taking a monstrous one.
Every year it seems a team jumps from worst to first in an NFL season. I'm convinced that but for an injury-riddled offensive line, the Rams could make that jump now.
Yes, the Rams gave up only two sacks on Bradford. That does seem like heaven compared to the eight first-half sacks Seattle pulled off against Green Bay last week.
However, one of the sacks given up stalled a Rams drive deep in Seattle territory. While Zuerlein saved the drive with a ridiculously-long field goal, the Rams can't afford to settle for three points when seven is attainable.
The Rams again struggled to find room in the running game, netting only 75 yards on 27 carries (2.8 average). Some might blame that on the dancing legs of Steven Jackson, and that would partially be true.
But when four-fifths of your starting offensive line is out of place, it's tough to create running lanes.
We've seen that when the Rams offensive line plays just okay, like this week, the team can compete against anyone. Just think how good this team could be if the offensive line was the team's strength?
4) Wide Receivers Are a Curious Bunch
A lot of questions remain regarding the Rams wide receiving corps, none of which have to do with Danny Amendola. He is a stud and is primed to challenge a few big names in the Comeback Player of the Year award.
But I can't figure out what to think about the rest of the group.
Brandon Gibson has impressed in past games with some big catches, but after last week's drop near the end zone, he caught only two balls this week for 28 yards.
The rookies, Brian Quick and Chris Givens, both got on the field together for what seems is the first time this season. But in six combined targets, they only caught two passes between them.
Givens did haul in a 52-yard missile from Sam Bradford, but he let another one slip through his fingertips.
Austin Pettis also saw some action, catching both of the passes thrown his way.
Is Steve Smith suddenly the odd man out? One would think this Rams team could use the help of a former Pro Bowler.
Maybe this is just part of the rotation when you have six pairs of hands competing for five spots.
Givens' downfield speed should continue to open things up for Amendola and Lance Kendricks over the middle. But the Rams need a second target that they can go to on seam and out routes.
Enter Quick and/or Gibson.
5) The Rams Are Exciting to Watch
From the insanely-long field goals, to the special teams trickery, the Rams under Jeff Fisher have become a really exciting team to watch.
Television ratings have so far been poor this year for the Rams (lower than each of the past two seasons), despite the team's impressive start.
The Rams are taking shots downfield in the passing game. They play hard. They play to win. They play with an angry, nasty edge.
For a very long time, the St. Louis Rams were known as a "finesse team," one that can be pushed and bullied around the football field. Heck, it's how Bill Belichick began earning his Hall of Fame-worthy career.
Rams fans embraced that sentiment when the team was winning and outscoring opponents in their sleep.
This team under Fisher comes to fight.
More often than not this season so far, they've come hungrier and better prepared than their opponent.