3 Takeaways from Rams' Week 11 Win
The win was big for a couple of reasons: The Rams took over first place in the NFC West thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Seattle Seahawks, and they also earned a tiebreaker over the Buccaneers in the wild-card race.
Whether they win the division or not, the Rams are now in a good position to return to the postseason after missing out in 2019. Los Angeles also proved itself to be a legitimate contender in the NFC, as many folks believe Brady and the Bucs to be.
Here are three other takeaways from Los Angeles' win on Monday.
Sean McVay Has Regained His Mojo
OK, so perhaps Rams head coach Sean McVay never really lost his knack for poking holes in defenses. However, with former running back Todd Gurley struggling last season—and Jared Goff playing inconsistently as a result—McVay's offense in 2019 did not look like the work of an offensive genius.
The 2019 Rams ranked 11th in scoring but also with a 9-7 record. This year's incarnation ranks just 17th in scoring but is already two wins shy of last season's win total.
A big reason why has been McVay's ability to adapt to what the opposition is trying to do. On Monday, that meant finding ways to move the ball against the teeth of a dominant run defense, a strong pass rush and a budding secondary.
This was the same Buccaneers defense that has befuddled the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr this season. While Goff didn't always make things look easy, he and McVay paired for some excellent drives, and the quarterback finished with 376 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
In a back-and-forth game between two offensive gurus, McVay got the better of Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians.
This Woods-Kupp Duo Is Incredible
Against the league's first-ranked run defense, McVay's offense had to take to the air early and often. That task was made easier by the presence of wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Each caught more than 10 passes and each topped the 100-yard mark.
The two actually combined for 23 receptions, 275 yards and a touchdown. This, against a defense ranked 16th against the pass and 11th in points allowed.
There are some tremendous wide receiver duos in the NFL in 2020—the rival Seahawks have one in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The Rams have their own in Kupp and Woods. Though neither pass-catcher is often in the conversation of the league's best, someone who knows a little something about playing receiver can appreciate their greatness.
Even though it's a duo that often gets overlooked in the general NFL landscape, this is a tandem capable of taking over games, as it did on Monday night against a championship-caliber defense.
The Rams Have a Championship-Caliber Defense
Bewildering Tom Brady isn't easy, even if the New Orleans Saints made it appear so a couple of weeks ago.
The Rams largely repeated that performance on Monday, holding the quarterback to just 216 yards, forcing him into multiple off throws and a pair of interceptions. While the 43-year-old was only sacked once, Aaron Donald and Co. kept him under pressure throughout the evening.
Brady's passer rating? 62.5, his second-lowest of the season.
Just as impressively, the Rams defensive front made Tampa's rushing attack virtually nonexistent. Ronald Jones II led the team with just 24 yards, and no Buccaneers runner had a carry longer than six yards.
As a team, Tampa had just 251 yards of total offense.
In back-to-back weeks, the Rams have now shown they can contain playoff-caliber offense and Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks—they held the Seahawks to just 16 points in Week 10.
With Goff, Woods, Kupp and the rest of the offense finding ways to thrive, this provides a formula for postseason success. When the defense is playing like it did on Monday night, L.A. is capable of knocking off anyone in the league.