Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Jared Goff started his eight career game against the Indianapolis Colts. He previously lost seven consecutive games up to his next start. He didn’t get shortchanged on this day, as he received his first NFL win as a starting quarterback, in almost a flawless way.
Goff went 21-29 for 306 yards and didn’t turn the ball over. He would connect with seven different receivers with rookie Cooper Kupp lead all receivers with 76 receiving yard and TD. His placing the ball in areas on the receiver could catch if not a few got away from him late underthrowing the receivers.
However, for the first time, Goff looked like the number one overall quarterback the Rams had expected on draft day. It was great to watch him sit comfortably in the pocket and make his read and not get crushed by a defender. He will a little challenge with a much better Redskin defense this week, so let's remain optimistic his good play continues.
The acquisition of tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan made a massive difference for the Rams offense. Where have the service of Aaron Kromer been for this Rams offensive line? The offensive line gave Goff nearly five seconds of protection per pass attempt. Great not seeing the like of former number two overall selections, tackle Greg Robinson (2014) and Jason Smith (2009).
The free-agency route didn’t fair well either, as the Rams lured Miami Dolphins veteran left tackle Jake Long to St. Louis. His season would be cut short from what appeared to be a freaked knee injury. Rams quarterbacks have not look that comfortable in the pocket since the premier day of Orlando Pace. No question, Whitworth has looked very well protecting the blind side of Goff.
Despite the excellent pass protection, there were flaws of "bonehead" penalties and the suspected right side o-line. Whitworth and John Sullivan both had false start penalties, and Rob Havenstein had a costly holding penalty. However, guards Jamar Brown and Roger Saffold didn’t see any laundry flying in their direction. Run blocking from the right side needs to be able to hold their point of attack long enough for the backs to get through. Once that is figured out, the offense will be having much more fun over the course of the season.
The Rams running game didn’t give the fans something to wow about, except for Todd Gurley’s vintage hurdle of a Colts defender and his short touchdown rush. Other than that, the Colt’s defense added to the total games that Gurley held under 100 yards rushing. The streak extended to the total of 19 games at this point. However, he had a couple of runs nullified by penalties, which may have inched him closer to 100. Gurley offensive stats were 19 rushes for 40 yards and a touchdown, and seven receptions for 56 yards.
Malcolm Brown who solidified himself as Gurley’s back up celebrated the day with a short three-yard touchdown run. The touchdown run marks the first of his young NFL career and expects to be an exceptional back for Gurley.
The tight-end play, well, let us say it needs improvement. Second-year tight-end Tyler Higbee collected a couple of foolish penalties. Rams were driving deep into their territory as Higbee would receive a false start penalty. Later, Todd Gurley will have a 12-yard run nullified by a holding penalty by Higbee too.
Gerald Everett With Magnificent Concentration
Rookie tight-end Gerald Everett had one reception against the Colts, but it was a great reception. Goff will find Everett match on a one-on-one against Colts linebacker Jon Bostic, as Everett will beat I’m on a wheel route up the sideline. However, what happens next, is how beautifully Everett made his only catch. Goff threw the ball the along the sideline as Everett created separation from Bostic. Everett dove out, and with high concentration, he makes a diving catch.
However, his youthfulness took center stage for a moment as he may have had an NCAA flashback after hitting the ground. He’ll pop up and looked as if he was satisfied with the play, and suddenly makes a move away from the defender who failed to touch while he was down. Everett took off toward the end-zone where it seemed as if he was scoring his first NFL touchdown. Everett will gain seven additional yards on a 39-yard reception and stopped at the five-yard line.
Excellent job from the rookie, but he must remember to fully adjust from the NCAA to the NFL as for a split second, hesitation may have indeed coasted him a touchdown. No question about this selection of general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay, he’s advertised of great potential and talent in this league.
The receiving core of the Rams did something that had been missing over the years, catching the football. Lead by rookie sensation Cooper Kupp (4 receptions for 76 yards and 1TD), four different receivers had catches, eight in total including the backs and tight ends. Kupp made a tremendous one-handed catch and picked up additional yards by nicely placed pass by Goff.
Cooper Kupp's One-Handed Circus Catch
Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods were introduced to the Colts defense early by hauling in a few catches. Kupp makes a beautiful out-stretched one hand catch that was placed beautifully for a 24-yard reception, to showcase his great hands.
Tavon Austin played sparingly and only caught one pass for a seven-yard gain. Again, pointing out the fact that the Rams receivers were catching the balls and moving the chains. That was something the fans hadn’t witnessed since the glory days of the “Greatest Show On Turf.” Not that I’m comparing the two, just establishing the fact that passes completed and receivers were holding onto the football.
It was no secret that the Rams all-pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald was not in the lineup, in fact, was not even on the 53-man roster. Donald who had held out some six-plus weeks for a contract extension returned to Rams practice facility on Saturday afternoon.
However, the game still would be played without Donald, as the Colts prepared to target what they thought was the Rams defensive line. The learned quickly that even without Donald in the field, that it was not going to be a cakewalk. In Donald's absent, the Rams would play both veteran lineman Tyraunn Walker and rookie Tanzel Smart. Walker seemed to have the better play of the two as he made some key stops against the run and creating one of the four sacks of Tolzien.
All eyes need to set on returning defensive lineman Ethan Westbrook. Westbrook made his presence be felt early in the game as he crashed the offensive line and tackled Frank Gore for a loss. Next, Westbrook nearly sacked Tolzien but still was able to cultivate him into the turf approximately. Later he attained his destiny by finally catching Tolzien in the backfield for the sack. The Colts offensive line must have overlooked Westbrook's talent as he continued to see causing disruptions in the backfield.
The Colts intention was to establish a run game early with Aaron Donald absent from the defensive interior line. However, that plan temporarily halted after being stopped on their first two attempts to follow by a pick-six interception.
Colts down 10-0 early in the first quarter, turned to their passing game. Tolzien went to his tight-end Jack Doyle for a 21-yard pass completion with Alec Ogletree on the coverage. Two plays later Colts found something in exposing Ogletree with another 20-yard completion to Doyle. Ogletree seemed to be caught out of position on both Doyle receptions but, buckled down after that last reception to shutout Doyle.
Robert Quinn playing in his first game as a linebacker looked like a veteran in his first game at that position. The highlight of Quinn's game, was when he rushed off the edge low and violently, blowing right pass tackle Anthony Castonzo, sacking Tolzien. Quinn appeared to be having fun out there at his new position, as he frequently was in the backfield.
Matt Longacre playing in his first opening season game took advantage of his opportunity by registering one sack and one tackle for a loss. Connor Barwin and Mark Barron had a relatively quiet game for both players. Second-year linebacker was all over the field with a substantial third-down stop as well as on special teams. These linebackers will need to be ready for the Redskins next as they will establish a run game early.
Robert Quinn Sacks Tolzien
The defensive backs set the tone very early in the first quarter for the Rams and later in the third quarter as both Trumaine Johnson and LaMarcus Joyner each picked off quarterback Scott Tolzien for interceptions returns.
The defense needed to play a solid game because they were still missing their all-pro defensive tackle who had just returned from a contract dispute. The Colts tried to attack early with a couple of runs, and on a third and seven, Tolzien attempted to complete a pass to receiver T.Y. Hilton. Great defensive play of Johnson, read the route turned his head would intercept the pass running back for a touchdown.
In the third quarter, LaMarcus Joyner had his opportunity as he leaped high in the air to snatched down a pass intended again for Hilton, and took it to the house. It planned to be quite evident that the Rams were not going to let Hilton shred the defense.
Trumaine Johnson and LaMarcus Joyner Pick Sixes
Johnson not done, as he caused more havoc for the Colts offense, as he created a forced fumble and recovery, as Hilton tried to shake Johnson after a short pass reception. Hilton would pick up the first down, but a quick poke by Johnson caused the ball to squirt out as he pounced on top.
Kavon Webster, the starting corner, left the game early in the third quarter with an apparent shoulder injury but played well before exiting the game. Rookie undrafted free agent defensive back, Dominique Hatfield left the game with a concussion-related injury but was solid while on the field.
The secondary was able to minimize the Colts passing game with a combined total of 179 total receiving yards. The Colts gained 50 of those yards on a fourth-quarter pass by replacement quarterback Jacoby Brissett, hitting Donte Montcrief deep. Moncrief made a significant adjustment to the ball to beat reserve corner Blake Countess; the Colts would score a few plays later.
The defensive backs were flying all over the field batting down passes, hitting ball carriers, and of course, intercepting the football. The Rams will be optimistic that they continue to play with that same level of intensity when they play the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
The Rams special teams were like money in the bank, safe. It gets no better than Rams veteran punter Johnny Hekker. Rams recently this week awarded Hekker with an extension to lock him up through 2022, and $10 million guaranteed.
Hekker pinned the Colts inside of the 10-yard line practically every time he punted the ball. He leads the league with spotted punts and rarely is there a return. Look below and watch Hekker's craft in ball placement.
Johnny Hekker Pins The Football Inside the 10
Hekker who went to his third consecutive pro-bowl looks as if he'll be making a reservation once again this season.
Kicker Greg "Legatron" Zuerline, has been Mr. Automatic from the preseason to week one against the Colts. He yet to have missed a kick, and have been planting the ball in the back of the end zone during kickoffs.
Legatron nailed a 50-yard field goal against the Colts to give the Rams an early 3-0 lead. He kicked two more fields to remain perfect for the season, including this P.A.T.'s. His leg and Hekker's makes a single kicking punch that can use as the 12th man.
Cory Littleton, Samson Ebukam, and Josh Reynolds added great special team contribution too.