By Doug Nelson
No question about it, Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks was a bitter pill to swallow for the Los Angeles Rams fans. Especially because a home loss to a division rival is never much fun. Here my thoughts on the positives and negatives from the game.
We'll start with the negatives, because losing is always a negative.
Turnovers- You aren't going to win many games when you turn the ball over five times, it's as simple as that. Outside of the final score itself, this was the biggest concern coming out of this game. You simply can't do that on a regular basis and be a playoff caliber team. Gurley, Goff and Austin all share some responsibility for this lost.
Todd Gurley- The Seahawks for the most part did what Dallas couldn't accomplish, shutting down Gurley. In my humble opinion, the Rams gave up on him too soon and became one-dimensional in the second half. It's not like we were way behind either.
Sammy Watkins- Watkins was targeted twice if I remember correctly, with neither pass completed. You don't leave a Lamborghini parked in your garage (at least I wouldn't).
Tavon Austin (as a punt returner) - Tavon did some good things in this game, he just didn't do them as a return man. The fumbling has gotten to be a recurrent problem, and the fact the Seahawks were not able to score points off of his muffed punt doesn't mean it's not a problem. It is a big one at this point, because it keeps happening.
The Rams Defense- Granted, the Seahawks are not an explosive offense, but this was the best overall performance by our defense since opening day against the Colts. Yes, Russell Wilson did what he does, escaping several near sacks, I get that. But when you turn the ball over five times and only give up 16 points, something is going right. Not a perfect performance, but better.
Emergence of John Johnson (Safety)- Johnson had himself a day, playing so well the Rams felt comfortable releasing former starter Mo Alexander on Monday. While I’m guessing there is more to Alexander's release than we know, it likely wouldn't have happened if Johnson hadn't played so well. For that matter, I thought Cody Davis also played well subbing for LaMarcus Joyner. Safety suddenly looks like a strong position for the Rams.
Jared Goff (The final drive) - OK, the Rams fell short in the end, but Goff seemed like a polished veteran, leading the team down the field against one of the league's best defenses and doing it with no timeouts. Another step in Goff's journey from being a tackling dummy to becoming a possibly elite NFL quarterback.
Aaron Donald- Yeah, the Seahawks O-line isn't great, but Aaron Donald is starting to look like Aaron Donald again, and that is VERY good news for the Rams.