Mistakes and Familiar Faces Cost Rams a First Round Bye

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Updated: December 11, 2017

Sunday was the biggest game the Rams have had in fifteen years. Yes, the Coliseum was predictably packed with Eagles fans but it was still a playoff atmosphere. The Rams and Eagles battled it out to a 43-35 decision that cost the Rams a shot at a first round bye. Despite all the scoring, the difference came down to several costly mistakes, and a few familiar faces. Going forward the Rams need to win out the rest of the season if they are to hold onto the three seed in a suddenly upside down NFC playoff race. The Rams season hinges on Sunday’s game in Seattle.

Defensively, the Rams struggled against the run. Despite picking off Carson Wentz on the opening drive the defense struggled against the fast paced Eagles offense. What makes matters worse is that they possibly lost starting corner Keyvon Webster to an Achilles injury. Depth hasn’t been something the Rams had the luxury of in their secondary. Trumaine Johnson struggled in coverage and made some mistakes including one that awarded the Eagles a red zone possession when the defense had made a third down stop. It’s debatable what the conduct was that netted him a flag but he still put himself in position to be flagged in the first place. Aaron Donald was a monster but he too received a costly penalty that would’ve given the Rams more time on their fourth quarter drive.

Jared Goff acquitted himself quite well. He consistently found targets all over the field. Todd Gurley found success in the run game. The offensive line dealt with several injuries to Rob Havenstein and Andrew Whitworth. The mistakes came in the form of holding penalties that stifled potential scoring drives. Former Ram Chris Long stripped Goff in what became the biggest of all the mistakes. That set up the Eagles game winning drive. Carson Wentz is now out for the year on a torn ACL and former Ram Nick Foles (who closed out the game yesterday) will be leading the charge. If the Rams get a chance at revenge in Philadelphia it will be a very different game.

The Rams can’t afford any more mistakes down the stretch. They play Seattle for the NFC West crown and this is the most vulnerable Seahawks team in years. The Rams could lock up the third seed by winning out down the stretch granting them a home playoff game. Now that they’ve had a chance to measure themselves against the top tier NFC teams they know what they must do to make a real playoff run. Health will be a big concern but luckily the offense gets Robert Woods back.

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