RAMS: It is fun once again to be a Rams fan. Los Angeles possesses the highest scoring offense and continues its impressive campaign under first-year head coach Sean McVay.
The Rams improved to 5-2 after crushing the (3-4) Cardinals, 33-0, in London last Sunday. It was the Rams’ first-ever win on the opposite side of the Atlantic.
Rams linebacker, Alec Olgetree crushed the Cardinals’ playoff hopes when he potentially ended Carson Palmer’s season and forcing him to throw an interception in the 2nd quarter. Palmer is expected to have surgery and miss up to eight weeks.
McVay looks like the definitive “Coach of the Year” coming into the midpoint of the NFL season as he has figured out how to utilize the young weapons he has inherited.
Jared Goff completed 22 of 37 passes for 235 yards, an interception, and a touchdown. Goff added another touchdown rushing. Through the first seven games of the season, Goff has thrown for nine touchdowns and has only been intercepted four times all season.
Last year, as a rookie, Goff played in seven games and finished with just five touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 112 of his 205 attempts for 1,089 yard, almost 700 yards less than this year’s total through seven games. He is averaging almost 100 yards more per game than his first season under center.
Gurley rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries on Sunday. The Rams are 4-0 when he rushes for 100 yards or more. He has managed to gain over 100 in each game they have fed him the ball more than 20 times this year. Gurley’s eight touchdowns-- five rushing and another three receiving-- are already two more than he scored last year and only two less than his breakout debut season that earned him the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Last week I said it would be essential for Wade Phillips and the Rams defense to stop Adrian Peterson, and they utterly shut him down. Peterson finished the game with 11 carries for just 21 yards.
The Rams have a league-best plus 74 points differential. The defense has been stingy when on the field with nine interceptions while the offense has been able to put together long drives that consistently hangs points on the board.
Greg Zuerlein was a perfect 4-for-4, including a 53-yard field goal and kicked three extra points against the Cardinals.
The Rams will have a bye this week and will begin scheming for their Week 9 matchup against Eli Manning and the struggling Giants.
CHARGERS: The Chargers shutout the Denver Broncos, 21-0, last Sunday at StubHub Center. With the win and the Chief’s loss to Oakland, the Chargers gained another game on the upper half of the division for the second week in a row.
The (3-4)Chargers have strung together three straight wins, including two straight against divisional rivals, improving their divisional record to 2-1 and suddenly are in playoff contention in the AFC West.
Travis Benjamin was a human highlight reel against the Broncos. Benjamin broke off a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter and then caught a 42-yard dagger in the fourth quarter.
Philip Rivers completed 15 of 26 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Most importantly Rivers protected the football and avoided throwing any picks.
Melvin Gordon rushed for only 38 yards on 18 carries and caught a pass for six yards.
The Chargers defense swarmed Trevor Siemian, sacking the Bronco’s quarterback five times. Joey Bosa and Chris McCain each had two sacks and Melvin Ingram had one.
Casey Hayward caught his first interception of the year. Hayward had seven picks last season.
The Chargers will face the league’s worst pass defense in the New England Patriots next week, who are on a three-game winning streak of their own. Los Angeles pass rushers will need to get to Tom Brady and disrupt his timing. He has been sacked 18 times through the first seven games and is on pace to tie his career high with 41 sacks.
The Chargers have 23 sacks on the season and currently ranks fourth in the league in sacks per play. Ingram has 8.5 sacks so far, fourth best in the NFL, while Bosa is ranked sixth with 7.5.
The Patriots will look to exploit the Chargers poor rushing defense with the New England running back committee of Dion Lewis, Mike Gillislee, James White, and Rex Burkhead.
The Charger will need a big game out of Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon against the Patriots f they have any hope of being 4-4 heading into their Week 9 bye. There are high hopes in the Chargers locker room after dropping its first four games of the season and a win against the defending Super Bowl champs will give them the boost they will need going into the final stretch of the season.