by Diego Marquez
After finishing the season atop the NFC West with an 11-5 record in 2017, the Los Angeles Rams were surprise contenders for the Super Bowl title. Now, after the 33-13 demolition of the Oakland Raiders this past Monday, the Los Angeles Rams are making true of everyone’s predictions – or at least looking the part.
Let’s begin with the Ram’s defense. Allowing Oakland’s running back, Marshawn Lynch, to plow through the defense early in the game for an impressive touchdown run that featured him carrying numerous Los Angeles defenders into the end zone for the score.
But that was it. Other than the Lynch score and Jared Cook, the Raiders’ tight end, finished the game with 180 yards receiving on 9-of-12 targets and was a bright spot for the Raiders on a day that seemed to have a gloomy result. Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson finished with one reception for 9 yards and three catches for a total of 23 yards, respectively.
Adding defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and trading for Aquib Talib and Marcus Peters, the Rams bolstered their already stout defense that includes defensive backs Lamarcus Joyner and Nickell Robey-Coleman, along with defensive linemen Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, the Rams looked as formidable as any defense.
With defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in control of the reigns, there was no telling the lengths that this defense could go to be heralded as one of the all-time great defenses in the National Football League and it showed against the Oakland Raiders.
Third-year quarterback, Jared Goff threw two touchdown passes in the season-opening win for the Rams, one to running back Todd Gurley on a 19-yard shovel pass and the other on an 8-yard reception to wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Outscoring Oakland 23-0 in the second half the Rams showed why the team is considered one of the favorites in the NFC to make it to this year’s Super Bowl. The receiving corps of Kupp, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks adds another dimension of unpredictability for the Los Angeles offense. Combined with a defense that looks to already be a lot more improved than a year ago, it’s scary to think that this is only Week 1 and the Rams have just yet begun this year’s conquest of being the No. 1 team in the National Football League.