Get on the Horn: Rams Week 3 Preview vs Buffalo Billscsudhbulletin September 27, 2020 0 COMMENTS
The Rams changed their logo ahead of the 2020 season once again, coming a long way from their early logos like this one from the 1950s. Photo from WikiCommons
By Matt Barrero, Assistant Sports Editor
LAST WEEK –
The Rams improved to a (surprising) 2-0 record last Sunday after a huge road victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, 37-19.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE(s) –
Quarterback Jared Goff completed 20 of his 27 pass attempts for 267 yards and connected with tight end Tyler Higbee for all three of his passing touchdowns. Higbee went on to finish the day with five catches for 54 yards. Head coach Sean McVay continued to incorporate his running back by committee scheme as running backs Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson Jr. and Cam Akers each got a share of touches. Early in the game both Akers (separated ribs) and Brown (fractured finger) suffered injuries which allowed Henderson to take complete control of the run game. He went on to finish the day with 12 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown.
DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE(s) –
The Rams defense showed off its colors early as linebackers Micah Kiser and Kenny Young forced a fumble on the third play of the game and gave the offense excellent field position that eventually led to the opening score. The Eagles were driving midway through the third quarter when cornerback Darious Williams intercepted a Carson Wentz pass in the end zone which would have been a guaranteed touchdown and would have given Philadelphia the lead. That play was the turning point of the ballgame as the Rams defense locked down the rest of the day and only allowed three points the entire second half.
THIS WEEK –
The Bills are next on the slate as the Rams will wrap up their back-to-back East Coast trips with a game in Buffalo Sunday morning.
This will be just the 13th time the two teams will meet and the first time since 2016 (the first season since the Rams returned to Los Angeles). In that 2016 contest, Buffalo controlled the game from the get-go and easily defeated the Rams 30-19. In the four years that have passed both teams have improved both sides of the football which makes for an evenly matched contest come Sunday. The Bills currently hold a record of 7-5-0 against the Rams overall.
PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR :
QB Jared Goff – Goff has put together solid numbers in the young season passing for over 500 yards and throwing three touchdowns. He has an overall completion rate of 69% and QBR (Total Quarterback Rating) of 77.9. With a Bills defense that allowed Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for 328 yards and two touchdowns, look for Goff to continue his hot road play from last week’s three touchdown performance. He’ll go head-to-head with quarterback Josh Allen, who currently leads the league in passing yards with 729 yards and is tied for second in the league with six passing touchdowns.
WR Robert Woods – ‘Bobby Trees’ (the inherited nickname from teammates and fans) will be playing his first game against his former employer. Woods formerly played in Buffalo from 2013-2016 before the Rams signed the Southern California native in 2017. Woods has proven to be a dual-threat option in McVay’s playbook showing off both his running and receiving game week-to-week. Look for a Woods ‘revenge game’ and highly productive afternoon.
CB Jalen Ramsey – Ramsey has been one of the most highly touted cornerbacks in the NFL. At only 25, Ramsey has shut down some of the top receivers in the game and expects nothing less of himself week-to-week. The task will be the same come Sunday as Ramsey will more than likely match up with Bills top wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs is currently tied for first in the league with 239 total receiving yards through the first two games.
GAME CHANGERS :
Rams play action offense: Since McVay’s takeover in 2017, the Rams have been a staple for running a play action offense. They have been one of the most successful teams in the NFL when running play-action passes. Goff has played significantly better these first two games compared to a drop in last season’s play-action numbers. In Week 2 alone, Goff completed 12 passes off play action. Look for a heavy balance of run and pass options through the play action against a formidable Bills defense.
Bills first competitive game of the young season: The Bills are looking to become the new top dog in the AFC East with the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots and scrub teams New York Jets and Miami Dolphins rounding out the division. Yes, the Bills are 2-0 on the season, but they played the two worst teams not only in their own division, but the whole league. Teams who could possibly go winless the entire rest of the season. Not to mention, they held off a late comeback by the Dolphins just last week only winning by three (31-28). The Rams have shown how good of a team they are on both sides of the ball. This will be a great test for both teams but more specifically this will be the first challenge the Bills face in 2020.
Home field advantage is non-existent: The Bills Mafia is one of the most hardcore fan bases you will find in the entire NFL. They’re loud. Obnoxious. Vulgar. In a normal season, the trip to Buffalo would be at the bottom of any team’s wish list. The difference now is 2020. New York State issued COVID-19 guidance to allow professional sports to be played without spectators back in June and the Bills organization complied with the rules stating, “guidelines will remain unchanged for at least our first two home games in 2020.” Home game number two for the Bills is this weekend versus the Rams. While this may sound like an out for the Rams, the fact remains having actual fans in a 70,000+ stadium does not even compare to an empty stadium with pumped in crowd. While this may be a tough road test in general, the Rams will be playing on neutral terms.
FUN FACTS :
Since Sean McVay took over as the Rams head coach in 2017, the team has dominated early kickoffs (10:00 a.m. PT) on the East Coast. They are 5-0 in such games, scoring at least 30 points in each one and outscoring their opponents 185-89.
They will look to go 6-0 in such games this Sunday morning 10:00 a.m. PT on FOX (September 27).
RAMS 42, BILLS 34