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With bye week at midpoint of season, Rams get time to reflect and prepare for crucial stretch

Similar to last year, the bye week falls right at the halfway point of the 2020 season for the Rams.

A 5-3 through the first eight games provides confidence, but they also recognize that there's still room to improve as the second half of the season approaches.

"We've got some time to reflect, get away from it, come back," Rams quarterback Jared Goff said during his postgame video conference. "We're 5-3, we're right in it. We've got to win some games though. Got some gritty games coming up and we'll be ready."

From wide receiver Robert Woods' perspective, the common thread between Los Angeles' wins and losses in the first half of the season was the offense's ability to get off to fast starts and sustain that tempo throughout the game.

In the their first four wins, the Rams scored a touchdown on their first offensive possession in each game, averaging 8.5 plays and 4.5 minutes on each of those possessions. Their fifth win – Week 7 against the Bears – was an exception; however, they bounced back and mounted a five-play, 2.5-minute, touchdown-scoring drive on their second offensive series.

In their first two losses, the Rams didn't score until the second quarter. In their third loss, a sack-fumble by defensive lineman Aaron Donald set up a three-play, 15-yard touchdown-scoring drive, but the Rams' own turnovers made it difficult to replicate that success.

"I've been saying the same thing for a while now, got to start fast and play consistent throughout the whole game," Woods said during his postgame press conference. "You see our defense playing and play well. It's really just playing consistent, starting fast."

Week 8 aside, the Rams have otherwise been able to overcome deficits and slow starts thanks to the performance of their defense after halftime.

The Rams' defense has allowed seven or fewer points in the second half in seven of their first eight games, also coming up with timely turnovers that have helped spark rallies or clinch victories.

That said, it's not a reason for L.A.'s defense, offense or special teams to be complacent during the bye week.

"I think that Woods said it best, don't take this week off, find something you can get better at, watch film, just improve your game," Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers said during his postgame video conference. "Don't take this week as a week off to do whatever you want to do. Actually stay in tune, stay with it and come back ready to go."

As Goff alluded to, Los Angeles' record has it positioned a half game behind Arizona for second in the NFC West standings entering Week 9. Those standings overall: 6-1 Seattle, 5-2 Arizona, 5-3 Los Angeles, 4-4 San Francisco.

At the same time, the Rams face the Seahawks, Buccaneers, 49ers and Cardinals – all of which have a combined 20-9 record – coming out of their bye week. With that kind of stretch on the horizon, now is the time to rectify mistakes and prevent them from repeating down the road.

"We won five out of the eight, probably could have won six, maybe seven, depends on who you ask," Rams safety John Johnson III said. "We're playing some good football, we're seeing some good flashes but we really want to play our best football in late November and December, so that's what we're working towards."

The Los Angeles Rams take on the Miami Dolphins for Week 8 at Hard Rock Stadium. The Rams look to improve their record to 6-2 before heading into the bye week!

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