The Rams defeated the Chiefs on Monday in one of the wildest regular-season games in league history. While the final score of 54-51 says a lot, there’s plenty to analyze from the matchup.
Here are Five Takeaways from Week 11 as the Rams head into their bye week.
1) EVEN FOR AARON DONALD, THIS IS RIDICULOUS
Outside linebacker Samson Ebukam was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week — and he absolutely earned it. But even as he did, defensive tackle Aaron Donald was probably the second-best defensive player in the NFC this week.
Donald recorded a pair of strip-sacks on quarterback Patrick Mahomes — both of which led to Los Angeles touchdowns. The first directly so, as Ebukam scooped up the loose ball and scored.
As good as Donald has been throughout the course of his career, he’s somehow become even better in 2018. He was the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 after recording 11.0 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and 27 quarterback hits — among his other impressive feats. This year, he’s already recorded 14.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and 28 quarterback hits — in just 11 games.
Donald is going to have a real chance to break the NFL single-season record of 18.0 sacks by an interior lineman before the year is done.
2) ROBERT WOODS IS MR. CONSISTENT
Wide receiver Robert Woods has been one of the most consistent receivers in the league since he arrived in Los Angeles last year, and that’s now reflected in the franchise record books.
With four receptions for 72 yards in Monday’s game, Woods tied a Rams record with 10 consecutive games of at least 70 yards receiving. That’s a particularly longstanding record, set by Elroy Hirsch all the way back in 1951.
Woods has already set a career high with 904 yards receiving in 2018, and it stands to reason both he and Brandin Cooks (who currently has 964 yards receiving) will give the Rams two players with over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time since 2006 in the next couple games.
3) TEs ARE OFFICIALLY MORE INVOLVED
Making a combined nine receptions 112 yards and two touchdowns, it’s fair to say tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett have become significantly more involved in the offense.
Higbee’s six catches actually marked a career high, with his previous high being four receptions in last year’s Week 5 loss to the Seahawks. Higbee caught six of his seven targets on Monday, including a key catch on the left sideline during the Rams’ final go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter.
As for Everett, he’s now made three touchdown receptions in the last two games, including the final two scores in Monday’s victory over the Chiefs. While no one will probably forget Everett’s final 40-yard touchdown as he tiptoed his way along the sideline to stay in bounds to give L.A. a 54-51 lead, his first touchdown was also quite impressive.
On 3rd-and-goal from the K.C. seven, quarterback Jared Goff found Everett coming from right to left in the end zone on a crossing route. Everett secured the catch with a slide to give L.A. a 47-44 lead. It was a tough play in a significant situation, and shows the progress Everett continues to make as a receiver.
The Los Angeles Rams host the Kansas City Chiefs for Monday Night Football at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
4) END OF A STREAK
If someone had told you before Monday’s kickoff that the Rams would score 54 points in the game, you probably would’ve assumed running back Todd Gurley would’ve been a significant part of that.
As in, you probably would’ve thought the NFL’s leader in points probably would’ve scored at least one touchdown in the contest.
Well, as you probably know now, he didn’t.
And that breaks a franchise record streak of Gurley scoring a TD in 13 consecutive regular-season games.
Head coach Sean McVay revealed to the media in his Tuesday conference call that Gurley did roll his ankle early on in the contest, which did affect the running back’s snaps and production early. However, Gurley was able to break off a 24-yard run late in the third quarter, as well as catch a few effective screens.
Gurley finished with 94 yards from scrimmage, also going over 1,000 yards rushing in the contest.
5) A CHANCE TO CLINCH
Another perhaps ironic note — Los Angeles is one of two teams on a bye in Week 12, but the club is the only team with a chance to clinch a playoff spot.
If the Seahawks lose to the Panthers on Sunday, the Rams will win the NFC West.
With 10 wins already, the worst L.A. can finish in 2018 is 10-6. Seattle is currently 5-5, and since the Rams swept the season over the Seahawks, the Rams own the divisional tiebreaker. That means if Seattle loses a sixth game, they’re officially out of contention for the NFC West.
It’s no guarantee, but in theory all the Rams would have to do to clinch this week is sit back, relax, and watch.
“I think that would be pretty cool. We can only control what we can control, but I wouldn't be upset if the Panthers came away with a big win this weekend,” McVay said with a laugh.