ATLANTA – Complementary football was the name of the game for the Rams on Sunday, authoring a complete performance in a 37-10 win over the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A victory likely doesn't come without contributions made on offense, defense and special teams.
Here are five instant takeaways from the matchup:
1) PASS RUSH HELPED BY RAMSEY'S PRESENCE
LB Dante Fowler must've felt really good about reuniting with one of his favorite teammates from his NFL career. DT Aaron Donald is likely thankful for both.
With new CB Jalen Ramsey mixed into the secondary, the Rams defense set a new season-high with five sacks against the Falcons. It was a credit not only to Los Angeles' front seven, but the efforts of Ramsey as well as Troy Hill, Darious Williams and Nickell Robey-Coleman against one of the NFL's top passing offenses entering Week 7.
Ramsey's impact was felt right away – just ask Fowler, who notched his first three-sack game of his NFL career, and Donald, who notched his fourth sack of the season.
2) BONES DIPS INTO BAG OF TRICKS
Special teams coordinator John "Bones" Fassel is no stranger to trick plays, and the successful execution on one against the Falcons only added to that reputation.
Facing a 4th and 3 from the Atlanta 46, L.A. chose to go for it. Punter Johnny Hekker took the snap, but dropped back to pass instead of kicking the ball, making a 23-yard completion to safety Nick Scott. The Rams not only got the conversion, they got inside the Falcons 25 yard line and eventually added three points on a 25-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein for a 13-3 lead with two minutes left.
More directly, Fassel's unit accounted for the final points of the game when CB Darious Williams recovered LB Troy Reeder's forced fumble on a punt return in the endzone.
Tally up the field goals, the touchdown and what the trick play led to, and special teams accounted for 16 of the Rams' 37 points Sunday afternoon.
3) OFFENSIVE LINE ADAPTS SEAMLESSLY AS EDWARDS EXCELS
On defense, Ramsey's involvement was going to be the major focus. On offense, it was rookie David Edwards making his first career start at left guard.
Edwards passed with flying colors.
The former Wisconsin standout, primarily a right tackle in college – and that was after converting over from tight end prior to the 2016 season – displayed poise, athleticism and plenty of signs that he's capable of holding down that starting job for the foreseeable future. He also seemed to have good chemistry with the rest of the starters.
It's remarkable, and a credit to Edwards' work ethic and development, when you consider he had never played the position until he got to Los Angeles and began learning it during OTAs.
4) TAKEWAYS FOR DAYS
Making Falcons QB Matt Ryan a spectactor was going to be a key to slowing down one of the NFL's most explosive passing offenses. It would either have to be done by controlling the lock with a steady rushing attack, or literally taking the ball away from Ryan or one of his offensive teammates.
The Rams defense and special teams rose to the challenge and achieved the latter.
With one interception and two fumble recoveries, L.A.'s defense matched it season high for takeaways with three, producing the same amount against the Panthers in the season-opener. Rams LB Cory Littleton's interception led to a touchdown scoring drive that began at the Falcons 16, while Donald recovering the fumble created by his own strip sack led to a 20-yard field goal by kicker Zuerlein that punctuated 30 consecutive points scored by L.A.'s offense. The second forced fumble came via special teams and was highlighted above.
All told, the Rams were able to produce 17 of their 37 points off of the three turnovers.
5) RAMS REWARDED FOR TRUSTING THE PROCESS
Goff's postgame comments about what this win means to Los Angeles were telling.
Despite beginning the week in uncharted territory due to the first-ever three-game losing streak of the Sean McVay era, the Rams didn't force any changes dramatic changes because of the skid, he explained. They simply just maintained their faith in each other and the coaching staff.
Their reward? Improving to 4-3 overall in the first of two games across a 10-day road trip and a confidence boost heading into next week's game against the Bengals in London.