INGLEWOOD, Calif. – In Thursday night's 30-22 win over the Saints, the Rams scored 28 or more points for the fifth straight game.
Those five games have also overlapped with running back Kyren Williams being healthy again for Los Angeles.
In other words, the two go hand-in-hand. Williams again eclipsed 100 rushing yards – while also contributing in many other ways – in the victory and has been an important part of this 4-1 stretch for the Rams.
"No doubt, we're different when he plays," Rams head coach Sean McVay said postgame. "I mean, you just look at it, now there's enough inventory, and the energy, the production, just the overall work ethic. There are so many guys on this team that you just say, 'man, they are exactly what we're looking for in Rams.' I love him and I'm really so proud of the way that he responded."
Williams posted 22 carries for 104 yards and 1 touchdown, to be exact, becoming the first Rams running back since Todd Gurley in 2018 to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. This came one week after he went over 1,000 scrimmage yards, becoming the first Rams running back to reach that mark since Gurley hit 1,064 in 2019.
"I think it means more to me because I'm able to share it with my teammates, because it's been a grind," Williams said of crossing 1,000 rushing yards this season. "It's been a grind from (training camp in) Irvine to where we are now, it's been a long grind and we're coming together. We're gelling as an offense, as a whole team playing complementary football. So it's been fun. Getting 1,000 yards, that was my goal, but I'm not satisfied. I'm going to go get a lot more. Just gotta keep playing ball with my friends."
Overall, it was the fourth time in five games Williams went for more than 100 rushing yards – meaning he's done it in all but one game so far since his Week 12 return from an ankle injury.
Yes, that production on the ground has helped keep the Rams' offense on schedule. But go back and listen to what quarterback Matthew Stafford said postgame, how "everything" that Williams is doing jumps out to him.
As the scrimmage yards indicate, he's been a reliable target in the passing game for Stafford. He's also been an enthusiastic blocker in pass protection when the the ball hasn't been in his hands – the endzone view of the all-22 video analysts routinely serve as defining examples of the saying "pass pro isn't passive."
"He brings great energy to our offense, great energy to our team and obviously a guy that can kind of do all of it which is rare these days," Stafford said postgame.
It's not just the play energy, work ethic and production that makes Williams a difference-maker for Los Angeles' offense. He has generated explosive run plays, but his vision, patience, footwork and ability to set up blocks also play a big role in his ability to improvise those times when the holes aren't there.
Take the 7-yard carry he had when the Rams were on their own 5-yard line, for example. Or the 10-yard touchdown run with 5:47 left in the third quarter. The 7-yard run set up a 2nd-and-short and preceded a 22-yard completion from Stafford to tight end Tyler Higbee. The 10-yard run obviously resulted in meaningful points in the second half.
"Unbelievable," McVay said Monday of that skillset. "His ability to create in contested areas, and you just mentioned, to be able to set blocks – a play might be blocked for three, and then you're sitting up there, and those guys up top (tell you), 'Hey, it's second down and two.' I say, 'Oh! That's a hell of a deal right there.' I mean, he's just enabled us to be able to stay on schedule, and he gets more than what's there. He does a great job of being able to work in collaboration and coordination with our offensive line, with the tight ends. He really understands and owns the intent of each of these plays, where they're designed to hit, what is the design of the play, and (running backs coach) Ron Gould does a phenomenal job of really keeping him on the screws with the discipline and the detail. But this has been something that's made him a special player, going back to his high school days, and then at Notre Dame, and it's really fun to watch him shine."