Since Sean McVay was hired as the Rams head coach, the team has not lost two regular-season games in a row.
You’ll probably hear that a lot this week, as Los Angeles prepares for its second matchup of the season with Seattle.
McVay himself was asked about that on Monday, and noted that it mainly has to do with the team’s ability to respond.
“Don't let the Saints beat us twice,” McVay said, using a mantra players echoed time and again following a loss in 2017. “I think our players have done a nice job when you do face small forms of adversity, of not allowing that to affect us moving forward. I think that's a credit to both the coaching staff and the players. For us, it's about moving forward in the right way, using this as a good tool and being consistent with our approach week-in and week-out. That's what we expect to do this week.”
Even though no one likes to lose and no one wanted to lose, there was no sense of panic within Los Angeles’ locker room on Sunday after taking the first L of the season.
“Everybody’s got to be humbled and this was our day,” running back Todd Gurley said.
“We are disappointed that we lost, but we are going to fix it,” defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. “We aren’t panicking, we aren’t worried about anything, we are going to make the corrections and fix it and be better.”
“This game right here might be a blessing in disguise, because the Rams, we came out and fought back, so you never see us fold — we are definitely a scratch and claw back,” defensive lineman Michael Brockers said. “This is definitely, I think, a blessing in disguise. It will help us play a lot better, it will help us play a little bit looser, too.”
Playing loose — does that mean the Rams felt pressure to stay undefeated? Players gave some varied answers to that, but there does seem to be some relief that reporters won’t ask that question any longer.
“Yeah, I think it’s natural, but we didn’t go into the week saying, ‘Oh there’s pressure, we have to stay undefeated’ — it’s nothing like that,” safety John Johnson said. “But, I just think it’s natural to — everybody but us wants us to be perfect, so it’s a little bit of pressure. I thought we did a pretty good job of blocking out the noise, but there is a little bit of a relief.”
“I don’t, I don’t think [there’s a relief of pressure],” quarterback Jared Goff said. “I think we are just one week at a time and hopefully move on to 9-1 against Seattle.”
“The pressure is off, the pressure is off. No more media, ‘We are the great team, no one can beat us, da da da,’ the pressure is off, so y’all can leave us alone,” Brockers joked.
On Monday, McVay said he didn’t get the sense that players were tightening up in certain situations given the club’s record going into Week 9, saying “I certainly felt like these guys were consistent with the approach.
“Just so happens that we played against a really good football team yesterday and we didn't make enough plays to be able to get it done,” McVay continued. “There's a lot of things that everybody can do — starting with me — to be better moving forward and that's what you love about football. Whether you win or you lose, we come in today, we correct the mistakes, we use it as a positive to move forward and now we get ready for Seattle, whether you end up winning or losing that game.”
The Rams take on the Saints at the Superdome in Week 9.
It’s that consistent approach that Los Angeles will bring into the upcoming week, with players and coaches each able to seemly turn the page to attack the needed preparation for Seattle.
“Oh, we’ll be fine,” Gurley said Sunday. "Back to work tomorrow. Same process, same thing. We know how it feels to lose. So we’ve got a tough game next week, a big one for us — NFC game, Seattle. Just got done playing those guys a couple weeks ago. So, we’re excited, we’re looking forward to it.”
“Losing’s never fun. But like I said before, it’s a learning experience,” punter Johnny Hekker said. “We’re going to see how mentally tough of a team we are. We’re just gonna work our tails off to make sure we’re prepared for a Seahawks team that’s playing some really good football. Big division game at home — this is never something you want to be ill prepared for. So we’re just going to use this as a learning experience and come together.”
“I think the sense that we got from our players yesterday and from our coaching staff is that, if anything, it creates an added sense of urgency. That feeling in your gut when you wake up and you're kind of just sick because you didn't get the result that you wanted is something that you can't create unless you do end up losing,” McVay said. “We try to be consistent whether you win or lose, but there is something that is created just based on not getting the result that you wanted. If you got the right mindset as far as looking at what can I do to be a part of the solution, getting better. Can't wait to get back out and get another opportunity to compete and try to erase this feeling that you do have. I feel like our building shares that same feeling and we're excited about getting to work on the Seahawks this week.”