INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The Rams' second three-game win streak of the season looked a lot different than the first.
Chief among the discrepancies: Never at any point did during their first did they have 29 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, let alone one. They weren't missing two members of their coaching staff for any of those games. Not a single game was postponed, either.
In spite of those circumstances, Los Angeles rallied Tuesday night, with multiple individual performances in their 20-10 win over the Seahawks at SoFi Stadium embodying this week's resiliency.
"First of all, what an incredible job really by our organization as a whole – staff, coaches, players," Rams head coach Sean McVay said as he began his postgame press conference. "I mean, you know, you look at (Rams Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his group, (Director, Football Operations) Sophie Harlan, so many people were instrumental in even getting us to a position be able to play this game. And I couldn't be more impressed with just our coaches, our players' ability to be able to bottle up – there's a lot of emotions. This was a heavy week, navigating through all the things that we went through. But for our guys to come in here perform the way that they did, I thought the fans were outstanding, just so many people. This was a big time win for our team."
Indeed, from start of preparing for Tuesday's game through the game itself, it took an all-hands-on-deck approach.
The Rams didn't practice until Saturday, and when they did, they were so under-manned, according to McVay on Saturday, that they had assistant coaches and support staff filling in on the "look teams" in order to have the number of bodies necessary to get things done in an efficient manner.
The personnel uncertainty went to the wire, too, as players were being activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list less than five hours before kickoff, while assistant quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson handled running backs coach/assistant head coach Thomas Brown duties and offensive assistant Nick Jones handled offensive assistant Zak Kromer's duties (Brown and Kromer were the two coaches unavailable for the game).
Four hours before kickoff, the number of players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list was trimmed to 16, with the Rams only missing three starters in right tackle Rob Havenstein, tight end Tyler Higbee and safety Jordan Fuller.
On offense, running back Sony Michel ran for a team-high 92 yards on 18 carries. Tight end Brycen Hopkins made a 9-yard catch for a third-down conversion. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp had another big game with nine catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
"I got a lot of trust in the guys that were still available at that point," said Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, when asked if this win was hard to imagine with 29 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list at one point. "There were sometimes during the week where it was just every day it felt like half of our team was getting added to the list. I got to give our training staff a bunch of credit for doing a great job of handling that. Guys on our team that we asked to step up and play significant roles tonight did a great job."
On defense, defensive back Jalen Ramsey – activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list two days before gameday – had two key third-down pass breakups and turned in five total tackles. Outside linebacker Von Miller – one of the players activated off the list less than five hours prior to kickoff – notched his first sack as a Ram, a third-down takedown of quarterback Russell Wilson that forced the Seahawks to punt, and six total tackles (second-most on the Rams defense). Safety Taylor Rapp made the game-clinching interception. Linebacker Ernest Jones wore the green dot, filling Fuller's role as on-field defensive signal-caller and helping guide a defense that held the Seahawks to 214 total yards of offense.
"Whether I practice or not during the week, it don't really matter to me," Ramsey said. "I prepare myself mentally and physically as best as I can to be ready to play games."
"Just control what you can control, and try to keep my mind set on things I know how to do, and go out there and play," Miller said.
The Rams face a short turnaround to prepare for this Sunday's Week 16 road game against the Vikings, but they'll do it behind the momentum of a confidence-building performance forged in the face of adversity.
"I think what we've seen from this team is these guys are mentally tough," McVay said. "They've stayed connected. Some of the adverse moments we've been through, these guys find a positive in that. I think that's really developed a good armor for us to be able to sustain some of that adversity and respond the right way. Whether it's in games or throughout the course of the week. Really proud of this team, really proud of these players."