Snap Count Analysis: Rams Able to Rest Defensive Starters vs. Cardinals

Los Angeles paired a dominant defensive performance with near-career days from quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver Brandin Cooks, en route to a 34-0 shutout over Arizona. L.A. also had some key contributions from a few members of the special teams unit to keep control of the game. 

Here are the snap counts from all three phases in Week 2.

DEFENSE

— With L.A. having complete control of the game midway through the fourth quarter, the Rams removed their defensive starters for the remainder of the contest.

— The starting secondary of Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Lamarcus Joyner, and John Johnson played the most of any starters at 35 snaps (78 percent).

— Signal-caller Cory Littleton was also on the field for 34 snaps (76 percent). The one play he was not in for came early in the second quarter, when a Rams blitz seemed to confuse the Cardinals' offensive front and outside linebacker Samson Ebukam ended up with his first sack of the season.

— Nose tackle Ndamukong Suh played the most of anyone on the defensive line rotation, recording 33 snaps (73 percent). Defensive tackle Aaron Donald was in for 30 (67 percent), and Michael Brockers 21 (47 percent).

— Starting in place of the injured Mark Barron, Ramik Wilson played 20 snaps (44 percent). Safety Marqui Christian played the majority of the time at that spot in known-passing situations, with 30 snaps (67 percent). Christian finished second on the team with five total tackles.

— Cornerback Sam Shields was in for 11 plays, mainly in the fourth quarter when the outcome had all but been determined. And he was productive, recording his first interception since Dec. 2015.

— Outside linebacker Justin Lawler has played one defensive snap in each of Los Angeles' first two games of the season. In Week 1, he had a tackle for loss. In Week 2, he prodded a block for Shields after the cornerbacks' interception. That's making the most of limited opportunities.

OFFENSE

— The offensive snaps were distributed a bit differently than last weeks' contest against the Raiders.

— Seven offensive players played each of Los Angeles' 72 snaps: quarterback Jared Goff, left tackle Andrew Whitworth, left guard Rodger Saffold, right guard Austin Blythe, right tackle Rob Havenstein, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, and wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

— Center John Sullivan was in for 65 snaps (90 percent). He appeared to suffer a leg injury at the end of the first half, but nevertheless played all but one drive in the second half.

— Rookie center Brian Allen played the offense's final seven snaps (10 percent), which finished with Goff's touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Higbee.

— Wide receiver Robert Woods played 70 snaps (97 percent), recording six receptions on nine targets for 81 yards.

— Tight end Tyler Higbee was in for 64 snaps (89 percent), and his first catch of the season turned out to be a three-yard touchdown. Despite playing over 90 percent of snaps against Oakland in Week 1, Higbee didn't receive a single target.

— The first tight end reception of the season came courtesy of Gerald Everett. In his eight snaps (11 percent) he caught a 17-yard pass.

— Running back Todd Gurley left the game because he was cramping, but was fine after the game. He totaled 49 snaps (69 percent), accounting for 77 total yards and three touchdowns.

SPECIAL TEAMS

— When kicker Greg Zuerlein went down with a groin injury in pregame, punter Johnny Hekker was forced into kicking duty as well. He ended up playing nine snaps (50 percent). Two of those were punts. Hekker kicked off five times with two touchbacks. And he connected on the first field goal and extra point of his career.

— With Hekker kicking, wide receiver Cooper Kupp served as Los Angeles' emergency holder, playing two special teams snaps.

— Returner JoJo Natson was also in for nine special teams snaps (50 percent), averaging 22.2 yards per return on six punts — including one return of 60 yards. He also took the only Arizona kickoff of the game 22 yards to open the game.

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