The Los Angeles Rams would’ve loved to snap their five-game losing streak by beating the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon, but despite a valiant effort at home, they came up just short against their division rivals.
They lost 27-23, giving up a game-winning touchdown to DK Metcalf with less than a minute to play after they had taken the lead just a few minutes prior. It was one of the Rams’ better performances in recent weeks, which is a step in the right direction, but it still wasn’t enough.
Here’s a look at which players impressed and which ones put together disappointing performances.
Stud: Brandon Powell
Powell has been involved in the offense at times this season, but never as heavily as he was on Sunday. He caught all four of his targets for 39 yards, also rushing for 45 yards on only three carries. That’s an average of 12 yards per touch, picking up good chunks of yardage every time he had the ball in his hands.
Powell may not be the biggest or fastest player, but he uses his quickness and agility to elude defenders whether he’s on the outside or running between the tackles on jet sweeps.
Stud: Bobby Wagner
Wagner played with a little extra fire against his former team on Sunday, absolutely stuffing the stat sheet in a way few players have this season. He had seven tackles, two sacks, two QB hits, three tackles for a loss and an interception, the first time in his career he had two sacks and a pick in the same game.
He was all over the field, playing his usual leadership role in the middle of the defense. Wagner was also fired up on the sideline at one point, rallying his teammates in the second half with a passionate speech.
Stud: Tutu Atwell
Atwell played a similar role as Powell, contributing both as a runner and receiver. He caught two passes for 48 yards and rushed for 23 yards on four carries, with his biggest play being a one-handed grab across the middle that went for a 30-yard gain.
He could’ve had a couple of touchdowns, too. On his first chance, he just barely failed to get both feet down in the end zone, and later on, John Wolford badly underthrew him on a deep shot where Atwell was way behind the cornerback.
Stud: Michael Hoecht
Hoecht suddenly has become one of the more impactful defenders the last two weeks, and he had the best game of his career on Sunday. He only had three tackles, but one of those was for a loss and he added two sacks. He forced a fumble on one sack, which was recovered by the Rams, pressuring Geno Smith throughout the afternoon.
Hoecht has already become a more effective pass rusher than Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis and he shouldn’t lose his starting spot even when Hollins returns from his back injury.
Stud: Bobby Brown III
Brown had several great reps at nose tackle in this game, both as a pass rusher and run defender. He finished with just one tackle, which was a stop behind the line of scrimmage, and he also pushed the center back into Smith’s lap for a pressure when the Seahawks were backed up against their own end zone. He’s shown some promise on the interior since returning from suspension.
Dud: John Wolford
Wolford’s biggest problem is his lack of arm strength, and that was apparent on Sunday. Too many times Wolford left passes short of his receivers, including on the Rams’ final play of the game when he underthrew his target by seemingly 25 yards. It’s still unclear who he was throwing to on that play.
Wolford finished with no touchdowns and two picks, completing 14 of his 26 passes for just 178 yards. He did make some impressive throws, like a deep out to Van Jefferson after the Seahawks jumped offsides, but he followed that up with an ugly pick.
Duds: Derion Kendrick and David Long Jr.
Kendrick has gotten every chance to rebound from some rough performances but he continues to get picked on by opposing quarterbacks. Smith threw his way a bunch, and with a lot of success – including on a key 17-yard pass down the seam to set up the Seahawks’ game-winning touchdown.
In the second half, he also gave up a 40-yard reception to DK Metcalf down the right sideline, failing to get his head around to make a play on the ball.
Long wasn’t much better, looking lost in coverage on Noah Fant’s touchdown in the back of the end zone. He’s given up his share of big plays throughout the year, too.
Dud: Tyler Higbee
Higbee has really fallen off in 2022. He caught just two of his five targets for 14 yards, dropping one pass and stumbling to the ground after another one, which thankfully didn’t cost the Rams on their second-to-last drive. Higbee always battles through injuries and is tough as nails, but he hasn’t had a good season.