By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
It was an impressive way to turn things around as the Rams went through a tough month of November with no wins and plenty of criticism and doubts about all the moves that were made with high profile players. The Rams (8-4) had lost three in a row to the Titans, Forty-Niners and Packers.
None of that mattered after a convincing 37-7 win over Jacksonville in front of 70,281 fans at So-Fi Stadium.
Brandon Powell got things off to a good start returning the opening kick-off 65 yards. Powell was just signed off the practice squad. The effort drew praise from Rams head coach Sean McVay.
“He (Powell )did a great job, so yes, we want to continue to have him return those kicks. I thought it was a really well blocked return and I thought he did a great job being decisive and getting vertical. (S) Terrell (Burgess) was outstanding on that play. “
That helped give the Rams an early 3-0 lead after Matt Gay connected on a 40-yard field goal.
Along with a Sony Michel one yard score Gay’s three first half field goals would be all the scoring for the home team as they took a 16-7 halftime lead.
Mathew Stafford completed 26 of 38 passes for 295 to go with three TD passes. The big news, no interceptions.
“He’s our guy,” said head coach Sean McVay. “We go as he goes.”
This follow a month where the veteran QB had six turnovers including three interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.
Stafford bounced back solidly as he had help from Michel who filled in for Darryl Henderson had his biggest day yet as a Ram rushing for 121 yards on 24 carries. Michel had a nifty 25 yarder. He appears to have settled in after joining the team near the end of training camp.
“He’s physical. He’s tough,” McVay said. “He’s got great contact balance and really good vision. He’s just strong. When you’re just looking at (RB) Sony Michel, he’s a sturdy, tough back. So, all of those things are really reflective. He’s really conscientious, really smart.”
Cooper Kupp had a solid day with 8 catches for 129 yards including a 29-yard catch and run from Stafford. Kupp who leads the league in receptions and receiving touchdowns was targeted 10 time for his eight catches. It was his seventh game with 100 receiving yards.
“He (Kupp ) is amazing. He just does such a great job. He’s got such an understanding of what’s going on. You see sometimes the attention that is paid to him and I think it is important to try to be able to get everybody involved, but he certainly maximized his opportunities to the fullest and it’s like anything else.”
Tyler Higbee had 5 catches for 48 yards and Van Jefferson added 6 for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Odell Beckem Jr. caught 2 passes for 28 yards and a touchdown pass from Stafford. It was his second game he had a TD.
The Defense did a great job holding the Jags (2-10) to just 192 yards of offense. They forced two fumbles and only allowed 5 of 12 third down conversions.
Ernest Jones and Jordan fuller led the way with 9 and 8 tackles respectfully.
Aaron Donald who was doubled and tripled all day had to go with a sack and a forced fumble where he nearly tore Jags running back James Robinson in half. Jalen Ramsey had recovery which led to a Ram TD.
Next up the Rams Battle Arizona on MNF on the road.