What We Discovered from Payments’ season-opening win over Rams on Thursday

September 9, 2022

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  1. Allen, Payments make assertion. Technically, Josh Allen didn’t have an ideal evening. He took a sack and threw two interceptions, in spite of everything. However anybody watching Thursday’s sport is aware of that the primary one was clearly on the receiver; chalk the second decide as much as a fantastic play by Rams cornerback Troy Hill, who learn the throw fantastically. Earlier than and after that, nevertheless, Allen was a machine. As soon as he was in a position to make use of his legs extra within the second half — each on scrambles and designed runs — the Rams had no reply for him. By way of three quarters, there have been zero passes of 20-plus air yards. Then on the primary play of the fourth quarter, Allen confronted a Cowl-0 blitz and dialed up a deep ball to Gabe Davis for 47 yards. Three performs later, he launched into the top zone. How do you cease him? Two picks couldn’t do it. Allen, everybody’s MVP favourite, is off to a blazing begin.
  2. Is there purpose for Stafford concern? It’s simple pickings to surprise if Matthew Stafford is totally wholesome. After all of the offseason tales about his elbow, how may we not? There have been instances within the sport the place he threw extra excessive than I can bear in mind, however that’s hardly proof he’s in some way favoring it along with his throwing movement. Stafford’s first interception regarded like a miscommunication with tight finish Tyler Higbee — arduous to know who’s guilty. On the second INT, Stafford tried to dial up his Tremendous Bowl magic with the no-look (three-quarters arm angle) go to Cooper Kupp, however Stafford was excessive and off-target with it. Was it a reasonably outing? Not within the least. However the Rams’ blocking points and incapability to run the ball out of 11 personnel made his job quite a bit tougher. There could be a bodily component to Stafford’s Week 1 struggles, however let’s not simply default to that assumption after one sport.
  3. Hats off to the Payments’ protection. A lot of the discuss coming in was how the Payments’ younger corners may battle. However rookies Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford (a sixth-rounder who performed FCS ball a 12 months in the past) held up extraordinarily nicely, and Dane Jackson had a decide. The Rams, arduous as they tried, simply couldn’t get the Payments out of these two-high seems to be a lot of the evening. When you possibly can’t run the ball, that’s powerful. It appeared to frustrate Stafford and Sean McVay from a big-play standpoint — the alternatives had been few and much between. Payments defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier technically operates with an old-school mentality: make the offense matriculate down the sphere eight, 10, 12 performs at a crack. The pondering is that errors will occur. That philosophy panned out in a giant manner Thursday. The Payments bought good strain a lot of the evening (particularly early) from Von Miller and what seems to be like a a lot deeper defensive position group. The Rams helped them by pass-protecting poorly, they usually had just one drive longer than 38 yards within the sport’s first 55 minutes. However credit score is deserved for a Buffalo protection that hauled in three picks and 7 sacks. It was an incredible effort.
  4. Dorsey has spectacular debut. Payments offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey was in his bag early on in his first regular-season sport as a play-caller. These considerations about shedding Brian Daboll are yesterday’s information (for now). Dorsey had Allen working some rollout performs that Cam Newton used to with the Panthers again when Dorsey was his QB coach. On the TD drive that put the Payments up 17-10, Dorsey used Allen as a runner just a few instances, leading to his highlight-reel stiff-arm of Rams security Nick Scott. Combine that in with the surface zone toss performs — a Kyle Shanahan staple — that seem like a brand new wrinkle and Dorsey was in a position to maintain the Rams’ protection off-kilter a number of instances. So, he’s drawing from different crew’s ideas whereas additionally retaining the core of the playbook that Allen excelled with the previous few years. It’s arduous to argue with that components.
  5. The place was Cam? The Rams used working again Darrell Henderson extensively early within the sport — and on all eight performs of the opening drive — whereas Cam Akers principally sat. This was after Akers declared earlier this week that, “I do know I am wholesome.” He added: “Everyone else will simply get to see (Thursday). I’m not making an attempt to go present anyone that I’m wholesome. I’m simply going to play my sport.” Akers’ first carry got here a couple of minutes into the second quarter, leading to a no-gain. He’d end with two carries for zero yards. Is it too early to be involved? After all. It’s Week 1. The Rams have 10 days till they face the Falcons. A few of his utilization might be attributed to the rating getting a bit out of hand. Maybe the soft-tissue damage Akers handled within the preseason remains to be barking a bit, too. However how the Rams use their backs early this season might be price monitoring. Akers’ fantasy homeowners definitely might be. 
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Subsequent Gen stat of the evening: The Payments didn’t blitz on any of Matthew Stafford’s passes Thursday evening. The one different zero-blitz video games by a protection (within the NGS period) had been additionally by the Payments in video games towards the Chiefs in 2020 and 2021.

NFL Analysis: The Rams’ 21-point loss was the second-largest all time for a defending Tremendous Bowl champion, only one level fewer than the Ravens’ 22-point loss at Denver in 2013 (Peyton Manning’s first sport with the Broncos).