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L.A. Rams

Rams Score Timely “Bounce-Back” Win

“Key” Road Game vs. 1st Place Cardinals Coming On Monday Night Football

All Photo Credits: Los Angeles Rams/Social Media, Except for Coach McVay

QB/Matt Stafford raises his arms in celebrating a touch down pass, one of three he completed in the Jacksonville Jaguars game on Week #13.

(East Los Angeles, CA) December 6, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The Rams treated their So- Fi fans and perhaps a few million more viewers with a predictable, but yet well-deserved victory against the AFC’s Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday 12/5, winning by thirty points with a final score of (37-7). The Rams improved their record to (8-4) and established a good hold on 2nd place in the NFL’s NFC/West Divisional standings. Next up on Monday Night Football, 12/13, are the Arizona Cardinals (10-2), currently in 1st place in the standings. Kick-off is slated for 5:15 PM |PT.

Here are Head Coach Sean McVay’s and QB/Matt Stafford’s, complete post-game transcripts as issued to credentialed Rams media outlets for publication.

*{Rams Head Coach Sean McVay}:

Opening Statement)…
“Okay, guys. Great team win. That was exactly what we had talked about. A lot of respect for those guys. They’re a really tough football team.  But for us to come out ready to go in all three phases, I thought there was major contributors in all three phases. But winning the turnover battle, doing a lot of the things that we had talked about, it really came to life. It was awesome to see (WR) Brandon Powell be able to start the game off with a big kick return. I thought that was big from special teams. We didn’t turn the football over offensively, we got takeaways, we got after the quarterback. There’s a lot of things that were really very positive about today. We got to be able to build on this. Really tough to see (OL) Brian Allen get injured. I don’t have information on his knee. I’ll have updates for you tomorrow, but (OL) Coleman Shelton stepped in and did an outstanding job. I thought he had great poise throughout. (OL) David Edwards was able to return. And then (RB) Sony (Michel) really carrying the load did an outstanding job just like I thought he would.”

(On RB Sony Michel’s steady play today)…
“Exactly what we had talked about. We were able to stay on schedule, we were able to keep people off balance. I thought it was good to be able to mix up a lot of different personnel groupings, really utilize all hands-on deck. It was good to get (OL) Joe Noteboom in there. Sony was great. That was exactly what we had talked about and it was good to see it come to life.”

(On the progress WR Odell Beckham Jr. is making)…

Yeah, I think he’s doing good. He had the hip pointer. You know, he was a little bit banged up, but he still wanted to contribute for his teammates. I thought that 27-yard catch that he had really was something that kind of sparked us and then Sony ended up punching it in from five out. And then he had the touchdown on the fade. He definitely took his time and was nice and patient on that one. He’s a joy to be around and he’s only going to continue to get better. But hopefully he’ll be able to practice so he can continue to get the timing and rhythm. But been pleased with (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.).”

(On if RB Darrell Henderson Jr. could play today)…“He could have. You know, we had him up, if some circumstances presented themselves. Hopefully he’ll take steps in the right direction.  But based on how the game unfolded, we didn’t feel like we really needed him, but I think it’s a really positive reflection on (RB) Darrell (Henderson Jr.) to be available for his teammates if that did come up.”

(On what made the difference today for QB Matthew Stafford)…“What did you see? I saw a guy who managed the game. I thought he did a great job. I thought on some of the third downs, he’s doing a great job being able to move in the pocket, find guys. We had a couple drops that were really key and critical potentially, but we were able to overcome them. What I loved about both (WR) Van (Jefferson) and (WR) Ben (Skowronek), being able to drop some of those third downs, is both those guys came back and made big plays. Ben on the 35-yarder down the middle was a big time catch that we had to have it versus a pressure they were giving us. And then Van being able to come back on the touchdown, he did a great job. But (QB) Matthew (Stafford), he played like he’s been playing. I think we were able to avoid just a couple of those little things that do come up. He was a great leader today. He’s always been a great leader. He played great. Not in the least bit surprised.”

(On how important it is for him to play error-free if the team is going to make a playoff run)…“Well, I think any time, really, if you’re just going to go ahead and say, ‘Let’s find a way to go compete to the best of our ability next week against a great football team.’ He’s our guy. We go as he goes. But the best thing I would say is, he doesn’t do anything other than play within himself. That quarterback position is so vital to the success but he’s such a special talent. He’s got such a special way about himself with people, just keep being himself and enjoying playing. And that’s what I saw from him today. And to be able to come back after that shot he took, deliver a great throw to Van over the middle and get us in scoring position, I think just continues to personify the toughness in everything that’s right about Matthew Stafford.”

(On the hit Stafford took that knocked him out of the game)…
“I think it was just his sternum. He’s a tough guy. He won’t tell me anything. ‘I’m good, I’m good.’ ‘What’s wrong with you?’ ‘I’m good.’ So he’ll probably say that to you guys too.”

(On the importance of a decisive win today): “I think it’s really important. I mean, really, find a way to start playing our best ball in December. Obviously, November was a challenging month. We look at it, we own it, but I think our guys did a great job of being able to just stay steady, trust in the process. And, really, we got mentally tough guys. This is going to make us stronger in the long run. I do believe that. And now, let’s enjoy this, and let’s come back ready to work for a big-time game next week.”

(On how we evaluate ourselves as we get ready for a game against Arizona next week)… “I thought it was a great step in the right direction. There’s obviously been some adversity over these last three games. We had to sit on the bye coming off of a loss. We talked about playing as a team. All we can do is play the schedule that we’re given. Every single game is so difficult. You look at the caliber of team that the Buffalo Bills are, and this is a team that ended up taking them to the wire and finding a way to win 9-6. And so, you don’t take any wins for granted in this league. It sure feels good to be back on the winning side of things and now we got to be able to build on it. But I was really pleased with our team and now we got to just start stacking blocks.”

(On his thoughts about OLB Von Miller’s performance)
“I thought he played really well. I thought our defense as a whole, I thought we earned those opportunities to be able to rush the passer. It seemed like the pocket was pretty much collapsing all day and so (OLB) Von (Miller) did a nice job today.”

(On the performance of LB Ernest Jones today)
“I think we got in some situations that really express his ability a little bit more. We were in more favorable down and distances for us defensively where they’re forced to kind of throw it. We get a lead and there’s was a lot of the stuff that we loved out of (LB) Ernest (Jones) coming out of South Carolina. You get his feel his range, his ability to be able to sense things and diagnose them. I think our defensive staff has done a great job of just continuing to help him improve. (Linebackers Coach) Chris Shula has done great, (Defensive Coordinator) Raheem (Morris) has done great and really pleased for our whole coaching staff. They did a great job today.”

(On the forced fumbles and controlling the running game)…“Big focus. It was a big focus and concentration. (Jaguars RB James) Robinson is a really tough back. They’ve done a nice job being able to churn out tough yards and being able to control the football in some of their games. That was a big focus and concentration for us. Our guys did a great job upfront.”

{Rams QB Matthew Stafford}

(On the hit he took to the chest that made him sit out a play)…
“Yeah, just holding the ball, trying to work the route to the field a little bit and got hit. Didn’t feel great. Was able to kind of walk it off and keep playing so I’m good now. I feel fine.”

(On it he just got the wind knocked out of him)…
“That was a part of it. Just a little chest shot. Had to kind of check myself, make sure I was all good.”

(On if his sternum is intact)…
“It is in one piece at the moment.”

(On the mixed personnel groupings and how the play action and performance of Sony Michel helped the offense)…
“Yeah, I got to give (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) a lot of credit. That was a great game plan we had in this game. And then really, the guys that were asked to play more than they played probably this season stepped up and played great.  (RB) Sony (Michel) I thought ran the ball really well. Kind of going into the week, seeing the plan unfold, and I’m like, ‘This is a Sony Michel type of game.’ He’s just going to slug it out, wear on these dudes. I thought he was great in the pass game too. Gave him some opportunities in the pass game, did some nice stuff. I get a great view from where I’m at of him running the football and some of those four, five, six-yard runs are just things of beauty. And, you know, he’s a heavy guy. You know, when he starts running, I think the defenders feel it, so I was happy for him. I thought (OL) Joe Noteboom when he was asked to step in there and played really well. And, really, all of our tight ends played really well as well. I’m just happy for our guys. Happy we were able to come out with the win.”

(On the forced fumbles and controlling the running game)…“Each game is its own entity. There’s no question about that. It’s nice to get a win after three subpar performances. So, you know, I was happy for that for our team. Got a big one coming up next week, obviously and have to watch the tape and find ways to get better. You know, we got to stay on the field on third down a couple more times. Had a third and one that was stuffed. Had a couple third downs that I could probably throw a better ball on the first one to (WR) Ben (Skowronek). He’ll tell you he probably wishes he could have made that catch. I had one down the red zone to (WR) Van (Jefferson) as well. Just opportunities that didn’t hurt us in the game but might hurt us in another one, so we have to make sure he cleans those up. It’s nice to get a win and be able to clean those things up. But continuing to focus hard on the little things and those will make a big difference.”

(On how this game felt for him with no turnovers after committing turnovers in the past three games)…
“I just try to attack each game and treat it as an opportunity to go play great. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. I thought we had a great week of practice as a team. I thought we were dialed in, came out here on game day and played well. It boils down to execution. And I feel like our guys did that at a really high level. I tried to make sure that I wasn’t putting the ball in harm’s way and our guys were getting open to make catches so that’s nice.”

(On what it means to have a successful running game)…“Yeah, I mean, I think we did a great job of staying efficient in the run game. It definitely takes an effect on the defense I think. Sony was running the ball really physical. Our guys upfront were really pushing the pile and doing a great job. A lot of those runs were downhill stuff, and he was doing a great job of that. But it helps you be efficient and stay ahead of the chains. I would have liked to have converted a couple more third downs off of that and make those things count and put some more points on the board but overall, I thought they did a really nice job in the run game today.”

(On how the run game today helped the passing game)“Yeah, I think in the play action game, we hit a few today. I think they did a great job panic dropping out of some of these. Tried to get that on the field a couple times and those backers were hauling trying to make sure that after they played the run, they weren’t going to let anything over their heads, so they did a nice job in some of those areas as well. I was able to sneak one to (WR) Coop(er) Kupp down the sideline there. That was really man coverage so that was a good one too. But it all ties into it. I thought our defense played great. Offense did some nice things and special teams starting the game like that with BP (WR Brandon Powell) with the big return was awesome and (P) Johnny (Hekker) down late in the game inside the five was nice too.”

(On what sets WR Cooper Kupp apart)…
“I mean, he does everything right, you know? I don’t know, people probably watch him on TV and think he’s 5’10 and runs 4.6 and all that kind of stuff. He’s 6’2, 210, and runs great.  He’s got a great feel for the game. He’s a great competitor. He understands the game. He does everything right. He leads that receiver group in the right way, so I pinch myself every day. Just happy I get a chance to play with a guy like that. I have a lot of respect for how he goes about his business and how he goes about attacking each opportunity, whether it be practice or games. And then he’s great on game day. Run after the catch, getting open versus man, feeling voids versus zone. He’s got a great feel for the game of football.”

(On how things are progressing with WR Odell Beckham Jr. in this offense)
“Yeah, I think it’s getting better and better. Obviously, I hit him for the fade for a touchdown. Hit him on a nice little cross on a keeper, which was great. Just missed a chance at a big one. Love the way he was digging for that ball. However far that was, I wish I would have dropped it two yards shorter and gave him a chance. I really am impressed with his ability to step in and seamlessly kind of learn his role in this offense. It’s been impressive for a guy that’s unfamiliar with what we do before he got here. I give him a lot of respect for that. And also, you know, he’s toughing it out, feeling a little crummy from last week and was out there and when he had his opportunities to make plays, he made them.”

(On what changes when the center goes out with an injury)…
“Well, one guy snaps it righty, the other guy snaps it lefty. That’s different. No, I can’t say enough about (OL) Coleman (Shelton). That was a heck of an effort. This game is funny. You feel like you’re going into a game, you know the plan, here we go, here we go, then all of a sudden, drive one, he’s down, drive two, (OL) David Edwards was down and able to come back in and play. But I thought Coleman did a great job. Great job commanding. And that just goes to his preparation as a player. He’s got a great coach in Carbs (Offensive Line Coach Kevin Carberry) that’s coaching him. He had an opportunity to go out there and play and I thought he played really well. Are there things that are different? Yeah, absolutely. And things that we can clean up that are a hair off? Certain plays? Yes. But when he was in there, he was battling, he was commanding the line of scrimmage which I thought was great. For the most part, I thought he played really well.”

(On what it means to instill confidence in the young receivers by continuing to go back to them)… “Yeah, I think No. 1, push them because those guys can do it. And they really can. And I’ve got all the faith in the world in Van and Ben and some of the guys that are younger that are getting kind of their first opportunities in this league. Push them because I know they can do it. I wouldn’t sit there and push them if I didn’t think they could. But at the same time, understanding that those things are going to happen and that’s okay. You don’t want them to happen and continue to find ways to help them learn. Just help them learn. ‘Hey, got to continue to focus.’ These are all plays they can make. They make them 100 times out of 100 and sometimes they don’t happen. But I got a bunch of trust in those guys. I’ll continue to work with them. Those practice reps are valuable and when we get those opportunities in practice to make sure that the focus is like it is on Sunday and make sure that, ‘Hey, if I’m throwing you this ball in practice, the chance we get this shot in a game and, you know, just go out there and execute.’ So it will be good. I’m not worried about those guys in the least bit. I just want to continue to watch them grow and help them as much as I can and get us to where we want to be.”    ##RAMS##






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