For the Rams, now comes the harder part.
When their schedule came out, the opening stretch of games against eastern opponents looked like a real slog. But the unexpected top-to-bottom weakness of the NFC East left them facing only one team with a winning record in Weeks 1 to 5. The current records of past and upcoming foes, after the NFL’s 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. games Sunday, paint a different picture:
• Rams’ first six opponents: 11 wins, 21 losses, 1 tie (.348).
• Rams’ next 10 opponents: 32 wins, 22 losses (.593).
That’s counting NFC West opponents twice, since the Rams have two games against Seattle (5-0), Arizona (3-2) and San Francisco (2-3 going into Sunday night’s Rams-49ers game).
The next four Rams games — and seven of their last 10 — are against teams with .500 or better records.
The new slog starts with a Monday night, Oct. 26 game against the Chicago Bears (5-1) at SoFi Stadium.
Ready to go
Linebacker Micah Kiser, the Rams’ leading tackler before a groin strain, returned Sunday after missing one game.
The Rams’ inactive players against the 49ers were wide receiver Trishton Jackson, tight end Brycen Hopkins — both inactive for every game so far — running back and kick returner Raymond Calais, center Brian Allen and linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (elbow).
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald played his 100th NFL game Sunday against the 49ers.
The NFL said Donald’s 79.5 sacks are the most in league history by an interior defensive lineman in his first 99 games.
Sacks became an official stat in 1982.
Heads or tails?
The Rams won their fifth straight pregame coin flip Sunday, and kicked off again after deferring their choice to the second half.
“I can’t tell you our secret,” wide receiver Cooper Kupp, one of the Rams’ captains, said recently. “We’ve got a pretty good thing going right now and I don’t want to ruin it. So we’re going to keep it behind the curtain.”
Quarterback Jared Goff said he and Kupp “consult” on whether to go heads or tails when the Rams have the call on the road.
The streak is nothing like the Rams’ uncanny run at the start of last season, when they won 10 straight coin tosses.
Todd Gurley’s first season with the Atlanta Falcons is going better than his last season with the Rams, who released the running back in March.
Gurley’s rushing averages of 70.3 yards a game and 4.3 yards per attempt for Atlanta are better than his 57.1 and 3.8 with the Rams in 2019. His carries were up from last season, 16.5 vs. 14.9 a game. He had his best game since 2018 with 121 yards on 14 carries against Carolina in Week 5.
Like the Rams, the Falcons have been giving Gurley one day off from practice each week to manage his knee condition.
“I feel good,” Gurley told Atlanta reporters before Week 4. “I’ve been able to practice. I have my one day off, but I’ve been able to get out there and practice.”
Two other ex-Rams are off to improved starts.
Brandin Cooks’ 4.5 receptions and 61.1 yards a game in his first month in Houston were up from his 3.0 and 41.6 with the Rams last season, and his two touchdowns match last year’s total.
Greg Zuerlein has made 88.9% (8 of 9) of his field-goal attempts for Dallas, up from 87.1% and 72.7% in his last two Rams seasons. Zuerlein has missed two extra points, already matching a career high.
Gurley’s, Cooks’ and Zuerlein’s teams, however, are a combined 4-13.