Rams know ‘it’s on us now’ after playoff race rivals fall – Press Enterprise
The Rams’ best Sunday in a while happened when they weren’t playing, instead sitting and watching as the rest of the NFC West completed an 0-3 week.
Life is about to get harder.
Out of the bye week and into the fire, the Rams (5-3) host the division-leading Seattle Seahawks (6-2) this Sunday at SoFi Stadium, beginning a four-game stretch that could determine if they’re playoff material.
“I certainly wasn’t upset to see those teams not come away with wins,v Coach Sean McVay said Monday. “But if we handle our business, you don’t have to get into the business of watching other teams (and) relying on other outcomes to occur.”
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp called it “a pretty solid bye week.”
“They did us some favors there,” Kupp said of the opponents that beat Seattle and Arizona (5-3) on Sunday and San Francisco (4-5) last Thursday night, “and it’s on us now to go out there and make sure we take care of our end of things.”
Tied with Arizona for the sixth and seventh spots in the seven-team conference playoffs, the Rams face four weeks that include games against all of the other NFC West teams as well as a Monday night road game against Tampa Bay (6-3).
But first, Seattle. The Seahawks have one of the league’s best offenses to go with one of its worst defenses, although Buffalo found a way to pressure quarterback Russell Wilson into mistakes in the Bills’ win Sunday. The matchup is a test for the Rams’ strong pass defense and a chance for quarterback Jared Goff to bounce back from his own day of turnovers in the pre-bye loss at Miami.
Linebacker Kenny Young said Monday was a “reset day” as the team returned to its practice facility.
“We play some great teams (in the next few weeks),” Young said. “We’ve been playing some good ball. But we need to get a little better to be the dominant team we want to be.”
Kupp didn’t go for the word “reset.” But he said the Rams have “things we need to correct” after putting sloppy losses to the 49ers and Dolphins on either side of a good win over Chicago.
“I don’t think we need to reinvent the wheel here. It’s just about dialing in on the details,” Kupp said. “I think we’re a very good football team. We’ve got some great players, we’ve got great coaches who are going to put us in incredible positions to make plays, and it’s just on us to make plays.”
McVay said he has seen more surprising games than usual this season and attributed it to “competitive balance.”
“That’s what you love about it. Every single week, there’s that ‘Oh my gosh, can you believe it?’” he said. “But I feel like even more so this year than ever.”
That, he said, makes it imperative that the Rams put their recent ups and downs behind them.
“I think it’s the teams that will have the mental toughness, the resolve and the ability to play the most consistent ball week in and week out that will be standing at the end,” McVay said. “We’re going to do everything we can to be one of those teams.”
ENDS AND ODDS
The Rams began the week as 1-1/2-point favorites over Seattle as they try to improve to 4-0 at SoFi Stadium. … After other teams’ losses Sunday, the Rams’ chances of making the playoffs improved to between 63% and 76%, according to several websites that calculate those things. … Safety Jordan Fuller was cleared to resume practice after being on injured reserve for three games with a shoulder and neck injury. McVay said he plans on the rookie playing against the Seahawks. The coach didn’t say if Fuller or Taylor Rapp would start. … Rams management and players were active before the election in encouraging people to vote. Young said players discussed the election results on Monday but were focused on football. Young was pleased to see Sen. Kamala Harris become the first woman on a winning national ticket. “That’s just amazing, what we’ve done as a country,” Young said. … McVay said he did some work during the Rams’ week off but did relax, and he and his fiancee began watching “This Is Us.” He said the family drama on NBC “sometimes made me want to cry.” … Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, whom McVay refers to as “the big fella,” is on track to make his Rams debut Sunday. He was activated from the non-football-injury list before the Miami game but didn’t suit up. … McVay said linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is making progress recovering from a sprained ankle but will miss a fourth game.