Rams coach Sean McVay said Monday that left tackle Andrew Whitworth, safety Taylor Rapp and kicker Kai Forbath will go on injured reserve after getting hurt in Sunday’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
In Whitworth’s case, the news wasn’t as bad as feared, although it can’t be good for a team to lose the 6-foot-7, 330-pound protector of its quarterback’s blind side at a time when it needs its offense to step up.
Whitworth’s left-knee injury, a grade 3 sprain of the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments, is likely to sideline him for six to eight weeks, McVay said in a video press conference.
Unlike anterior cruciate ligament damage, Whitworth’s injury does not necessarily put him out for the rest of the season, which has seven weeks left plus playoffs if the Rams qualify.
“It’s just another representation of why this guy is an alien,” McVay said of the 38-year-old, 15-year NFL veteran, a two-time All-Pro. “The big fella came out about as good as it could be, the way that it looked (when he went down).”
Whitworth posted an Instagram message on Monday morning describing the setback as “an opportunity to lead in a different way while also rehabbing myself back ready to ride with my teammates.”
Whitworth, who has started 220 NFL games, will be replaced by second-year pro Joe Noteboom, who has made eight starts at guard and none at tackle.
No surgery is expected for Whitworth, Rapp or Forbath, McVay said.
Rapp’s knee injury, a grade 2 MCL sprain, will require three to four weeks of rehab, the coach said.
Forbath’s lateral ankle-sprain diagnosis came as the Rams already were looking to solve their kicking problem after he botched a field-goal attempt in the loss to Miami and missed an extra-point attempt on Sunday.
McVay said the Rams are signing former Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Matt Gay off the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad, and that he could join the team in time to kick in the Rams’ game at Tampa Bay next Monday night.
The Rams have former XFL kicker Austin MacGinnis on their own practice squad.
Despite all that, McVay said: “We’re about as healthy as any team in the league.”
For the Rams, the injuries put a damper on the 23-16 victory over Seattle at SoFi Stadium. The result left those teams and the Arizona Cardinals all 6-3 and fighting for the NFC West lead. Playoff tiebreakers put Arizona nominally in first place.
The Rams’ win over Seattle’s high-powered offense required another impressive effort by the defense, while the offense again failed to break out.
After the game, Goff said the offense had a good day overall and the margin of victory could have been bigger. But he missed Cooper Kupp with a pass at the goal line on the game’s opening drive and Tyler Higbee with a deep ball in the fourth quarter. Those third-down failures led to a field goal and a punt.
“Run game, pass game, play-action game, screen game, everything was kind of working,” said Goff, who completed passes to eight receivers and got equal contributions from three running backs. “We’re just that close on a handful of those plays that would have really opened it up.”
McVay was happy that sustained drives, including 93- and 88-yard touchdown marches, gave Cam Akers (10 carries for 38 yards) a chance to join the running back rotation.
“I thought we were able to get some continuity, and while I would like to see us score more points, I thought our efficiency on third down and our efficiency running the football as a whole enabled those three guys to get going,” McVay said.
Getting more out of the offense, he said, means extending Sunday’s fast start over an entire game
“It is about winning the football game, and I’m never going to take that for granted,” McVay said, “but I do think that we can continue to produce at a level that was in alignment with how we started that through all four quarters of the game.”
ENDS AND ODDS
The Buccaneers were favored over the Rams by 3-1/2 points in early betting Monday. … After their win Sunday, odds against the Rams were 2-1 to win the NFC West (second, with Seattle still favored), 9-1 to win the NFC title (fifth) and 25-1 to win the Super Bowl (ninth), according to OddsChecker. … Websites that track division and wild-card races generally give the Rams a better-than-70% chance of making the playoffs. …
Some key Rams stats in Sunday’s game: The defense’s points-allowed average in the second halves of games dipped to 3.2, best in the NFL. The team’s 12 hits on Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson were the most by the Rams since 2015. Leonard Floyd’s three sacks gave him seven in nine games, matching the linebacker’s best full season in Chicago. Terrell Lewis had the first two sacks of his rookie season as his playing time rose to 42% of defensive snaps. …
More numerical notes: Aaron Donald came close but didn’t add to his nine sacks this season, and Cleveland’s Myles Garrett (9.5) took the league lead. Josh Reynolds’ eight catches and 94 yards were career highs. Morgan Fox made the first start of his career as the Rams opened with a four-man defensive line.