Week 11 in the National Football League was a great one for the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams came away with wins.
The victory for the Chargers keeps them in the race for a playoff spot and the Rams victory keeps them in the race of possibly being a top two seed in the NFC. They not only beat their opponents, but they did so in convincing fashion.
The Los Angeles Rams are the number three seed in the NFC right behind the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings. The Rams have been kind of a surprise team this year.
I don’t know of anyone who predicted they would be having this kind of season and they are doing it in many different ways. One way is through their running back Todd Gurley. He has managed to rack up some pretty good stats.
Perhaps one of the most encouraging stats of all the Rams is Gurley has compiled 515 yards before the first contact on rushing attempts which is also the second most in the NFL. Last year he had 442 yards before the first contact on rushing attempts through 11 weeks, which ranked 20th in the league.
He had a total of 561 yards after first contact in 16 games last year. Gurley has also compiled 500 yards after first contact only trailing Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. It makes it so much easier to do that when you have a better offensive line, a better scheme, better receivers to take some of the pressure off the running game, and a better Jared Goff.
Even though the Rams are ranked third in the NFC, there is no resting comfortably for Los Angeles as the Seattle Seahawks are right behind them. Having already lost to them in the head to head match, they will have to keep going hard until they clinch the division.
The Rams took on the red hot New Orleans Saints. The Seahawks did what they should have done and beat the San Francisco 49ers, but what the Rams did in knocking off New Orleans a week after a tough loss to Minnesota said a lot more about the state of the NFC West.
Playing without Robert Woods, who has been his number 1 receiver, Goff just cruised along and delivered. He has been a surprise under new head coach Sean McVay and offensive coordinator Matt LeFleur and while it obviously helped that the Saints were dealing with injuries in the secondary, that was a huge bounce back win for a team still trying to prove itself as a real contender.
The Los Angeles Chargers blew out America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. Though they have a losing record at this point of the season at 5-6, they are only one game behind the division leading Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers are tied for the second best turnover differential this season but no team has been better since their 0-4 start.
Since the start of Week 5, the Chargers have committed a league low five turnovers while forcing a league best 17 turnovers. In the win over the fading Cowboys, Phillip Rivers threw for 434 yards and three touchdowns in his first Thanksgiving Day game in his 14th season. Rivers also became the fifth quarterback in NFL history to post consecutive 400-yard passing games against a single opponent. Rivers threw for 401 yards in 2013 and reached that status again on Thanksgiving.
We will see how they finish the season off. It may be a little more tough being that their kicker Nick Novak is nursing a back injury and a knee injury to wide receiver Mike Williams. Though they have ruled out an ACL tear for Williams, he still has a knee injury the team will continue to evaluate.
On the good side, Rivers still has Keenan Allen, who for the second straight week was Rivers’ favorite target. Allen finished the game with 11 receptions for a career high 172 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown.
Rivers is also getting tight end Hunter Henry involved. He had five receptions for 76 yards and a score. If the Chargers continue to play this way and overcome their injuries, they could still win their division.