Rams Defeat Bengals 24-10 In London
Face Steelers in 2 Weeks
October 31, 2019
Bye Week meant a little more as the Los Angeles Rams wasted little time in moving forward following Sunday's 24-10 victory over the hapless and winless Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium in London, England last Sunday. The team traded cornerback Aqib Talib to the Miami Dolphins before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline.
The five-time Pro Bowler is on the injured reserve list since fracturing his ribs in the Rams 30-29 loss to the Seattle Seahawks during Week 5. The trade was a continuation of the team's cornerback reconstruction that began two weeks ago when they traded Marcus Peters to Baltimore Ravens and then acquired Jalen Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"Everything that we do is in the best interest of the team long-term and short-term and just based on some of the things that came from that, that was really what went into the decision," commented Rams head coach Sean McVay.
"Aqib has meant a whole lot. He's meant a whole lot to our team. I think just the confidence, the swagger, the veteran leadership that he's brought... He's been, really, a big part of what's gone on since he got here, and he's been nothing but positive since he got here."
The Rams also included their NFL 2020 Firth Round pick with Talib in exchange for an undisclosed future draft pick. The trade will save the Rams $4.2 million in salary, which will likely to be used to sign Ramsey to an extended contract. Ramsey is due to receive $2.3 million this year and $13.7 million in 2020 before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
Talib was acquired from the Denver Broncos in March 2018. The 33-year old played 13 total regular season games for the Rams as well as all three post-season matches last season. Talib posted one interception, seven pass deflections, one forced fumble and recovery and 37 total tackles during this stint with the team.
Having feasted on two of the worst NFL teams over the past two weeks the Rams are back within striking distance in the NFC West race. With the undefeated San Francisco 49ers at 7-0 and the Seattle Seahawks at 6-2, the 5-3 Rams have little room to breath as they prepare for the second half of the regular season.
It was the Cooper Kupp Show in the Rams "home game" at Wembley Stadium. The methodical win over The Cincinnati Bengals posed very few problems once Los Angeles took a 17-10 lead late in the second quarter on a 65-yard touchdown catch and run down the right sideline by Kupp. The third-year wide receiver seven passes on 10 targets for 220 yards.
Kupp ranks second in the league this season in total receiving yards with 792, third in receptions with 58, and first in catches of over 20-plus yards with 15. His five touchdown receptions are tied for sixth in the league.
"We executed our game plan," said Kupp. "Especially in the first half we were able to get some things going... But what I do know is that we've got to execute better. Put together four quarters of football. As an offense we're still not up to the standard that we want to be. It's always going to be a work in progress. We're going to watch some film and see how we can get better.'
Quarterback Jared Goff had his second consecutive decent game, completing 17 of 31 passes for 372 yards, two touchdowns. More importantly, he had no interceptions, fumbles or sacks compared to the first six games when he threw seven interceptions, six fumbles and was sacked 12 times. Against the Bengals he also completed two passes for 31 yards in stretching the offense.
"We had a lot of guys open. Cooper had himself a day with that. We would have liked to spread the ball around more in that second half. We weren't able to get much going which is something we'll look at," said Goff.
"We just got to keep winning games one at a time. Starts last week and it started this week... We're starting to catch our rhythm. The run and the pass. Everything feels great. I think there's some stuff in the second half I'd like to clean up."
One concern is wide receiver Brandin Cooks suffered his second concussion in two weeks. "I think we are just taking it a day at a time," said McVay. "Anytime that you have something like this occur, you want to consider the human being first and foremost, and that's what we are going to do, take our time."
The Rams next game is on the road against the 3-4 Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, November 10. The Steelers are starting to rebound, winning three of the last four games after starting the season with three losses. Pittsburgh beat the Miami Dolphins, 27-14, this past Monday Night Football game.