Los Angeles Rams: 3 Takeaways from Week 1 vs. Colts

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) /

Coach Sean McVay’s debut as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams was a rousing success. Three big takeaways from the victory.

If Sean McVay’s debut as Los Angeles Rams coach is any indication of his career as the boss, the franchise is in excellent shape. The Rams almost were unrecognizable, according to ESPN.com, during their 46-9 rout of the Indianapolis Colts in their season opener in the Coliseum.

How unrecognizable?

The defense scored two more points on Sunday than the 2016 team averaged. Quarterback Jared Goff threw for a career high in passing yards and already has one more win than he did in all of last season. Granted, the effort came against a Colts team that figures to struggle in 2017 and played without quarterback Andrew Luck.

But this is a Rams team that won one of its last 12 games  Impressive performances have been few and far between. ESPN.com had this to say after the game:

"They played a bad team, but they dominated on defense without their best player, and their offense should only grow as it settles into McVay’s system."

Here are the three biggest takeaways from McVay’s debut and the Rams’ dominating performance.

3. The defense will finish the season in the top 10

Two pick-sixes (Trumaine Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner) and a safety helped the Rams defense cash in 16 points. The team averaged 14.0 points per game last season. True, Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien was in over his head filling in for injured Andrew Luck. But the Rams defense still finished with some impressive numbers:

  • The Colts had 225 total yards.
  • The Rams forced three turnovers.
  • The defense recorded four sacks.
  • The defense recorded a safety.

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The unit accomplished all that with All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald still on the sideline. He reported on Saturday but was in no position to play on Sunday Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips still dialed up the pressure, and his unit responded. Just wait until Donald gets up to speed.

Also, the Rams still have six games to play against NFC West teams. Only Arizona appears to have a formidable offense after one week of football. L.A. should be one of the league’s best at the end of 2017.

2. Jared Goff will not be a bust

The Rams hired Sean McVay to turn around the overall No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, Jared Goff. McVay was offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins the past two McVay was offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins the past two seasons. He gets credit for the development of Kirk Cousins

Goff has only a one-game sample, but what a sample. He threw for a career-high 306 yards on 21-of-29 passing with one touchdown and no interceptions. The Score made a comparison chart between Goff’s 2016 averages to his totals on Sunday:

More from Los Angeles Rams

STAT2016vs IND
Comp. Percentage54.672.4
Yards per game155306
Yards per completion5.310.6

Goff won’t have it that easy every week, but he has considerable more weapons (as does Todd Gurley, who doesn’t have to rush for 100 yards for L.A. to have a chance to win).

1. The Rams will contend for the NFC West title

Remember, this is a way-too-early look at the Rams after just one week of play. But Seattle’s offense — especially its offensive line — looked inept against Green Bay in its opener.

Arizona disappeared in the second half against Detroit. And running back David Johnson suffered a wrist injury that could be serious.

San Francisco looks to be at least a couple of years away after its 23-3 loss to Carolina.

Next: NFL Power Rankings 2017: Week 2

That makes the Rams the division leaders after the first week. They also looked awesome in the preseason against Oakland and came crashing down to earth the following week against the Los Angeles Chargers. But McVay’s debut at least allows Rams fans to dream