The Los Angeles Rams offensive line came into the week as the 6th ranked o-line in the week 5 offensive line rankings. Therefore, with them on national TV in the TNF game, this is a good time to examine what has made this group so effective. Their calling card all season is that all five guys do their jobs and that they make very few mistakes. The Rams have had the most cohesive o-line in the NFL so far this year, and they have gotten it done both in the run game and in pass pro. Last night was no different, as they contributed to a big division win over the Seahawks. In today's Friday Film Room, I'll break down some of the best run and pass-blocking plays from an o-line perspective that highlights this group's phenomenal continuity and execution.
We'll look at this group in pass pro first, and this first play may have been one of the Rams O-line best plays of the night. When watching the play below, what stands out most is what happens pre-snap. The play ends up being a 20-yard completion to Robert Woods but the execution in blitz-pickup made the play possible. It is clear as soon as the clip starts that there is a lot of conversation going on pre-snap. The Rams can see that Sea has up to seven players in position to rush the passer, and they want to make sure they are in the best position to get it sorted. The RG, Austin Corbett, seems to be integral in this play as he appears to be helping the RB get in a better position for blitz pickup. Sea ends up sending six, and it's a man-on-man situation in which the Rams get it blocked across the board.
The next play was an incomplete pass, but the protection was great. Seattle sent five on this play, and it was a big-on-big scenario in which the Rams won across the board. This was a basic blitz in which the five rushers were all lined up in a row across the LOS and rushed from their aligned pre-snap position. The freeze-frame shows the pocket at the time Matthew Stafford releases, and it's a clean pocket.
The third play was a 13-yard TD pass to Tyler Higbee. Seattle sends another basic plus-one blitz that the Rams do an even better job handling. As seen in the freeze-frame, no Sea defender is within two yards of Stafford. The problem is, Sea doesn't have any great one-on-one pass rushers so for them to line up multiple times throughout the game and expect to get a consistent pass rush without any creativity was a mistake.
The fourth play is a RB screen pass that goes for 17 yards. Whitworth and Edwards on the left side do a good job of getting out and handling the defender in the flat, but the RG, Corbett, is the reason this play goes for so many yards. Because of the execution of the play, the Seattle defense is left with only one guy that can stop this play from being a first down, number 52 Darrell Taylor. The freeze-frame details how Taylor wanted no part of Corbett which opened the door for this to be such a big gain. Corbett spends most of the play just running and attempting to pursue Taylor as he never put any pressure on him to try and make a play.
The first run play we examine is a modest three-yard run, but the execution from the o-line on this play is nearly flawless. Brian Allen, the C, is the only player who didn't execute perfectly, and he quickly recovered to correct his mistake in time to prevent the play from becoming a loss. The freeze-frame outlines how all four other guys have a hat on a hat which gives Darrell Henderson the room to pick up the first down.
The next play is a 10-yard run, and everyone does a great job. We'll break this one down play-side first. LT Andrew Whitworth and Allen do a great job to create the initial alley that Henderson runs through. However, what turns this into a 10-yard run is the efforts of the other three guys. The second freeze frame shows Edwards, Corbett, and Rob Havenstein all blocking one guy, but essentially, they're blocking the three with the arrows pointing to them. They built a wall at the second level, and there is nowhere for the LBs to flow. This play is an example of how when you have no weak links and all five guys do their jobs, teams can get big plays in the run-game.
The next play was a seven-yard gain on a toss play. The Rams are one of the best reach block teams in the NFL, and it's on full display in this play. Whitworth and Corbett both do an excellent job setting up their teammates on reach blocks before going to the second level. This is a great example of team run-blocking and offensive line continuity. The freeze-frame outlines how again the Rams again execute hat-on-a-hat blocking.
The final play we examine is an eight-yard TD run by Henderson. This play is a zone split concept which can create great opportunities for cutback runs which happened in this play. The backside blocking of Whitworth and Edwards really help make this run possible. Edwards does a great job combo blocking as his initial efforts helped move Woods, who is a good run-defender, and then he comes off perfectly and squares up Bobby Wagner, one of the NFL's best LBs, and neutralizes him. The focus in this play is going to be the work of Whitworth. He first makes a great initial reach block which allows him to come off and the trailing TE to overtake while he climbs further and gets a piece of Jamal Adams, one of the best safety run-defenders in the NFL.