This year, we have had a completely featureless Super Bowl and now a completely featureless Champions League final. The stark scorelines were New England 13 LA Rams 3, and Liverpool 2 Tottenham nil.
The show goes on for the ‘rock n roll’ LA Rams, winning again in Detroit (30-16) in a much less impressive performance than their Week 11 epic over the Chiefs, but it’s a win all the same.
The latest result makes it 11 wins for the season to ensure Sean McVay’s team will at least match their winning percentage of last season. But with games still to come against San Fran and the cards, beating that mark is merely a matter of time?
Playing in the early time slot on Sunday, it appeared the Rams offense – rested up from the bye – may have indulged a little too much on some thanksgiving treats. The easy flowing football and radar like accuracy of Jared Goff was replaced by a more clunky, erratic style, not seen from this LA unit since the wildcard game they lost to Atlanta back in early January.
Thankfully for ‘Goff and co’, the Detroit Lions did not take advantage of the turnovers and the generally inept play from the Rams ball-players in the first half of the game.
The Rams had played sub-par football and yet still managed to find themselves up by double digits after a Robert Woods touchdown and a pair of field goals. When the Lions hit back with a ‘trick-play’ touchdown of their own and closed the gap to just three points, you got the feeling this one might not turn out as anticipated.
Make no mistake the Super Bowl favourites were on the back foot in this game against a team running dead last in their division. The Lions defeated Brady’s Patriots much earlier this campaign, (costing a few punters plenty) but they don’t have too many other big scalps.
Enter the human cannonball and total lock for NFL MVP if quarterbacks never existed, Todd Gurley. And his teammate the human demolition machine and total lock for NFL MVP if quarterbacks and Todd Gurley never existed, Aaron Donald.
Donald racked up two trademark sacks just when you thought Detroit would wrestle the lead from LA. The only thing more impressive than his consistency at destroying offensive lines and getting to the man under centre is the timing of when he manages to accomplish it.
All year Donald has shone in the biggest moments, turning games on their head, and no doubt turning losses into wins for his team. Asked about it in the post game press conference McVay talked about Donald’s competitive greatness, which he describes as “being at your best when your best is required”.
In Donald, coach McVay has a bonafide golden ticket to winning seasons and there is no doubt any other coach in the league would give up their first born son for his signature (note – I surveyed all NFL coaches with sons).
Speaking of greatness, what more can you say about Todd Gurley? He’s now reached a point where scoring touchdowns has become so mundane that he’s decided to start running routes between the five-yard line and the goal line for fun.
Sure, he may have been intending to ‘run the clock’ both times he has passed up certain touchdowns this year, but it speaks to the ability of the man that he can simply toy with the opposition secondary, and then score on the very next play.
If I were Todd’s coach I would have a quiet word to him about his latest ‘team first’ play, but when you have a running back with the class of Gurley, I imagine those types of conversations are fairly cordial.
Something along the lines of “Hey Todd, thanks for winning us another game, maybe next time just walk in that TD”, or “Hey Todd, thanks for winning us that second consecutive NFC West title, maybe keep one eye on that TD record you have in your sights”.
However he chooses to phrase it, you just know the LA Rams have the correct man carrying the clipboard – and in Sean’s words, if the Rams can “clean up a few things” – that clipboard might be making its way to Atlanta in a couple of months time.