The next opponent for the Los Angeles Rams certainly didn’t share any warm fuzzies after their own Sunday opener.
As linebacker Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts put it to reporters following their 28-16 loss to the Rams’ division rival Seattle, they’re “p***** off” from how they began the season.
“The vibe – when you get your ass kicked, what do you think? You’re p***** off,” Leonard said to reporters. “They come to the house, we’re at home, their defense talking trash – we didn’t do enough on our side of the ball defensively. You’re upset. We have to find a way to get the job done, so you have to watch the tape, see how you can improve and get better from there.”
Former Rams Assistant Carves Up Colts Defense
In the 12-point defeat at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts were outplayed offensively by a Seahawks offense that had former Rams assistant Shane Waldron calling the plays in his debut as offensive coordinator. Here’s what the Sean McVay disciple accomplished with his new offense:
- Tally 381 total yards on 53 plays and average 7.2 yards per play.
- Average 5.2 yards per carry and gain 140 rushing yards.
- Russell Wilson produced his 11th career four touchdown day, and went on to complete 18-of-23 passes for 241 yards.
Waldron’s offense also put up 28 points with a final time of possession of 24:13. They went with a quick strike approach that saw the ‘Hawks score on three of their first four drives.
How did Waldron attack the Colts defense featuring the Pro Bowler Leonard? Waldron came after them with a McVay blueprint: The misdirection.
In the above play, Will Dissly is in the interior tight end in Seattle’s 12 Personnel (two tight ends, one running back look). The motion receiver treks to the right of the offense, giving Seattle three receiving options on that side of the ball. Except Wilson fools the defense by faking the handoff. Dissly sneaks behind the Colts’ nine players near the line of scrimmage for the first down.
The Rams executed something similar with their own tight end Tyler Higbee, seen here from their 2020 road game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
And much like Matthew Stafford against the Chicago Bears’ pass defense, Wilson dropped his own dimes on the Colts while operating in a Rams-like system, including placing wide receiver Tyler Lockett in field mismatches.
On this touchdown, Waldron helps draw up a play where Lockett ends up luring a safety to cover him, swinging the advantage to the 100-catch WR from 2020.
Looking at the Rams/Colts Series
Sunday, September 19, will mark the 46th meeting between both franchises. Per Football Database, the Colts hold the series lead at 23-20-2.
The last meeting, though, marked this for McVay: His first-ever head coaching victory. And it came in dominating fashion on September 10, 2017. The Rams jumped out to a 27-3 lead before smacking Indianapolis 46-9 in front of 60,128 fans at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
That was the only time McVay game planned for Indianapolis. But in a Monday press conference, McVay didn’t speak on his last meeting versus them.
“There’s a lot of respect for the Colts,” McVay told reporters near the 5:40 mark of the video below. “They’ve done a lot of really good things the last couple of years and the last thing I’m worried about is our team having any sort of lull. If anything, I think the urgency has picked up knowing that hey, guys are happy about the win but I don’t think I have to worry about complacency setting in with this group because of that leadership I’ve mentioned.”
The Rams racked up 386 total yards of offense and averaged 7.7 yards per play in the 34-14 opening romp of the Chicago Bears. But, if anything, the Rams will have to focus on two elements heading into Indy:
- Improve the ground attack: The Rams only mustered 74 rushing yards and averaged 3.2 yards per carry.
- Account for the Colts’ pass rush: Despite its defensive flaws, Indianapolis still got to Wilson on three sacks, with 1.5 sacks coming from a safety and cornerback blitz.
The Rams fired on all cylinders in the air attack to open the 2021 campaign, but now they’ll go against a defense that, as Leonard put it, is “p***** off.”