“We just need to get him some more opportunities and that starts with me,” were the words from Sean McVay’s mouth on Monday, October 4 when addressing Robert Woods and his limited touches in 2021.
Woods, a Los Angeles Rams captain, was targeted six times in the 37-20 debacle against the Arizona Cardinals in front of the “Rams House” at SoFi Stadium. Woods, though, was one of four Rams who saw the football come his way six times. There was also this end zone celebration that was described as “clear disgust” by L.A. Times NFL reporter Sam Farmer:
And before the Thursday, October 7, Week 5 battle at Seattle, Woods had never gone past eight targets in a game and brought with him 15 receptions through four games — only giving him an average of three to four catches per game. That was much different from the 19 grabs he hauled in during the first quarter of the 2020 season before tallying 90 catches.
But on TNF and in front of the “12th Man” and their loud decibel levels that would make whispers look more like an actor line from a silent film, “Bobby Trees” nearly matched his current 2021 totals in just one night…quieting the bellowing screams from Lumen Field in the 26-17 road win and silencing any rumor of Woods being discontent in the Rams’ offense.
Targets also went up for “Bobby Trees.”
Woods & McVay met & Spoke
McVay said No. 2 needed to be included in the Rams’ play-calling sheet. Woods himself told the L.A. media that he and McVay did indeed have a private discussion leading up to the Seahawks game.
“Had a little talk, just trying to get involved in the offense,” Woods said. “He said he was going to give me some touches.”
And the touches came right away.
The first play of the night? Matthew Stafford connected with Woods…but lost a yard. However, on the next series, Woods gained positive yardage on an 11-yarder…and would add 140 more aerial yards the rest of the way.
In the first two quarters of play, Woods already convinced ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates that he’s back.
Fellow ESPN personality Eric Moody speculated that there was another closed door meeting Woods had with someone on the Rams: With his QB.
And, Rams beat reporter of The Athletic Jourdan Rodrigue believed Woods had reawaken.
‘Today was my day’
In typical Woods fashion, he damaged defenses in the middle of the field. Five of his catches viewed here came between the middle hash marks:
Per Pro Football Focus, Woods caught nine short to medium throws (between zero to 19 yards). He was targeted five times in the intermediate center and came away with four catches there.
Matchup wise, Woods never drew one defender the whole night as McVay and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell lined him up 22 times out wide and 15 times in the slot WR spot. That got Woods to draw favorable matchups with linebackers — catching four passes for 67 yards and averaging 16.75 yards a catch when paired with Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner.
Outside of the ‘backers, Woods caught his most passes when lined up against Sidney Jones; hauling in three receptions for 32 yards plus gained two first downs over the right side cornerback.
Twelve receptions, 150 yards and eight total first downs all in one night erased the slow four-game start Woods had. But how was “Bobby Trees” able to put together the first breakout evening of his 2021 season?
“It was one of those games where I just keep getting open, keep getting my number called,” Woods said postgame. “That’s how the team works. You never know how the game goes and the flows of our season goes, but always be ready and always expecting the ball, and today was my day.”