Rams’ 4 biggest causes for concern vs. Colts in Week 2

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Standing in the way of a 2-0 start for the Los Angeles Rams are the Indianapolis Colts, who lost their season opener to the Seattle Seahawks. As unimpressive as the Colts were in Week 1, they’re a talented team that made the playoffs a season ago and could pose some problems for Los Angeles.

They have a good offensive line (when healthy), a proven quarterback in Carson Wentz and a defense that boasts a great front seven. Indianapolis will be a tougher test for Los Angeles than the Bears were in the season opener.

Here are the Rams’ four biggest causes for concern in Sunday’s game against the Colts.

Quenton Nelson slowing down Aaron Donald

If there’s one player in the NFL who can slow down Donald on his own, it’s Nelson. The two-time All-Pro guard is as good as offensive linemen come, boasting the power and technique to take on even the best pass rushers. Donald will get opportunities to rush against the Colts’ tackles and their other guard, too, but with Nelson playing left guard and Donald typically rushing from the right side of the defense as a 3-technique, these two will be matching up often on Sunday. If the Colts can neutralize Donald without having to double him, it will go a long way toward protecting Carson Wentz and blocking the Rams’ other pass rushers such as Leonard Floyd and Justin Hollins.

Containing Colts’ running backs

The Colts have two dynamic running backs who are both playmakers on the ground and as receivers with Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. They caught 12 passes combined and carried it 26 times in the season opener against Seattle, gaining 198 of the Colts’ 336 yards from scrimmage. The Rams must contain them, especially when it comes to the passing game. Carson Wentz looked their way often in the opener, targeting them with 15 of his 38 pass attempts. Kenny Young, Troy Reeder and Taylor Rapp will need to be at the top of their game and wrap up in the open field because yards after contact will lead to big plays, which the Rams must prevent. David Montgomery had success against the Rams with 118 total yards on 17 touches, but limiting the production of Indianapolis’ backs will be critical.

Early kickoff on the road

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Early 1 p.m. ET games in the Eastern Time Zone are typically a huge challenge for West Coast teams, but that hasn’t been the case for the Rams under Sean McVay. They were 4-0 in 1 p.m. ET games on the East Coast from 2017-2019 before dropping two of their four such games in 2020 to the Bills and Dolphins. It’s possible the Rams will come out a bit sluggish due to the time change and early kickoff, but don’t expect it to be a huge factor.

Protecting Matthew Stafford from DeForest Buckner

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts don’t have any premier edge rushers, but Buckner on the interior is a player they must be aware of on every snap. He’s someone the Rams are familiar with, given his four years with the 49ers from 2016-2019. Buckner was a first-team All-Pro in 2020 with 9.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and 58 total tackles, getting in the backfield regularly in his first year with the Colts. Brian Allen and Austin Corbett will be responsible for blocking the 6-foot-7 defensive tackle, which is no easy task. They did a nice job against Akiem Hicks last week, but Buckner is a long, powerful player who can rush the quarterback, bat passes down and blow up running plays in the backfield. He’s the Colts’ biggest playmaker on defense.

1

1

1

1