Rams dominate Seahawks, win 30-13: Instant analysis of LA’s statement victory

Well, maybe the Rams are going to surprise some people this season. Prior to this matchup with the Seahawks, few expected Los Angeles to look like a playoff team in 2023. And while it’s only one game, the Rams looked like exactly that against their division rivals.

Los Angeles waltzed into Lumen Field and left with a 30-13 victory in the season opener. Though the game was close in the first half, the Rams dominated the second half, largely because of their efficiency on third down and the play of their receivers.

Not only did the Rams beat the Seahawks, but they outgained them yardage-wise by a sizable margin. Kyren Williams broke out with three touchdowns on the ground, the first three of his career, while Tutu Atwell posted the first 100-yard game of his career.

Defensively, the Rams struggled a little bit against the run in the first half but they got things in order in the second half and held Seattle to just 76 yards rushing. And once the Seahawks had to skew more heavily toward the pass, the pressure amped up; the Rams had sacks on back-to-back plays late in the fourth.

Final score: Rams 30, Seahawks 13

Game notes

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
  • The Rams started Alaric Jackson, Steve Avila, Coleman Shelton, Joe Noteboom and Rob Havenstein along the offensive line.

  • The defensive depth chart didn’t lie: Russ Yeast is starting over John Johnson right now, alongside Jordan Fuller.

  • Cam Akers was the starting running back but it was Kyren Williams who seemed to get most of the snaps throughout the day. This is a true split in the backfield between the two players, with Williams doing most of the work in the first three quarters before Akers closed it out.

  • The Rams went 16 plays and scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game, capped off by Williams’ first career score in the NFL. It was the Rams’ longest opening drive in at least 23 years.

  • The run defense struggled against Seattle’s physical ground game in the first half. Kenneth Walker ran the ball well for the Seahawks, which was not surprising after seeing Los Angeles fail to stop the run all preseason long, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. However, the defense clamped down in the second half and allowed just 76 yards rushing as a team.

  • The Rams’ special teams unit struggled in the preseason and it wasn’t much better Sunday. They allowed a 20-yard return on their first punt and then Brett Maher’s first field goal attempt was blocked. His second field goal try missed wide right from 56 yards, as well.

  • Puka Nacua may be filling in for Cooper Kupp but he’ll be here to stay when Kupp does return. He caught 10 passes for 119 yards in his NFL debut, seeing a team-high 15 targets from Matthew Stafford.

  • Tutu Atwell had by far his best game as a pro. He caught six passes for a career-high 119 yards, making an impact on short passes, intermediate routes and deep shots against the Seahawks.

  • The secondary was much better than expected, limiting the Seahawks to less than 100 net yards passing. Derion Kendrick gave up a touchdown to DK Metcalf but that was one of the few mistakes by the secondary.

It was over when...

… the Rams recorded back-to-back sacks on Smith late in the fourth quarter to stall the Seahawks’ drive when they were trailing 27-13. Smith was brought down by Kobie Turner on the first play and then Aaron Donald on the next, thwarting just about any chance of a comeback by Seattle.

3 stars of the game

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

No. 3 star: Puka Nacua – 10 catches, 119 yards

No. 2 star: Tutu Atwell – 6 catches, 119 yards

No. 1 star: Matthew Stafford – 24-for-38, 334 yards, 0 INTs

Play of the game

It wasn’t a touchdown, but this 44-yard bomb to Tutu Atwell was a thing of beauty. Atwell comes in motion and runs between two teammates before sprinting upfield on a corner route toward the sideline, hauling in the deep shot down the right side.

It helped set up Kyren Williams’ second touchdown of the day to give the Rams the lead.

What's next?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams will return home for a Week 2 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, their second straight divisional game to start the year. The 49ers crushed the Steelers in Week 1, 30-7, so they still look like the team to beat in the NFC West.

Kickoff in that one will be at 4:25 p.m. ET from SoFi Stadium.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire