The Rams came into the wild-card round at almost full health, getting players such as Andrew Whitworth, Jared Goff, Michael Brockers and Cooper Kupp returning after missing at least the last game. But throughout the afternoon, starters began to go down left and right.
At various points, John Wolford, Aaron Donald, David Edwards, Leonard Floyd and Kupp left the game with injuries, with only Floyd returning to action. So the Rams had to scramble and replace a number of players, which they did a great job of.
Here’s how the snap counts shook out on Saturday, showing how the Rams replaced the likes of Edwards and Donald.
Quarterbacks: John Wolford played just 15 snaps before suffering a neck injury. He didn’t get many opportunities, only attempting six passes, but he was finding a rhythm. Jared Goff played the other 58 snaps and completed 9 of 19 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. Running backs: Cam Akers was the workhorse against Seattle, carrying it 28 times for 131 yards. He played 53 of the 73 offensive snaps and touched the ball on 30 of those plays. Malcolm Brown played the other 20 and had 10 touches for 39 yards. Akers did leave the field a bit shaken up in the fourth quarter, but it's unclear if an injury is what prevented him from coming back in. Wide receivers: Robert Woods led all receivers with 71 snaps played, followed by Cooper Kupp (63) and Josh Reynolds (43). Kupp missed a few plays at the end of the game after tweaking his knee, but he led the team with 78 yards receiving. Van Jefferson surprisingly didn’t play a single snap, though Nsimba Webster played two on Goff's final kneeldowns – the first time Webster has out-snapped Jefferson. Tight ends: Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett weren’t big parts of the game plan, but they did play a lot. Higbee was on the field for 86% of the snaps, with Everett playing 64% of the reps. Johnny Mundt chipped in three snaps. Higbee was the only tight end to catch a pass, a 4-yard reception. Offensive line: David Edwards left the game fairly early with an ankle injury and was unable to return. Rather than being replaced by Joe Noteboom at left guard, however, it was Bobby Evans who stepped in to play the 48 snaps Edwards missed. That was a bit surprising, considering Noteboom began the year as the starting left guard. Andrew Whitworth was pulled for the final six snaps, likely as a precaution, which got Noteboom on the field at left tackle.
Defensive line: Aaron Donald played less than half the game due to a rib injury suffered in the second half. He played just 30 of 64 defensive snaps, which is a season-low. Michael Brockers played 55%, Sebastian Joseph-Day was out there for 32 snaps and Morgan Fox played 29 snaps, helping replace Donald on the defensive line. A’Shawn Robinson and Greg Gaines got a good amount of playing time, too, playing 21 and 16 snaps, respectively. Inside linebackers: Micah Kiser returned from injured reserve this week, but he didn’t take back his starting role at linebacker. In fact, he didn’t play any defensive snaps, only playing special teams (17 snaps). Troy Reeder remained the top inside linebacker, playing 95% of the downs, while Kenny Young was on the field for 45% of the defensive plays. Kiser may not be fully healthy, though, posting this message on Twitter after the game. https://twitter.com/kiser_rollin/status/1348082513973923845 Outside linebackers: Leonard Floyd had two sacks in the game and played 86% of the defensive snaps despite missing some time to be evaluated for a concussion. Justin Hollins was second, playing 47% of the snaps. Then followed Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (15 snaps), Terrell Lewis (9 snaps), Samson Ebukam (8 snaps) and Derek Rivers (4 snaps). So it was a fairly deep rotation opposite Floyd. Cornerbacks: Troy Hill, not Jalen Ramsey, led all cornerbacks by playing every defensive snap. Ramsey only missed one play, while Darious Williams played 54 snaps (84%). They were the only three cornerbacks to get into the game, with David Long Jr. only playing special teams. Safeties: John Johnson and Jordan Fuller played every snap, which is the case each week. Nick Scott was the third safety, playing 21 snaps on defense; his role was somewhat limited because of how much Williams and the corners played. All three players stood out for the right reasons, with Scott making a particularly impressive pass breakup late.