What we learned in the Rams’ 24-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings

Lamarcus Joyner, Adam Thielen
Rams free safety Lamarcus Joyner breaks up a pass intended for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen during a Nov. 19 game in Minneapolis.
(Bruce Kluckhohn / Associated Press)

What we learned in the Rams’ 24-7n loss to the Minnesota Vikings:

Case Keenum can be cool under pressure

Keenum consistently showed poise in 2016 — and throughout last week — when he was answering questions about Rams quarterback Jared Goff.

He demonstrated on Sunday that he also can keep his head on the field in a big game.


Keenum frustrated Rams defensive linemen by slipping out of potential sacks, scrambling for yards (note to Case: please stop diving head-first) and delivering completions in key situations.

Keenum had every reason to gloat after defeating the team that drafted Goff to replace him, but as usual he handled it with class.

If tradition holds, it will only take one loss before fans start clamoring for Teddy Bridgewater.

Cornerback depth is an issue


Kayvon Webster did not finish the game after he was placed in concussion protocol. Nickell Robey-Coleman did not finish the game because of a thigh injury.

With Troy Hill inactive, that often left undrafted free agent Dominique Hatfield to cover receiver Adam Thielen.

The Vikings took full advantage, Hatfield missing a tackle that enabled Thielen to score a 65-yard touchdown.

A similar scenario befell the Rams earlier this season.

In Week 2, the Rams lost to the Washington Redskins when undrafted free agent Kevin Peterson, activated from the practice squad the day before, was forced into action after Trumaine Johnson came out because of cramps.

Kirk Cousins fired a pass to receiver Ryan Grant, who beat Peterson for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown.

Tavon Austin was missing in action

Austin’s role this season has largely been that of a decoy or a potential threat, which has enabled teammates more opportunities to take advantage of favorable matchups.


But Sunday was the first time this season that Austin, who is earning nearly $15 million, did not have a carry.

He also was not targeted on any pass plays.

“With our inability to sustain drives, it was tough to get him going,” coach Sean McVay said.

McVay might not have a choice this week against the New Orleans Saints if Robert Woods is sidelined because of a shoulder injury.

Greg Zuerlein is essential to a winning formula

The last time the Rams played in a domed stadium, Zuerlein kicked a team record seven field goals in a victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Going into Sunday’s game, Zuerlein had at least two field-goal attempts in every game this season.

The NFL’s scoring leader, a player teammates call Mr. Automatic, had no attempts against the Vikings.


The Rams’ run defense still needs work

Vikings running back Latavius Murray rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 6.3 yards per carry.

The Rams are giving up 123.3 yards rushing per game, which ranks 28th among 32 teams.

Their next opponent, the Saints, average 144 yards rushing per game, which ranks third in the NFL.