What we learned from the Rams’ 35-23 victory over the Chargers

Robert Woods is catching on

During offseason workouts and training camp, coach Sean McVay and receivers coach Eric Yarber told Woods they wanted him to take his game to another level by attacking balls away from his body with “aggressive hands.”

Woods took the instruction to heart.

He has always been a reliable receiver, especially over the middle. But he is making catches all over the field, many on balls away from his body.


Quarterback Jared Goff targeted Woods 11 times against the Chargers, and Woods caught 10 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

Cory Littleton has a special place in his heart for special teams

Littleton made his mark on special teams as a rookie in 2016.

He has ascended into a starting role as the middle linebacker, but he still enthusiastically plays on the punt-block unit.


Littleton made 10 tackles against the Chargers, but his biggest play was a blocked punt that Blake Countess recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.

Blake Countess is versatile

Countess plays on special teams and as a rotational safety.

Against the Chargers, he also returned kickoffs after JoJo Natson suffered a broken hand.

Countess averaged 25.5 yards for two kickoff returns.

It remains to be seen who will replace Natson as the punt returner.

Backup cornerbacks came through

Marcus Peters left the game because of a lower leg injury in the second quarter. Aqib Talib suffered a lower leg injury in the third quarter.


Sam Shields and Troy Hill stepped in and helped hold off Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

Shields made four tackles, including one for a loss, and broke up a pass.

Hill made one tackle.

Both could be in the starting lineup against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.

The Rams are good enough to overcome mistakes

Todd Gurley lost a fumble. Jared Goff had a pass intercepted in the end zone. Holding penalties negated big gains. Sam Ficken missed a 46-yard field-goal attempt and also shanked a kickoff out of bounds.

And the Rams still won.

Multiple errors are not a formula for success. And against a better opponent they might have spelled disaster.


But the Rams are scoring 34 points a game, and the defense and special teams are producing big plays at key moments.

Go beyond the scoreboard

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