Week 3 Recap: Nacua Matata: Rookie Leads Rams to OT Win

By Ron Johnson

While all of us was watching the action in London, we did discuss this game between the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts. It was said that after Monday night’s debacle, the Rams would have to earn this win in every sense of the word. There were those who figured the Rams were still trying to figure out their own identity.

In the end, the Rams showed that they are not dead yet.

After giving up 23 points in the second half and having to rely on an opportunity in overtime, the Rams managed to pull off the victory thanks in large part to Kupp 2.0 aka Puka Nacua. The Rams showed some true grit as they defeated the Colts 29-23 in overtime to improve to 2-2 on the season.

But everyone has to tip their hat to the gutsy play of Matthew Stafford.

Despite having issues with his hip throughout the second half, Stafford refused to stay down and kept bouncing back in bunches. He showed his true fortitude by finishing with 27/40 for 319 yards, one touchdown and one interception. That one touchdown came in overtime as he found Nacua for the game winning touchdown. Kyren Williams broke 100 yards and finished with 103 on 25 carries and a pair of touchdowns. 

Nacua continued to his rookie phenom status by finishing with 163 yards on nine catches. The team as a whole showed true promise in the first half after practically dominating it and showing that they were indeed here to play. But in the second half, it was all Colts all the time as Anthony Richardson stepped up big time in the second half with a pair of touchdowns through the air and even getting one on the ground. Richardson finished with 200 yards through the air on 11/25 passing 56 yards on 10 carries. 

The Rams improved to a point in the game, but Stafford still struggled in the turnover situation. The team finished up with 467 total yards and even improved on their 3rd down efficiency and kept their penalties to a minimum. The Rams did miss a few points in this game thanks to some missed kicks from Brett Maher, but they only found themselves punting just three times for the game.

On the defensive side, Ernest Jones and Aaron Donald became the usual suspects as they got to the quarterback once each, and the defense did manage to recover a fumble for their troubles. On the offensive side of the ball, the absence of Cooper Kupp did not phase them much in the game. On top of Nacua’s 163 yards, Tyler Higbee contributed 64 yards on five catches, Van Jefferson got two snags for 29 yards, Tutu Atwell delivered 24 yards on five catches, Kyren Williams contributed 24 yards on three snags and Ronnie Rivers added ten yards on two catches.

Even with all the things that can be pointed out that was bad for the Rams, the adage remains the same: It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning is winning. But the Rams did prove that they still got some work to do after this game. They appear to be more active in the first half but seem to slack off in the second.

Everything that could go wrong with them did in the second half as they could not solve the puzzle known as Andrew Ogletree. He indeed caused problems for the team, but it seemed in overtime they stepped their game up. Now while there are still issues with the team, it is still safe to say that they did improve from their lack of performance from Monday.

It’s still early in the season, and there are teams still trying to figure out who they are. Even last night’s game between the Chiefs and Jets turned out to be entertaining. It is still too early to talk about where the Rams stand, but they did show that they are not going down without a fight. With Kupp slated to return in the next few weeks, maybe that will be the one-two punch that the offense needs to show that they can hang with the obvious playoff favorites. 

But with them having problems with the Colts, their next game will not be any easier.

The Rams picked the right time to get some questions answered at least, but the harsh wakeup call may come in the form of a visit from the defending NFC Champions. With Philadelphia coming up next weekend, the Rams will truly need every able body to step up big time. The Eagles are starting to figure it all out as they are still trying to keep certain teams in their rear view. And with Dallas and Kansas City still on their schedule, it is no surprise they are not taking the Rams lightly.

As for the Rams, there has to be a part of them that knows they were lucky to get out of Indy with the win. If there was a time for each player to put their money where their mouth is, a good showing against the Eagles could do that for them. But like everything this season, only time will tell. What matters now is that the team returns home with a win, and they known they will need to build on it to improve their own standings.

But for today, it truly is Nacua Matata.

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