SEATTLE — The Los Angeles Rams‘ offense, a well-oiled machine the last two seasons under coach Sean McVay, has been examined and scrutinized through five games and a 3-2 start.
Not enough of running back Todd Gurley, who has yet to rush for 100 yards in a single game? Too much of quarterback Jared Goff, who has passed for 912 yards and three touchdowns in two losses? An offensive line that’s adapting to two first-year starters?
“I personally feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Woods told ESPN. “Just got to play better, play faster, play more aggressive and — be nasty, I think, really.
“That’s the biggest thing I would say. Be the aggressor. Be the hammer, not the nail.”
Through five games, the Rams have yet to score a first-quarter touchdown. However, despite sluggish starts, the offense has been in position to tie or win the last two games in the final minutes. But they have not been able to capitalize.
“Is it disappointing? Absolutely,” McVay said about the 3-2 start. “But it’s something that is not going to be debilitating and prohibit our ability to move forward as a team.”
When asked why he thought the Rams were not “nasty” enough, Woods said, “I don’t know. Mindset.”
In Week 4, with 1:18 to play and trailing 48-40 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Goff was strip sacked by linebacker Shaq Barrett and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh returned the takeaway for a 37-yard touchdown to seal a 55-40 victory.
On Thursday night, against the Seahawks, Goff could only watch as a pass bounced off tight end Gerald Everett‘s hands and was intercepted with 2:12 to play, trailing 30-29. The defense forced a Seattle three-and-out on the ensuing drive, giving the Rams a final chance to win with 1:38 remaining. But penalties plagued an otherwise sharply executed drive. Right tackle Rob Havenstein was flagged for a false start, and the Rams took a delay of game. Costly mistakes when you consider kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a 44-yard winning field goal attempt, wide right.
“I just didn’t swing hard,” Zuerlein said after the game as he left the locker room. “Usually if I leave the ball right, I open my foot and don’t swing hard, and that’s what happened. I thought it had a chance to come back in, but anytime I swing like that, it’s usually not a recipe for success.”
Goff said he was ready to go when the Rams got the ball back a final time.
“We’re rolling on offense in most of the second half. Had some things that didn’t go our way where we didn’t finish drives,” Goff said. “But we were moving the ball really well.”
Ball security and penalties have been an issue throughout the season.
Goff has turned the ball over at least once in all five games, tying the longest streak of his career, according to ESPN Stats and Information research. He has thrown seven touchdowns, with seven interceptions. In the second quarter against the Seahawks, Gurley also lost a fumble in the red zone with the Seahawks ahead 14-6.
The offensive line has drawn 17 penalties through five games. Last season, the line accounted for six penalties in five games and 25 penalties through Week 17.