The Los Angeles Rams have quietly risen to the cream of the NFC crop in the last month, and Monday night's win over the Buccaneers might have been their most emphatic victory of 2020.
The margin of three points wasn't a statement, but the fashion in which they took down Tom Brady's Bucs should resonate with those who have followed the Rams for most of the season. Jared Goff started the night a perfect 6-for-6 through the air and finished with a passing line of 39-of-51 for 376 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, weathering the back-and-forth storm to help the Rams triumph.
Cooper Kupp posted his best game of the season, catching 11 of 13 targets for 145 yards and earning high praise from star Packers receiver Davante Adams, who tweeted "Cooper Kupp is the most underrated receiver in the league" during the game.
"Just being me," Kupp told NFL Network's Sara Walsh after the game. "Just doing what I do, trying to be nothing outside of the scope of what I'm asked to do. Credit to the guys around me, it takes all 11 to be able to execute. Coach put me in some great positions, and I was just able to execute to the best of my ability.
"That's pretty cool coming from Davante Adams, an incredible receiver, watched so much of his stuff, so much respect for him."
Kupp didn't do it on his own, though, not by a long shot. Robert Woods caught 12 of his 15 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown, and even rookies Van Jefferson and Cam Akers got involved, each catching a touchdown pass from Goff.
Speaking of rookies, Jordan Fuller's first two career interceptions helped the Rams take a slim lead into halftime and later, ice a one-score win over a team that is right next to Los Angeles in the NFC race.
"I was just in my zone, and the quarterback ended up throwing it in my direction," Fuller said, via the Associated Press. "I was just telling myself, 'Don't drop it, don't drop it, don't drop it.'"
He didn't drop it, and neither did Los Angeles with an opportunity in hand to make a point to the rest of the NFC about their standing going forward.
Los Angeles couldn't do much on the ground in its first full game played without veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth , but the Rams deserve credit for doing a solid job of protecting Goff, who was pressured on just seven of his 51 attempts. A pressure rate of under 14 percent is very good for an offensive line, and even better when considering it was playing without its best blocker.
Suddenly, the Rams are 7-3 and tied atop the NFC West. While we've spent all this time gushing over the Cardinals and Seahawks, Sean McVay's bunch has quietly worked. Winners of three of their last four, the Rams are building momentum at the right time, and with three games remaining against either Arizona (twice) or Seattle, they have a great opportunity to take control of their division.
"We can be as good as we want to be, honestly," Goff said afterward, per the Associated Press' Greg Beacham. "We've got it all in front of us. Everything is there for us to take."