Culver City Observer -

Rams Thank Fans For Support In Defeating Seahawks

 

September 22, 2016

G Laase

It was a bold new day rising in the City of Angels as the Los Angeles Rams stunned the Seattle Seahawks, 9-3, in their official Southern California return debut after having spent the past 21 seasons calling St. Louis home.

Sunday, September 18, 2016 was a very important first-step for this pro football-starved fan base.

The football gods may not have christened the win but 91,046 fans enthusiastically re-embracing their beloved Rams despite the decades-long absence certainly did. Undeniably, their passionate support played a role when the Rams' defense recovered a fumble deep in their own territory with 45 seconds remaining on the game clock.

"They were great, it was great the whole game! They were just outstanding. It has an impact, it really does. Most teams benefit from it, and Seattle especially, but it's nice to have that on our side now so that we can take advantage of our pass rush and all those things associated with the noise," commented L.A. Head Coach Jeff Fisher on the home crowd impact.

The Rams were ripped to shreds by local and national media following their season opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers. They failed to score in that game but came away with a win without scoring a touchdown against Seattle in Game 2.

Regardless of the anemic scoring so far the team is 1-1 and tied for first place in the NFC West Division. It was also a well-managed win against one of the NFL's better teams of the past few years. After two weeks only five teams have given up fewer points than the Rams including the Seahawks.

Los Angeles' very own transcendent "Red Hot Chili Peppers" crushed a two-song onslaught that set the tone for the day while sporting Rams jerseys prior to the pregame introductions. A rock concert under the hot midday sun in the Coliseum to welcome the team back to the heart of the Southland was pure L.A.

For the now amped-up predominantly blue and gold crowd... anything was suddenly possible. Ready for the taking, a win dangled over Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum like a Grammy mesmerizing the music industry.

Ram kicker Greg Zuerlein's three field goals were good enough. Zuerlein converted a 28-yarder just before halftime. He kicked a 47-yard insurance field goal 45 seconds into the fourth quarter to wrap up the scoring in a classic defensive struggle.

Fisher on the slugfest: "It became evident early that this was going to be a field position game, so we managed as best we could. Holding them at the three points down there was huge for us, and they're saying the same thing about us, but goal-to-goal on the three you couldn't get in, but that's a trait to both the defenses."

The Ram defensive front line reversed the momentum with a goal-line stand at the end of a Seattle 14-play 76-yard drive early in the game resulting in Seattle's Steven Hauschka's 23-yard boot tying the game at 3-3 starting the second quarter.

The halftime presentation at midfield honored Ram Hall of Fame greats: Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Tom Mack, Orlando Pace, Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood, each styling their H.O.F. yellow-toned jackets.

L.A. constantly pressured Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson who still managed to throw for 254 yards and only got sacked twice for 15 yards. But the defense penetrated the line and the Seahawk ground game, allowing only 67 total yards rushing on 24 attempts, undoubtedly the key to the win.

Los Angeles defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks: "There are no excuses. As a unit we were just doing our job like we're supposed to do: getting to quarterback, getting through the O line, setting the edge. We just did our job which made it easier for everyone else to do their job for things to come together."

(Concerning Seattle's last drive) "That's our philosophy with Greg (Williams – L.A. defensive coordinator): "You don't want to slow down. You want to speed up." Our only thought was to get after Wilson. You have to contain him and don't let him throw anything over your head. It was a dogfight. We don't expect anything less from Seattle."

It was Ram linebacker Alec Ogletree's fumble recovery on a short pass from Seattle's Wilson to running back Christine Michael who was wrapped-up by linebacker/safely Mark Barron with 45 seconds remaining in the game at the Ram 29-yard line that brought the house down. It was clearly a win for the city as much as it was for the team.

"I mean he's had two back-to-back outstanding weeks on defense right now. To make that play, that's what he does and he's shown it before. Someone needed to make a play and he got near the ball and he made the play," said Fisher.

The Rams showed improvement offensively from the previous game but not enough to manufacture a touchdown. The closest they got to the goal line was just before half when quarterback Case Keenum moved the team 76 yards to the Seahawk fpur-yard line only to result in a field goal four plays later to give Los Angeles the permanent lead.

Keenum had a relatively quiet 239 yards on 18/30 passing with no interceptions but was sacked three times for 20 yards. He also directed a turnover-free game and connected on three long passes, an obvious improvement over the previous game.

Johnny Hekker's effective punting denied Seattle excellent field position six times during the game. He and Zuerlein along with the defense led by the front line kept Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll in check the entire game.

On the other side, the offensive line did enough to give Keenum and company breathing room in the second half when Los Angeles had six more minutes of possession time to offset the first half imbalance.

Offensive tackle Rob Havenstein on the offensive line: "There's obviously a lot of energy but... there are definitely some things that we're going to have to work on. The offensive line is never going to be perfect. It's always going to be a little ugly but the end result is we won.

"The fans have been great. I'm not sure of the attendance but it was full, it was loud. They have an effect on the game with their noise level and I can't say "Thank you" enough. We feed off the fans, most definitely.

"They give us so much energy and noise. It was even pumped up when the offense was out there so we have to respect it and love it. That first game was unacceptable. But we came back and got a big win. We're going to try and get this thing rolling"

The Rams begin a two-game road trip as they travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers, 1:05 p.m., Sunday, September 25, at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs lost their last game to the Arizona Cardinals, 40-7, as quarterback Jameis Winston threw four interceptions.

"This young team needs to be able to go out and match-up week after week with the different opponents. We've had recent success against the Bucs – that means nothing. We've got to go down, they're much improved. Jameis is playing really well despite the day he had yesterday. We're going to be challenged," stated Fisher.

"In order for us to be successful, we're going to have to play consistent on defense, week-in and week-out, become a defensive unit that will stop the run, get off the field on third down. And we're going to have to start scoring points on offense, that's a given."

 

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