Rams Suffer Tough Loss
"No Excuses,' Says Coach
October 12, 2017
Shooting yourself in the foot five times is a surefire way of losing in the NFL. That's exactly what the Los Angeles Rams did in losing 16-10 to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, October 8 at the Coliseum. It was a game they should have won going away. It was a game they almost won anyway.
60,000 fans were treated to a dramatic end as quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams drove the length of the field on their final drive to the Seahawk 20-yard line. On third down with eight seconds left in the game a collective groan reverberated throughout the Southland as Goff's fastball flew off rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp's reliable hands in the end zone. A low, incomplete pass to Kupp on fourth down sealed their fate.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for first-year head coach Sean McVay's rejuvenated Rams. Despite a successful Seattle challenge negating a Todd Gurley touchdown on the team's opening drive the Rams jumped to a 10-0 second quarter lead. The NFL's highest scoring offense during the first quarter of the season failed to score in the last 40-plus minutes of the game.
"Anytime that you turn the football over five times against a great opponent like the Seattle Seahawks, you're going to put yourself in a tough position. To our players' credit they continue to fight and battle all the way to the end," offered a visually disappointed McVay postgame.
"... we make no excuses. We didn't get it done today. Starting with me, we can all look at ourselves critically and figure out what we can do to be a part of the solution. But give credit to the Seahawks, they got it done today."
The first Ram turnover was the cruelest of all. Goff used multiple weapons to cut through the Seahawk defense for a seemingly 62-yard seven-play scoring drive. On first down Gurley ran 12 yards around left end and stretched the ball towards the goal line pylon only to have it knocked out of his hand and into the end zone. The official review rescinded the touchdown and gave the ball to Seattle for a touchback.
That turnover set the tone and highlighted the Rams' failure to score from the Red Zone for the rest of the game. McVay: "Early on to start the game, when we get the first possession we turn the football over on a touchback... Are we running plays that are conducive for giving our players a chance to have success?"
Ram kick returner Tavon Austin made the second team turnover fumbling a Seattle punt at the Los Angeles 30-yard line. However, rookie defensive back John Johnson making his first professional start, intercepted Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson four plays later at the Ram 12-yard line and sprinted down the left sideline to the Seattle 19-yard line for a 69-yard return.
Once again the Ram offense failed to score in the Red Zone and settled for Greg Zuerlein's 35-yard field goal for the 10-0 lead. Seattle took advantage with a 75-yard 15-play drive that ate up 7:34 of game time ending with a four-yard pass touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham. One possession later the Seahawks drove 75 yards in nine plays setting up a Blair Walsh 48-yard field goal to tie the game, 10-10, at halftime.
The Rams opened the second half with a futile 13-play drive again into the Red Zone that ended with an uncharacteristic Zuerlein missed 36-yard field goal. Zuerlein had connected on 19 consecutive field goals before the miss, the longest streak of his career and tied for second longest in franchise history. Jeff Wilkens has the team record, converting 30 consecutive field goals ending in 2001.
Seattle took a 13-10 lead on their next possession with Walsh kicking a 49-yard field goal. The Rams responded with a 7-play drive from their 18-yard line to the Seahawk 15-yard line (Red Zone). Unfortunately, it ended three plays later with an interception by Seahawk Sheldon Richardson on a pass intended for Gurley.
"We need to be sharper. I can do a better job understanding what they're going to do better, I think, coming into it. And getting the ball out of my hands probably a little bit quicker would probably help and then we need to make plays," said Goff. "I don't want to fret on this game too much you know obviously we're not happy with it. But, we have made plays, but today we didn't. But ultimately that's why we lost the game."
McVay: "I think there was a couple uncharacteristic decisions that he (Goff) did make. Again, when you play an excellent front like that, they cause some disruption, got to him and they forced some of those errant throws and got some turnovers. But, that's what great defenses do. They made enough plays."
Still down by three with over 10 minutes remaining in the game Goff threw his second interception. Seahawk Earl Thomas picked off a pass intended for tight end Tyler Higbee. Pain struck again minutes later when Seattle defensive end Frank Clark caused Goff to fumble. Richardson recovered and returned the ball to the L.A. 20-yard line for the Seahawks. Walsh converted a 35-yard field goal for the final score of the game.
The Rams (3-2), tied with the Seahawks for first place in the NFC West have no time to lick their wounds as they prepare for a suddenly tough game on the road against the surprising 3-2 Jacksonville Jaguars coming off a big 30-9 win over the Steelers at Pittsburgh. The Jaguars' attack now features rookie running back Leonard Fournette who ripped the Steeler defense for 181 yards on 28 carries and three touchdowns.
They've got a great defense, they've been able to run the football efficient and I think (QB Blake) Bortles has made a handful of plays getting guys involved," said McVay. "... they get a big-time win over a great Pittsburgh Steeler team. But, you look at what they were able to in London against a very competitive Baltimore team as well. So, it's a great challenge and we've got to be ready to go just like any other week."