Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Rams Down Chiefs 54-51

 

November 22, 2018

Jevone Moore

Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (20) - Interception in 4th quarter secures game for Rams

The Los Angeles Rams epic 54-51 win over the Kansas City Chiefs not only lived up to the hype, it distorted the standard by which great games will be measured. The record-setting heavy weight match staged in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum put an instant claim on being the greatest Monday Night Football ever played.

"It was one of the most competitive games I've been a part of since I've been coaching in this league," said Rams head coach Sean McVay. "I thought it was really just a competitive game with a lot of high caliber football in all three phases."

The ultimate difference was defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the Rams defense coming up with the big plays to turn the tide and secure the victory, stopping two last-gasp Chief drives inside the last two minutes along with forcing five turnovers, two converted into touchdowns. Yet, the same defense yielded six touchdown passes to Chiefs quarterback phenom, Patrick Mahomes.

It was an exhilarating rollercoaster for the 77,002 lucky fans once again witnessing NFL history in the packed Coliseum. There were 17 scores resulted in 10 lead changes and ties including a total of 13 touchdowns, three on defensive turnovers. The 105 total points easily eclipsed the MNF record by 10 points and was the third highest scoring game ever in NFL history including the post-season.

McVay: "I thought our guys did an outstanding job together tonight. Just sticking together, staying connected, not letting the circumstances dictate the way that we responded and finding a way to get a big win."

Both teams combined for 1001 total yards including 891 net yards passing. Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw completed 31 passes for 413 yards while throwing four touchdowns. Mahomes threw for 478 yards and now has 38 touchdowns for the season.

The game could easily be a preview of this year's Super Bowl. Both teams countered each other by amping up the intensity as the lead changed hands four times in the fourth quarter. "It seemed like at the end, whoever had the ball last was going to win," said Goff. "Ultimately, our defense had two turnovers there at the end that proved to be the winning turnovers."

The Rams, jumping to a quick 13-0 lead with touchdown passes to Robert Woods and Gerald Everett. The Chiefs stormed back taking a 17-16 lead in the second quarter. Donald got the first of his two quarterback sacks, stripping Mahomes while linebacker Samson Ebukam recovered the fumble and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown. Mahomes rallied the Chiefs to tie the game at 23-23 with an 8-yard pass to Chris Conley just before halftime.

Ram receivers Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds combined for 18 catches for 259 yards and two touchdowns. The Chief wide receivers exploited the Rams secondary without mercy. Tyreek Hill had a phenomenal game with 215 yards on 10 receptions and two touchdowns. Chris Conley had seven catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns.

Ram tight ends were also prominent for the second consecutive game. Tyler Higbee caught six passes for 63 yards and Gerald Everett caught three passes and two touchdowns including the game winner. KC tight end Travis Kelce was a thorn for the Rams with 10 receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown.

Interestingly, Rams running back Todd Gurley contributed on numerous drives but saw a reduced role in the offensive melee. Gurley rushed 12 times for 55 yards, caught three passes for 39 yards but failed to score a touchdown for the first time in 14 consecutive games. Yet his presence was instrumental in allowing Goff to spread the offense and keep the Chiefs off-balance through much of the game.

The Rams outscored the Chiefs 17-7 in the third quarter to take a precarious 40-30 lead into the fourth quarter. Goff rambled seven yards for a touchdown and kicker Greg Zuerlein kicked a 33-yard field goal before Ebukam scored his second defensive touchdown of the game. Ebukam made a brilliant one-handed knockdown and interception at the Chiefs' 25-yard line before running the ball into the end zone like a fullback possessed.

Mahomes began the Chiefs comeback with a 73-yard bomb to Hill to open the fourth quarter, again exposing the porous Rams defensive backfield. They regained a 44-40 lead when Goff was sacked and stripped Justin Houston deep in Ram territory and recovered for a touchdown by Allen Bailey. With a sense of urgency Goff hit Everett with a 7-yard touchdown to retake the lead, 47-44.

Jevone Moore

Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (89) - 6 catches for 63 yards vs Chiefs

The Chiefs upped the ante, 51-47, with 2:47 remaining in the fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Conley. "You can't make mistakes against great teams," said Mahomes. "These are the games you're going to play hopefully in the playoffs and so you want to make sure that you limit your mistakes and that still at the same time be aggressive and still score points."

Goff rallied the Rams past midfield in the final minutes. He connected with Everett on a 40-yard strike in stride down the right sideline for the game-winning touchdown. Interceptions by recently maligned Ram cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Lamarcus Joyner closed the curtains on the Chiefs last drives in the NFL Super Instant Classic.

"Like I said, just trusting the process," said Peters, the former Chief standout acquired by the Rams this past off-season. "You're going to have ups and downs in a game and you just keep trusting the process. I say it's all about team. We go out there together and we get this team win, can't do nothing about it."

 

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