Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Rams’

Deebo Samuel turned a short catch into an electric 57-yard touchdown, Talanoa Hufanga returned an interception for a score and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-9 Monday night.

Jeff Wilson Jr. also scored on a 32-yard run that gave the Niners (2-2) their seventh straight regular-season win over their in-state rivals.

The Rams (2-2) won the matchup that meant most in last season’s NFC championship game on the way to a Super Bowl title, but this meeting looked more like their recent regular-season meetings.

San Francisco used a relentless defense to slow down coach Sean McVay’s offense and got enough big plays for the win.

Nick Bosa had two of San Francisco’s seven sacks against Matthew Stafford to give him an NFL-best six on the season and Hufanga iced it with his 52-yard pick-6 in the fourth quarter. It was San Francisco’s fourth pick-6 against the Rams in their last six regular-season meetings.

Samuel once again delivered the big blows offensively. The key play came late in the second quarter when he turned what looked to be an interception by Jimmy Garoppolo into a touchdown.

Derion Kendrick jumped the 5-yard route and nearly got the pick. But Samuel made the catch and that’s when his work really started.

He broke tackles from Taylor Rapp and Jalen Ramsey and weaved his way through the Rams defense for the final 52 yards to give the Niners a 14-6 lead.

The Rams moved the ball efficiently down the field on the opening drive before a sack by Samson Ebukam stalled the drive and forced Los Angeles into a field goal.

Los Angeles struggled to move the ball consistently after that and the Rams couldn’t finish drives when they did. They were held to field goals on three trips into the red zone.

San Francisco struck back with big plays that led to two long touchdowns. Wilson took advantage of string blocking on a 32-yard burst up the middle on the opening drive for the 49ers that made it 7-3.

Samuel added the second touchdown and Robbie Gould kicked a 25-yard field goal after a Niners drive stalled at the 1. Gould missed a 42-yarder midway through the fourth quarter to keep the Rams in the game until Stafford’s interception.

BIG HIT

One of the biggest hits of the game was delivered to a protestor who ran out on the field late in the second quarter with a device letting out pink smoke.

As the protestor got close to the Rams sidelined, linebacker Bobby Wagner came off and flattened him with a big hit. The man was taken off the field by security and the game quickly resumed.

INJURIES

Rams: Coleman Shelton, filling in for injured center Brian Allen, left the game with an ankle injury in the first quarter. That forced third-string center Jeremiah Kolone into action.

49ers: Colton McKivitz, filling in for injured All-Pro LT Trent Williams, left the game in the second half with a knee injury and didn’t return. … DT Arik Armstead, who missed last week’s game with a foot injury, left this game as well with an injured foot and didn’t return.

UP NEXT

Rams: Host Dallas on Sunday.

49ers: Visit Carolina on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Rams defense survived quite an onslaught on Sunday afternoon, defending 58 passing plays from Arizona’s Kyler Murray, who is notoriously hard to defend because of his ability to throw and run.

Sean McVay wasn’t worried about giving up a few 10-yard passes or 5-yard runs, he just didn’t want to surrender the big one.

“Just make them snap it one more time,” the Rams coach said.

The Rams followed the gameplan perfectly and now the defending Super Bowl champs have won two straight. Matthew Stafford threw for 249 yards, Cam Akers and Cooper Kupp both scored touchdowns and Los Angeles used a stellar defensive effort to beat the Arizona Cardinals 20-12.

McVay called it a “strange” game. The Rams controlled most of the afternoon but didn’t capitalize on a few chances to put the game away.

“There are no style points in this game,” McVay said. “But there are ways to play more complete games. That’s what we’re hunting.”

The Rams (2-1) continued their dominance in the series of NFC West rivals, winning 11 of the past 12 games dating to 2017, including last year’s 34-11 win in the playoffs.

LA’s offense had some good moments, but the win was largely due to its defense. Aaron Donald had a sack and two tackles for loss while Jalen Ramsey added two passes defended and a tackle for loss. The Rams gave up 365 total yards but limited the Cardinals to no touchdowns and four field goals.

Rams safety Nick Scott credited the defensive line with making the job easier for the secondary.

“Those guys did a great job of rushing with intensity and violence, but also making it tough for (Murray) to get out of the pocket,” Scott said. “We knew if we could keep him in the pocket, we’d do our thing on the back end.”

Arizona’s Kyler Murray was 37-of-58 passing for 314 yards. Marquise Brown caught 14 passes for 140 yards. The Cardinals have lost seven of nine games dating to last season.

The Cardinals (1-2) cut the deficit to 13-9 in the third quarter on Matt Prater’s third field goal of the afternoon, this one from 49 yards.

But the Rams took control on the ensuing drive, with Akers shaking off multiple would-be tacklers to score on a 14-yard run for a 20-9 advantage. It capped an eight-play, 85-yard drive that included a big conversion on third-and-11 when Stafford evaded Arizona’s pressure, spun and delivered a pass to Kupp.

“I thought that was the play of the game,” McVay said. “We had to have that.”

Los Angeles pushed its lead to 10-0 in the first quarter when Kupp ran for a 20-yard touchdown. Kupp was in motion before the play and took a quick handoff from Stafford, which fooled most of the Cardinals defense and allowed the receiver room to sprint to the corner of the end zone.

While the Rams were building a 13-0 lead, the Cardinals had another slow start on offense. Arizona had just 14 yards rushing before the break and settled for two field goals, trailing 13-6 at halftime.

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said there’s plenty of blame to share for the anemic offensive production, particularly in the first half.

“I don’t know if we’re trying too hard to call a perfect play or do too much, but it’s just been one thing after another,” Kingsbury said. “We’ve got to get it figured out.”

Said Murray on the first-half struggles: “I wish I had the answer right now. That’s not winning football. We make it tough on ourselves.”

The Cardinals were coming off a thrilling 29-23 overtime win over the Las Vegas Raiders, clawing back into the game after falling behind 20-0 at halftime. The Rams beat the Falcons 31-27 last weekend.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Akers had some good moments, but also a bad one. He fumbled at the 1-yard line while trying to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter that would have put the Rams ahead 27-9.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Rams turned a blocked punt into an eventual field goal during the first quarter. Andy Lee’s punt was deflected by Michael Hoecht, and Los Angeles recovered at Arizona’s 35-yard line. Eight plays later, Matt Gay made a 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

INJURIES

Rams: CB Derion Kendrick was evaluated for a concussion.

Cardinals: WR Rondale Moore (hamstring) missed his third consecutive game. … OL Justin Pugh (elbow) left in the second quarter but returned … WR A.J. Green (knee) left in the second quarter and didn’t return. … DL Rashard Lawrence (hand) and LB Zaven Collins (shoulder) both left the game in the second half.

UP NEXT

Rams: Get an extra day off before traveling to face the 49ers on Monday, Oct. 3.

Cardinals: Travel to face the Panthers next Sunday.

Jalen Ramsey was calm and collected, even in the maelstrom of the fourth quarter that saw the Atlanta Falcons putting together a late rally against the Los Angeles Rams.

While most of the 71,802 inside of SoFi Stadium were dreading the worst Sunday, the All-Pro cornerback knew he was going to be a deciding factor in the final minutes.

With the Falcons driving for a potential go-ahead touchdown, Ramsey picked off Marcus Mariota’s pass intended for Bryan Edwards in the end zone, allowing the Rams to hold on for a 31-27 victory.

“I told my teammates it was gonna come back to me and it did,” Ramsey said. “I just continued to focus and do my job. That was going through my mind because in the past we pressed to make those plays. And when you do that, it doesn’t end up well for you.”

The defending Super Bowl champions led the entire game. But they nearly blew a 28-3 third-quarter lead that would have given the young Falcons an unlikely comeback of their own from that infamous score — Atlanta’s lead in the 2017 Super Bowl before New England rallied to win — to celebrate.

Mariota had second-half touchdown passes to Drake London and Olamide Zaccheaus to bring the Falcons within 31-17. Special teams and defense then came through to give the veteran quarterback a final chance.

Troy Anderson blocked a punt that Lorenzo Carter returned 26 yards for a touchdown, and a 2-point conversion pass from Mariota to London brought the Falcons within 31-25 with 5:06 remaining. It is the first time since 1990 that the Falcons have blocked a punt in a regular-season game and returned it for a TD. The most recent came in a 2003 playoff game against Green Bay.

Los Angeles turned it over on their ensuing drive when Darren Hall forced Kupp to fumble and recovered it at the Rams 37. Mariota got the Falcons to the Rams 24 before throwing the fateful interception.

“That’s on me, I’ve got to do a better job of communicating that across the board,” said Mariota, who was 17 of 26 for 196 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. “I think, kind of throughout the game I could have done a better job operationally and just communicating with the guys so that everybody’s on the same page.”

Los Angeles took a safety when returner Brandon Powell ran out of the end zone on punt formation after a three-and-out. After the free kick, Atlanta took over at the Falcons 40, but Mariota was sacked before he could get a Hail Mary attempt off on the final play to ensure Atlanta’s fourth straight 0-2 start.

“There’s a lot of different, very uncharacteristic things, but they happened. And we still found a way,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “We’re not going to run away from some of the things that we didn’t do well today. But we’re also going to allow ourselves to appreciate being able to come away with a win.”

Matthew Stafford threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns and Cooper Kupp had two TD catches for the Rams, who bounced back from a disappointing defeat against the Buffalo Bills in their season opener.

Stafford completed his first 12 passes en route to going 27 of 36. Kupp had 11 catches for 108 yards and touchdowns on consecutive drives in the second and third quarters.

Kupp made an over-the-shoulder catch on a fade pattern on second-and-3 from Atlanta’s 3 late in the first half to give the Rams a 21-3 lead. The Super Bowl MVP’s first score came three plays after Rams rookie cornerback Cobie Durant picked off a pass bobbled by Cordarrelle Patterson and returned it 51 yards up the right sideline to the Falcons 9.

The Rams then took the second half kickoff and extended their lead by another touchdown when Kupp caught a quick pass and juked safety Jaylinn Hawkins for a 10-yard TD.

The Falcons were able to move the ball in the first half, but were done in by mistakes. The Rams scored their 21 points after a missed field goal by Younghoe Koo, turnover on downs near midfield and Mariota’s first interception.

“Obviously it wasn’t perfect and we need to break through, but one thing about our guys, no matter what has happened, we have a chance until the last play to win it,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “Obviously we didn’t make enough plays, but the game playing gave us enough and the guys kept grinding out.”

GETTING MORE INVOLVED

Allen Robinson had four catches for 53 yards after being held to one reception in the opener. Robinson hauled in a 1-yard pass from Stafford on the Rams’ first drive. Tyler Higbee also had a big game with seven catches for 71 yards.

Kupp didn’t have his first reception until the second quarter.

“Those guys were some primaries early on in the game and they did a great job, and then Cooper got his opportunities and made great plays as he always does,” Stafford said.

LONDON CALLING

London, the No. 8 overall pick who went to college at Southern California, had eight catches for 86 yards, including his first touchdown during the third quarter — a 4-yard catch from Mariota to bring Atlanta within 28-10.

INJURIES

Falcons: CB A.J. Terrell was evaluated for a head injury in the first half and was cleared to return.

Rams: RG Tremayne Anchrum suffered an ankle injury on the opening series and did not return. … CB Troy Hill (questionable) was also injured in the first half.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Travel to face the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.

Rams: Travel to take on the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday.

The Los Angeles Rams signed head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead to contract extensions through the 2026 season on Thursday.

McVay and Snead are coming off their first Super Bowl win. The Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals in February for their second title in franchise history.

Los Angeles added Snead in 2012, but the GM didn’t earn a winning season until after hiring McVay as the youngest head coach in NFL history in 2017.

McVay quickly proved Snead’s gamble was smart, producing the Rams’ first double-digit winning campaign and NFC West title since 2003 in his rookie season. Los Angeles made the Super Bowl after a 13-3 regular-season finish in 2018 but fell short against the New England Patriots.

The Rams missed the playoffs in 2019 but bounced back over the next two years. Quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s arrival propelled L.A. to a 12-5 record in 2021 and victory in Super Bowl LVI. McVay became the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl at 36 years old.

Snead has been lauded for his aggressive approach to roster building, with blockbuster trades for Stafford and cornerback Jalen Ramsey his most prominent moves.

The GM has a history of landing stars in the draft despite the Rams not making a first-round selection since 2016. Snead’s most notable draft choices include picking three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and reigning Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp.

The Buffalo Bills have fallen short in enough playoff games in recent years to know the season is long and the opener doesn’t mean much in January.

They still felt justified in their championship aspirations after going into the Super Bowl winners’ home stadium and completely wrecking their banner-raising party on the NFL’s opening night.

“We’re going to make the plane do backflips on the way home tonight,” Von Miller said. “We’re going to celebrate this win, because you have to, but then we’re going to go back to the lab.”

Josh Allen passed for 297 yards while accounting for four touchdowns, Miller had two of Buffalo’s seven sacks, and the Bills stamped themselves as a clear contender for the Rams’ crown with a 31-10 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday night.

Gabe Davis, Isaiah McKenzie and Stefon Diggs caught TD passes as the two-time defending AFC East champions began the NFL’s 103rd season by overcoming four turnovers and running away with a blowout win in the same arena where the Rams won it all nearly seven months ago.

Allen went 26 for 31 despite two interceptions. He also rushed for 56 yards, scrambling for a 4-yard TD when he stretched the ball over the line with 13:27 to play.

The star quarterback took his share of hits, but he also dished them out and showed off a mean stiff-arm while Buffalo’s offense under new coordinator Ken Dorsey largely dominated the champs. The Bills went 9 for 10 on third downs and racked up 413 total yards, eventually pulling away after three first-half turnovers kept it close early.

“There’s a lot to learn, but that second half, that’s who we want to be, going out there and executing that way,” Allen said. “We were 90% on third down. That’s a recipe for success.”

Matthew Stafford passed for 240 yards with one TD and three interceptions on a bruising night for the Rams, who lost a season opener and fell below .500 for the first time in coach Sean McVay’s six seasons in charge.

“Very humbling night, but one where you look yourself in the mirror and say you have to be better,” McVay said. “We weren’t ready to go. That’s on me. … There were a lot of decisions I made that didn’t put us in the best position to succeed. It was a very humbling night.”

The Bills’ seven sacks were the most allowed in McVay’s tenure with the Rams, who lost two starters from last year’s offensive line and attempted to replace them internally. Miller came through, but he was just one contributor on a night when Buffalo didn’t even need to blitz once to keep Stafford in check.

Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp had 13 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown, but the Rams’ night went quickly downhill. Los Angeles could not keep up with Allen’s creative playmaking or the Bills’ pass rush, and its only major offseason addition on offense — receiver Allen Robinson — had one catch on two targets.

Los Angeles trailed 17-10 after three quarters, but Buffalo ran away with two lengthy TD drives early in the fourth. The Rams even got shut out in the second half, ending a streak of 89 consecutive halves with a point since November 2019.

“We could play a whole lot better than that, no doubt,” Stafford said. “The one thing that gives me a good feeling is knowing the guys in that locker room and knowing we’re going to band together.”

Miller made an immediate impact in his debut for the Bills, who signed him away from the Rams after he won a ring in his half-season in LA. But he was just one part of a defense that yielded only 177 yards before Los Angeles’ final, meaningless drive.

Aaron Donald made his 99th career sack in the first half, but the seven-time All-Pro had just two tackles as the Rams became only the second defending champions in the last 10 years to lose the following season opener. They also lost by the second-biggest margin in league history for a Super Bowl winner beginning its next season; Baltimore lost by 22 to Denver in 2013.

After falling behind 10-0 despite two Bills turnovers, Los Angeles finally scored on its fourth drive when Kupp made an exceptional toe-tapping TD catch three minutes before halftime. After Allen threw his second interception, Matt Gay hit a 57-yard field goal to pull the Rams even at the halftime gun.

And Los Angeles never scored again.

PUNCTUATION

Diggs capped the domination with a 53-yard TD catch with 9:25 to play, talking trash to Rams All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey afterward.

“You’ve got the two top guys in the NFL competing against each other,” Davis said of Diggs and Ramsey. “Both going to be talking back and forth, and we’re going to see who comes out on top, you know. And 14 came out on top today, and that’s what I expect from him.”

50K

With a long third-down pass to Kupp on his opening drive, Stafford became the 12th quarterback in NFL history to pass for 50,000 career yards. He tied Drew Brees as the fastest to the mark, doing it in 183 games.

TO THE RAFTERS

Along with the banner to celebrate last February’s title, the Rams also hung a banner in the south rafters at SoFi Stadium honoring the 1999-2000 Super Bowl champions from the St. Louis era. The brief pregame ceremony included owner Stan Kroenke, retired left tackle Andrew Whitworth — and free agent Odell Beckham Jr., who held aloft the Lombardi Trophy.

INJURIES

Bills DL Ed Oliver injured his ankle in the first half and tried to play through it, but couldn’t do much. … Rams rookie RB Kyren Williams injured his ankle in the opening minutes. … The Rams played without WR Van Jefferson, who had knee surgery early in training camp after starting 21 games last season including playoffs.

UP NEXT

Bills: Host Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 19.

Rams: Host Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 18.

The Los Angeles Rams and right tackle Rob Havenstein agreed to a three-year extension that will keep him under contract through the 2025 season, the team announced Wednesday.

The financial terms of the deal weren’t released, but the veteran lineman will receive a total of $34.5 million over the three-year pact, including $24.1 million guaranteed, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

New Orleans Saints tackle Ryan Ramczyk currently tops the position with a $19.2-million average annual salary, according to Spotrac.

The 30-year-old Havenstein had only one season left on the four-year, $32.5-million contract he signed with the team in 2018.

He’s been a reliable starter for the Rams since being drafted as a second-round pick in 2015. The Wisconsin product, who was voted a team captain for the first time last week, will start his 100th career game Thursday in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Havenstein allowed seven sacks across 15 starts and was the NFL’s 14th-best offensive tackle last year, according to PFF.

The extension provides some stability to a Rams offensive line that’s lost two starters since winning Super Bowl LVI. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth retired in March, while guard Austin Corbett left L.A. in free agency to sign a three-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said Sunday that quarterback Matthew Stafford will have “no limitations” for Thursday’s season opener against the Buffalo Bills, according to team reporter Stu Jackson.

“He’ll be ready to go,” McVay said.

The 36-year-old coach added he’ll have “no hesitation” asking Stafford to throw 50-plus times versus Buffalo.

Stafford didn’t throw at OTAs after receiving an anti-inflammatory injection in his right elbow earlier in the offseason. Reports later noted that “bad tendinitis” also limited his throwing during training camp.

But the 34-year-old passer said he’s fully healthy again.

“I feel good. Ready to go, no hesitations. … I feel like I can make every throw,” he said Sunday, per NFL Network’s Kayla Burton.

Stafford completed 67.2% of his passes for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns against 17 interceptions across 17 regular-season appearances in his first year with the Rams in 2021. He averaged 35 pass attempts per game, including the playoffs.

The one-time Pro Bowler helped the Rams win the Super Bowl after joining in a trade from the Detroit Lions.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay announced Tuesday that he agreed to a contract extension earlier this offseason.

McVay said he was holding off on the announcement until general manager Les Snead completed his deal, although that agreement has yet to be reached.

“It is something that we’ve been taken care of, but it is very important for Les and I to kind of have that represented as we’re a partnership and a pair,” McVay said, according to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop.

“We wanted to be able to announce that when both of us (got our deals) done,” McVay added. “Mine is done. Les is in the process of that.”

The terms of McVay’s extension haven’t been announced.

McVay became the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl earlier this year at the age of 36 when his Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals.

The head coach is the latest member of the Rams to be rewarded with a new contract. Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp and star quarterback Matthew Stafford also received new extensions, while Aaron Donald earned a raise.

McVay has transformed the Rams into a powerhouse since being hired in 2017. He’s won 10-plus games in four of his five seasons while compiling a 55-26 record.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has been limited throwing in practice due to a tendon issue in his right elbow, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Rapoport described the injury as “bad tendinitis” and added that Stafford had a procedure to manage the issue during the offseason, though it didn’t get the passer where he wanted to be.

Stafford didn’t throw in Wednesday’s session. Rams head coach Sean McVay said Monday that the veteran signal-caller was “still feeling a little bit of pain” entering this week, according to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue.

McVay said that Stafford not throwing Wednesday wasn’t a setback for him.

“It’s consistent with what’s been going on,” McVay said. “When you really look at the totality of it, wanted to try to have him operate in as little pain as possible. I think that anytime that you’ve played as long or are as tough as he is, I don’t know if you’re ever truly ‘pain-free,’ but the goal would be for Sept. 8 and looking towards 17 games (and) hopefully some games after that.”

Stafford didn’t throw at the Rams’ organized team activities after having an anti-inflammatory injection in his arm in the spring, Rodrigue adds.

“We’re really taking it a week at a time, really a couple of weeks,” McVay said. “Don’t expect him to do anything in these team settings for this block or the next three days, next week. … This is part of the plan that we feel like is in his best interest.”

In his first year in Los Angeles, Stafford attempted 601 passes across 17 games in the regular season before making 140 attempts in four playoff games. The one-time Pro Bowler helped the Rams win the Super Bowl last year after joining the team in a trade from the Detroit Lions.

The Rams kick off the 2022 regular season at home against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 8.

Los Angeles Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff is among those who believe that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will eventually reach an agreement with the club in 2022.

“If we didn’t have a salary cap, we could’ve signed Odell months ago and would’ve loved to,” Demoff said, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. “The one variable that hasn’t changed is how much we love him and want him to be there.

“Am I optimistic we can get a deal done over time? Yes.”

Demoff noted there isn’t a firm timeline to reach an agreement with the 29-year-old. Beckham remains an unrestricted free agent as he continues to rehab from a torn ACL suffered during L.A.’s Super Bowl LVI victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Earlier speculation from the Rams indicated that Beckham could be back on the field by November if his rehab remains on schedule, a source told The Athletic.

“With Odell, I think, given the rehab (and) the timeline of coming back probably mid-to-later in the year, I just think that the sense of urgency both from his side and probably from our side – and maybe other teams – is not right there, for him,” Demoff said.

The Rams executive becomes the latest voice from the team who would like to reconnect with Beckham. Wideout Cooper Kupp and head coach Sean McVay are among notable vocal advocates who have requested a reunion with the three-time Pro Bowler.

Beckham signed with the Rams after the Cleveland Browns released him last campaign. He recorded 27 receptions for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight regular-season games with L.A. The 2014 first-round pick continued to be productive in postseason play, tallying 21 catches for 288 yards to go along with two scores.