Ask any coach and they will tell you the same thing: “You cannot win if you turn the ball over.”
The Rams proved that theorem when hosting the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday.
In a conference game that could have put the Rams alone at the top of the NFC West with a two game lead, they turned the ball over five times…with the expected results.
No coffee was served in the first quarter; it was a slow perk.
Seattle received the kickoff, did nothing and had to punt.
Los Angeles got the ball and did even less.
Well, to be fair, they put on an awesome display. Quarterback Jared Goff moved them 61 yards in seven plays, and on 2nd and 5 at the Seahawks 12 he shoveled the ball to running back Todd Gurley.
Gurley swept to the left and neared the goal line as defenders closed in. He reached out with the rock on his approach and a Seahawk chopped the ball out. It was declared a touchdown.
Unfortunately upon review, not only did Gurley step out of bounds, he lost the ball before crossing the goal line. The ball had fumbled forward against the pylon. The call was reversed, ruled a touchback, and the Hawks took possession (1st & 10) at the Rams’ 20-yardline.
The teams exchanged punts, and on the first play of Seattle’s possession, Rams safety Cody Davis streaked in front of the intended receiver and intercepted the ball at the Rams’ 37.
However, a bonehead personal foul penalty by defensive tackle Michael Brockers pushed the team back to the 21.
The drive continued into the second Q when Goff handed the ball to wide receiver Tavon Austin who burned 27 yards on a TD run.
Kicker Greg Zuerlien was good, and the Rams were up 7-0.
Seattle went three and out, but Austin muffed their punt and the Hawks recovered deep in L.A. territory.
There was a collective sigh of relief when Rams safety John Johnson cut back across the route, snatched Seahawks QB Russell Wilson’s pass out of the air, and ran it back 69 yards to set L.A. up for a field goal, 10-0.
Things looked very promising…“looked” being the key word (and tense) in that phrase.
The Seahawks scored a TD on their next possession, the Rams had to punt, and Seattle put up another three points on an FG at the end of the half to go to the locker rooms tied, 10-10.
That was it for the Rams. They did not score at all in the second half.
Goff was intercepted twice and they lost three of the four team-fumbles.
The anemic Seahawks managed two field goals to win, 16-10.
Despite dropping to 3-2 the Rams are tied with Seattle.
And there is a silver lining around this cloud.
The Rams turned the ball over five times and only lost by two field goals, not even a touchdown.
There was even a rally in the final moments that could have produced a win for the Rams.
Goff mowed 55 yards of lawn in a little over a minute to get to the red zone.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp broke free of his coverage, crossed into the end zone and stretched out in a diving attempt to pull in a pass.
The ball was too far in front of him.
There is even an argument that head coach Sean McVay could have sent in better plays at the end.
All that said, the Rams did well in a close game against a tough Seattle team.
The Rams play the Panthers in Jacksonville next Sunday.
God Bless as we honor the
life of NFL great Y.A. Tittle (1926-2017) who passed away on Sunday, October 8.
Mark Felicetti would like to hear from you. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.