Is it too late to send the Rams back to St. Louis?
After decades of trying to get an NFL team back to Los Angeles, fans were delighted when the Rams dumped St. Louis to return to L.A.
Oops, are they that delighted now?
The Los Angeles Rams concluded their first season back in Southern California by being routed by the Arizona Cardinals 44-6 Sunday, their most one-sided defeat since 2012 and seventh consecutive loss.
The Rams were held without a touchdown for the fifth time this season and lost for the 11th time in their last 12 games, completing their season 4- 12, the worst record by an NFL team based at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since 1962, when the Rams went 1-12-1.
The loss was the Rams’ worst since Oct. 28, 2012 when they lost to the New England Patriots, 45-7, when the team was based in St. Louis.
The seven-game losing streak is their longest since a seven-game losing streak to conclude the 2011 season. The Rams’ record was their worst since 2011 when they were 2-14.
This is the Rams’ 10th consecutive losing season. They last made the playoffs in 2004, when they were a wild card team with an 8-8 record. They have not had a winning record since 2003 when they were 12-4.
The Rams were outgained 344 yards to 122 and trailed 21-9 in first downs. However, they led 32:02-27:58 in time of possession. The Rams converted two of 14 third downs, 14.3 percent, to Arizona’s four of 14, 28.8 percent. Both teams were one for two on fourth down.
The Rams committed three turnovers to Arizona’s two before a crowd at the Coliseum announced at 80,729 that appeared to be much smaller in the first and fourth quarters and like other games at the stadium consisted of a significant amount of fans rooting for the visiting team and wearing their jerseys.
The Rams were held to 37- and 36-yard field goals in the second quarter by Greg Zuerlein.
Jared Goff completed 13 of 20 passes for 120 yards, had one pass intercepted and was sacked seven times in the seventh loss in his seven starts at quarterback for the Rams. Sean Mannion replaced Goff on the Rams’ second possession of the fourth quarter in his first appearance since Nov. 29, 2015.
Mannion completed three of six passes for 19 yards and had a pass intercepted by Justin Bethel that was returned 66 yards for a touchdown.
Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer completed 20 of 38 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns. He had one pass intercepted in his first game at the Coliseum since Nov. 30, 2002, when he threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns in USC’s 44-13 victory over Notre Dame, 14 days before he became the first Trojan quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy.
The Cardinals (7-8-1) also got a one-yard run by Kerwynn Williams for a touchdown in the third quarter and 32-, 34- and 47-yard field goals from Chandler Catanzaro in the first half.
The Rams’ Pro Bowl-bound punter Johnny Hekker put one of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line, increasing his NFL record to 51 for the season. Hekker punted 98 times, 14 fewer than the previous record holder Dave Zastudil, who put 46 inside the 20 when he played for Arizona in 2012.
The 98 punts matched the second most in team history. The team record for punts was 106 in 2011.
Kenny Britt, the Rams’ leading receiver, offensive tackle Rob Havenstein, who started each of the first 15 games, and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, who started nine, were all inactive because of injuries.
The Rams made one quarterback sack, meaning each defensive lineman and defensive line coach Mike Waufle will make a $100 donation to help fight homelessness in Los Angeles.
–City News Service and staff
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