The Los Angeles Rams attempt to overcome a 17-point deficit fell short in a 30-23 loss to the injury-depleted Philadelphia Eagles Sunday evening, their first back-to-back regular-season losses in Sean McVay’s two seasons as coach.
The Eagles broke a 13-13 halftime tie with 9- and 4-yard touchdown runs by Wendell Smallwood sandwiched around Jake Elliott’s 40-yard field goal in the third quarter.
The Rams cut the lead to 30-23 on Greg Zuerlein’s 37-yard field goal and a 1-yard touchdown run by Todd Gurley in the fourth quarter.
The Rams opportunity to tie the score was delayed when JoJo Natson fumbled Cameron Johnson’s punt, giving possession back to Philadelphia with two minutes, 51 seconds to play.
The Rams didn’t get the ball back until there was 1:08 left after Elliott’s 53-yard field goal attempt was short.
Jared Goff completed five consecutive passes, moving the Rams from their own 43-yard line to the Eagles 18, where he spiked to ball to stop the clock with four seconds to play.
Goff’s pass intended for Josh Reynolds in the end zone fell incomplete as time expired.
“(Defensive coordinator) Jim (Schwartz) dialed up a blitz at the time just to kind of force Jared to … release the ball a bit sooner,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said.
“We were playing right at the goal line. It was a last shot in the end zone and (safety) Avonte (Maddox) was in good position.”
When asked why he thought his team lost, Goff responded, “Our offense didn’t play well enough.”
Goff completed 35 of 54 passes for 339 yards with two interceptions.
The second came with 2:12 left in the third quarter and the Rams trailing 23-13.
Goff said he had a foot stepped on causing him to stumble after he took the center snap. He then threw the ball as he was about to be sacked by linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill.
The pass was intercepted by Corey Graham and returned 16 yards to the Rams 12-yard line. Smallwood ran 4 yards for a touchdown two plays later.
“Tried to make a play afterwards and unfortunately wasn’t able to,” Goff said. “It was a third down, down in the game and tried to make a play.”
To McVay, the Rams “haven’t played as good as a team” since the bye week that followed their 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Nov. 19 as before the bye week when they had won 10 of 11 games.
“There’s certainly a lot of things that go into that,” McVay said, without elaborating.
Goff attributed the post-bye week slump to “teams are doing different things to us. We just need to find a way to respond.”
The Rams defeated the Detroit Lions 30-16, Dec. 2, then lost to the Chicago Bears, 15-6, last Sunday, their fewest points since a 44-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 1, 2017, the final game of the 2016 season.
The Rams (11-3) outgained Philadelphia 413-381, including a 184-45 advantage in the fourth quarter, and led in first downs, 23-17, thanks to an 11-2 edge in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles led 31:36-28:24 in time of possession before a crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum announced at 74,210.
Nick Foles, starting in place of the injured Carson Wentz and playing for the first time since Sept. 16, completed 24 of 31 passes for 270 yards with one interception as Philadelphia (7-7) won for the third time in four games, keeping its faint playoff hopes alive.
Foles was the Rams starting quarterback for 11 of their first 12 games in the 2015 season, their last in St. Louis. He did not play in the final four games and was released at his request days before veterans were due to report to training camp for the 2016 season.
The Eagles took the lead for good with 10:28 left in the third quarter on Smallwood’s 9-yard run, one play after Foles’ 50-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery, the game’s longest play.
The Rams were forced to punt after three plays on the next possession.
Philadelphia then increased its lead to 23-13 on Elliott’s 40-yard field goal. Foles was five-for-five for 39 yards and Smallwood ran four times for 32 yards on the 10-play 52-yard drive.
Greg Zuerlein kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, tying the score, 13-13. He had also kicked a 41-yard field goal 4:38 before halftime.
The Eagles had taken a 13-10 lead 1:07 earlier as rookie Josh Adams completed a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Philadelphia opened the scoring on its first possession on Elliott’s 51-yard field goal, four plays after Darren Sproles’ 17-yard run.
The Rams responded by driving 80 yards on 13 plays on the ensuing possession, with Gurley running the final 5 yards for the touchdown.
Goff completed all seven of his passes on the drive for 62 yards, including three completions to Gurley for 23 yards and two to Robert Woods for 22. Gurley ran for 17 yards on four carries.
Elliott’s 34-yard field goal cut the Rams lead to 7-6 with 12:00 left in the second quarter.
The Rams have lost their past six games against Philadelphia, including a 43-35 loss last season at the Coliseum. The losing streak is the Rams’ longest in the series that began in 1937, when they were based in Cleveland.
The Eagles also played without linebacker Jordan Hicks, who started the season’s first 10 games and missed his fourth straight game; cornerback Sidney Jones, a West Covina High School alumnus who started three of the previous four games; and left guard Isaac Seumalo, who started the past nine games.
“I’m really proud of our guys for facing adversity,” Foles said. “That’s what we preached this week.”
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: