The Los Angeles Rams consistently anemic offense drew boos and chants for Jared Goff to replace Case Keenum at quarterback in a 13-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“The fans expect production and execution and points. I totally get that,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said after his team’s fourth consecutive loss that dropped its record to 3-5. “I’ve been through that before. I totally understand their position on that.”
Fisher said he did not hear the chants of “We want Goff” late in the second quarter with the Rams trailing 7-0.
“Case was not the reason we lost this game,” Fisher said. “We just didn’t make plays in all three phases. We’ll circle the wagons with the coaches and look at the tape, but I’m pleased with the way Case has fought.”
Following the Rams most recent previous game — a 17-10 loss to the New York Giants in London on Oct. 23 when Keenum had four passes intercepted — Fisher definitively said Keenum was the best choice at quarterback.
When asked if he would re-evaluate his quarterback decision this week, Fisher said, “I don’t think Case’s play today was indicative of raising the question.”
Goff has not played in the regular season after being chosen first in the draft.
When asked for his reaction to the booing, Keenum said, “I’m glad they care because I care as well and when we aren’t scoring points and we aren’t moving the football, it’s frustrating.
I can tell they’re frustrated,” Keenum said after completing 27 of 46 passes for 296 yards and one touchdown with an interception. “We’re frustrated, too, but we are doing our best and we are going to go back and look at it and see what we need to fix and come in Monday ready to go.”
Keenum said his performance was “not good enough.”
“Again, a turnover cost us and not good enough on third down,” Keenum said. “There were couple plays there that I want back.”
Keenum was sacked four times and had a pass intercepted in the third quarter, which the Panthers turned into Graham Gano’s 38-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead with 11 minutes, 12 seconds to play.
The Rams converted four of 14 third downs, and two of three fourth downs.
Rams Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley rushed for a game-high 48 yards on 12 carries, with 18 of the yards coming when he took a direct snap to start a drive in the second quarter and another 10 on what would prove to be his final carry in the fourth quarter.
“They’re taking the run away with respect to the fronts and the stunting, so we pick it up and throw it,” Fisher said after Gurley was held to under 50 yards for the third time this season. “It’s not a Todd thing, it’s not a personal thing from Todd. You can see how explosive he is when we get the ball in his hands.”
The Rams were held to 10 points or less for the fourth time this season. Their offense entered the week’s play 30th in the 32-team league and 29th in rushing and 25th in passing.
The Rams were scoreless until Greg Zuerlein’s 25-yard field goal with 8:01 to play. The kick came one play after tight end Lance Kendricks dropped a pass near the goal line.
“Tough catch, ball surprised him,” Fisher said. “The ball was thrown in a good position.”
Kendricks caught seven passes for 90 yards, both game highs.
Gano kicked a 37-yard field goal on the ensuing drive.
The Rams then drove 75 yards in 15 plays, with Keenum throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt on a fourth-and-goal play with 34 seconds to play.
Ted Ginn Jr. recovered the Rams onside kickoff for Carolina (3-5)
“They tried to sneak one on us — one up the middle, and Teddy handled it perfectly,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “It’s one of those scary things. You never know what’s going to happen with the ball bouncing the way it does.”
Quarterback Cam Newton needed to kneel just once to kill the remaining 31 seconds to complete the defending NFC champions second consecutive victory following a four-game losing streak.
The Rams two scoring drives accounted for 148 of their 339 yards and nine of their 18 first downs.
Newton completed 20 of 32 passes for 225 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen in the first quarter.
A bright spot for the Rams was their defensive line making a season-high five quarterback sacks.
The five sacks mean each defensive lineman and defensive line coach Mike Waufle will make a $500 donation to help fight homelessness in Los Angeles.
The Rams defensive line began the “Sack Homelessness” initiative in the 2012 season when the team was based in St. Louis. The program generated more than $200,000 in its first four seasons, a team official said.
The game was the Rams annual Salute to Service military appreciation game, celebrating and recognizing members of the military.
The Rams honored servicemen and women who died while serving in the armed forces or from injuries sustained while serving in the post-9/11 era by having each player on the team wear the initials of one of the soldiers on his helmet.
—City News Service