The Los Angeles Rams were frequent target of boos in a 42-14 loss Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, committing five turnovers, four of which the Atlanta Falcons converted into touchdowns.
The loss was the 165th in coach Jeff Fisher’s career, tying him with Dan Reeves for the most in NFL history. Fisher as coached 339 games, 18 fewer than Reeves.
Rookie quarterback Jared Goff had two passes intercepted, one of which was returned for a touchdown, as the Rams (4-9) lost their fourth consecutive game and eighth of their last nine.
Of the 14 times the Rams offense had the ball, they had six “three and outs,” and were also forced to punt one other time.
Both Ram touchdowns came in the fourth quarter. The first was on the first play of the quarter on Todd Gurley’s three-yard run that concluded an eight-play, 60-yard drive.
Goff ran two yards for his first NFL touchdown with two minutes, 44 seconds left, completing a 13-play, 80-yard drive before a crowd that was announced at 82,495, but substantially diminished by the fourth quarter.
The Rams outgained the Falcons, 312 yards to 286, thanks in part to a 102-24 advantage in the fourth quarter, and led 21-18 in first downs and 32:52- 27:08 in time of possession.
The Rams found themselves trailing 10 seconds into the game on Matt Ryan’s three-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hardy, one play after rookie Michael Thomas muffed the opening kickoff and the ball was recovered by Paul Worrilow.
The Rams usual kick returner, Benny Cunningham was inactive because of a neck injury suffered in last Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the New England Patriots.
Thomas had returned three kickoffs before Sunday.
Atlanta (8-5) increased its lead to 14-0 on Ryan’s six-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Coleman on the first play of second quarter. Linebacker Deion Jones intercepted a Goff pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown 8:54 before halftime.
Ryan threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Gabriel on the opening drive of the second half. Coleman ran six yards for a touchdown on the Falcons next possession, eight plays after running back Malcolm Brown’s fumble was recovered by defensive tackle Courtney Upshaw on the Falcons 46-yard line.
The carry was Brown’s 11th of the season and final one of the game. Cunningham is customarily the Rams second-string running back.
Vic Beasley Jr. sacked Goff on the ensuing possession, recovered his fumble and ran 21 yards for a touchdown.
Ryan completed 18 of 28 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters. Both of Atlanta’s two leading receivers — Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu — were inactive because of injuries.
Goff completed 24 of 41 passes for 235 yards in his fourth start, all of which the Rams have lost.
The loss assured the Rams of a losing record for the 10th consecutive season. They have not had a winning record since 2003, when they were 12-4.
Rams punter Johnny Hekker put six of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line, giving him 46 punts inside the 20 for the season, tying the NFL record set by Dave Zastudil in 2012 when he played for the Arizona Cardinals.
The Rams made two quarterback sacks, meaning each defensive lineman and defensive line coach Mike Waufle will make a $200 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.
–City News Service
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