Rams fall to Ravens on late field goal

The St. Louis Rams lost for the third straight week when Justin Tucker's 47-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Baltimore Ravens to a 16-13 come-from-behind victory.

The St. Louis Rams changed quarterbacks this week before playing the Baltimore Ravens, but it didn’t fix their struggling offense or snap their losing skid. 

The Rams offense gained just 213 yards, tying their season low, and new quarterback Case Keenum accounted for two of the team’s four lost fumbles. The second of Keenum’s fumbles led to Justin Tucker's 47-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Ravens a 16-13 win over the visiting Rams on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

“Well that one was a hard one, probably one of the hardest I’ve been around since I’ve been here,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters. “It’s difficult when you lose that way, in a game that we somewhat controlled or dictated. Gave up a lead. But nonetheless it’s hard to overcome four (turnovers) against a Super Bowl-winning quarterback.”

The Rams fell to 4-6 with their third consecutive loss. The Ravens, who scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, improved to 3-7. 

Keenum completed 12 of 26 passes (46.2 percent) for 136 yards, with one touchdown and a QB rating of 75.2. His two fumbles were the eighth and ninth of his 11-game career. 

“A lot of people moving around up front,” Fisher said, pointing to the offensive line changes and struggles. “They got good pressure on him. We ran the ball as many times as we could, but we’re still facing the same issues — converting third downs and first downs and scoring points.”

St. Louis converted three of 13 attempts on third down (23 percent). 

The Rams rushed for 82 yards on 29 carries, an average of 2.8 per. Rookie running back Todd Gurley had 66 yards on 25 carries, averaging 2.6 per rush, and one touchdown. He also had a costly fumble in the fourth quarter.

St. Louis entered Sunday’s game ranking 30th in the NFL in scoring (18.4 points per game), 31st in yardage (309.6) and 32nd in passing yards (178.7) and fell well short of their averages in those categories against the Ravens. 

“We’re asking a lot of our defense right now,” Fisher said. “We’re not getting anything out of our offense. There’s a lot of pressure on the defense and for the most part they’ve been playing well. But we have to get things going.”

The Rams led 7-0 late in the first quarter after Tucker missed a 51-yard field goal attempt and then Gurley scored on a 1-yard run, his sixth touchdown of the season, with 2:05 left. 

St. Louis suffered another injury to an offensive lineman — this time rookie right tackle Andrew Donnal, who was filling in for injured rookie Rob Havenstein — after losing rookies Jamon Brown and Darrell Williams to season-ending injuries last week.

With Donnal out, the Rams moved Garrett Reynolds to right tackle, moved Cody Wichmann from right guard to left guard and inserted Demetrius Rhaney at right guard. 

“We’ll know tomorrow, but it’s a knee,” Fisher said. “I’ll just say it doesn’t look good. Unfortunate for him. He was playing well.”

Tavon Austin's muffed punt late in the second quarter led to a 25-yard field goal by Tucker right before halftime, cutting the Rams’ lead to 7-3 at the intermission. 

Keenum connected with tight end Lance Kendricks for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 6:14 left in the third quarter. The point-after kick was blocked, but the Rams went ahead 13-3.

“Partly one of the reasons that we got the extra point blocked is we got penetration, (from) moving people around,” Fisher said. “We’ve been working on it and working extra in practice. They have to do a better job.”

Gurley’s fumble early in the fourth quarter turned into a Ravens touchdown, with Joe Flacco connecting with Kamar Aiken for a 3-yard score with 11:11 left to make it 13-10. 

Tucker kicked a 20-yard field goal made it 13-13 with 5:12 remaining. 

The Rams still had another chance to go ahead, but after a drive into Ravens territory Greg Zuerlein's 52-yard field goal attempt missed wide right with 1:41 left.

That gave Baltimore time to drive down the field. Flacco hit Chris Givens for a 20-yard gain to help set up a 51-yard field goal attempt, but Tucker missed wide right with 1:13 remaining. 

So the Rams got another opportunity to win it, but Keenum was incomplete, sacked (on a play that was nullified), threw another incomplete pass and then was sacked and fumbled. The team reported after the game that he was being evaluated for concussion-like symptoms.

The Ravens recovered at the 41-yard line and a 9-yard run on Javorius Allen on second down followed by a 3-yard run got them into field goal range. 

After a Flacco spike to stop the clock, Tucker redeemed himself after two earlier misses with a 47-yard field goal as time expired. 

The victory came at a cost for the Ravens, who lost running back Justin Forsett to a broken arm and had Flacco suffer a knee injury late in the game that is believed to be season-ending. 

The Rams had a chance to get back to .500 with a win on the road, but instead lost for the third straight week. 

Next they will play at the Cincinnati Bengals, who were 8-1 going into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, next Sunday.

“Our focus is going to be against a really good opponent this week,” Fisher said. “That’s how you get through these things, you take them one at a time. I know it sounds boring, but you just don’t look at big picture. You just have to keep working, keep playing. Disappointed for them, though. That was a tough loss.”

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com

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