It was yet again the same old story for the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon suffering an embarrassing 42-14 loss at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons.
Los Angeles had a forgettable team performance committing five turnovers in the game, which four of them were converted by the Falcons into touchdowns despite missing their top two receiving options in Julio Jones and Mohammad Sanu due to injuries.
The Rams immediately got off on the wrong foot to start the game when Michael Thomas fumbled the kickoff allowing the Falcons to get on the scoreboard first with a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Justin Hardy for a three-yard connection just 10 seconds into the game. Things continued to snowball with rookie quarterback Jared Goff throwing his first career pick-six interception that put his team behind 21-0 at halftime.
In the second half, it only worsened for the Rams with the Falcons putting up 21 points in the third quarter behind Ryan's third touchdown pass of the game with a 64-yard hook up with Taylor Gabriel on the opening drive of the half. The Rams followed it up with a fumble by Malcolm Brown, and a couple of drives later Goff was strip sacked by Vic Beasley, who made a 23-yard fumble touchdown return.
The Falcons became just the fourth team this season to score multiple defensive touchdowns in a game, which they now lead the NFL with five defensive scores.
"Regardless of who you play, and they’re if not the top offensively, anytime you spot someone three touchdowns, one basically on special teams and give up two defensive touchdowns on offense, it’s hard to overcome," said head coach Jeff Fisher, who tied the all-time mark for most losses in NFL history with Dan Reeves. "Then you add to that drops and penalties at the wrong time, it doesn’t happen."
It was an embarrassing performance that saw the Rams become the first team to be down by that amount in a home game since the Denver Broncos trailed the Detroit Lions 45-3 in a 45-10 loss during the 2011 season. This was also once again another tough outing for Goff, who had completed 24-of-41 passes for 235 yards with a pair interceptions but did record his first rushing touchdown of his career.
"Every day in practice, we do, we practice well. We practice hard. We have good effort in practice, every practice," Goff said. "But for some reason, it hasn’t been able to translate very well, at least recently. That’s something we need to work on and fix. It’s not lack of effort, it’s not lack of character. We have the guys in that room to do it, we have to coaches to do it – we need to just put it all together on the field. Until we do that, it’s going to be the same thing.”
Sunday's loss has effectively eliminated the Rams from the playoff picture, which also marked their 10th straight losing season. Despite that, Todd Gurley believes that the team's focus should remain the same on field regardless of their standing in the league.
“We’ve got to play. I don’t care if we’re out the playoffs or not," said Gurley, who had 61 rushing yards on 16 carries and his fourth touchdown of the season in the loss. "Just come up, show up, and play. That’s why we play this game – show up and play.”
The Rams will have to shift their focus quickly with a matchup on Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks, who are coming off a discouraging 31-10 loss against the Green Bay Packers in Week 14.
“They don’t care about what we have going on, we don’t care about what they have going on," said Tavon Austin, who had seven receptions for 62 yards. "We know that it’s a Thursday Night game, we’ll have a lot of eyes on us. There are no moral victories, but we’ll have a chance to feel better about what’s going on.”