Los Angeles Rams show ability to win, lose

Los Angeles Rams show ability to win, lose

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams made progress since last season. That’s clear to see by the way they dominated the Colts in Week 1 and took the Redskins to the wire in Week 2.

But they aren’t good enough to overcome the kind of mistakes they made in Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins when seven penalties — especially those during a critical fourth-quarter drive — and two turnovers did them in.

“We can’t hurt ourselves with the penalties, some of the different things that occurred throughout the course of the game,” said Rams head coach Sean McVay. “But, I know that we’ll look at ourselves critically in the mirror, coaches included, starting with me and making sure that we do a good job with our short week of preparation going into a game against our divisional opponent in the Niners and we know it’s going to be a great challenge.”

Two positives stood out: The play of running back Todd Gurley, who finally looked like the powerful, slashing runner that won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2015; and the continued emergence of second-year quarterback Jared Goff who, in spite of a late interception that closed the door on a Rams comeback, played a relatively efficient game after his breakout performance in Week 1 against the Colts.

Goff helped engineer a Rams comeback from 13-0 and 20-10 deficits to tie it at 20-20 with seven minutes remaining.

In spite of the loss, the comeback was a positive takeaway for a young team.

“Our ability to fight back that we now know we have. We didn’t have to do it in Week 1 – preseason’s completely different,” Goff said “But, knowing that we can go down 13-nothing, we probably could’ve even gone down 17-nothing and get a chance to fight back. We’ve got the weapons out there to make the plays – to make big plays and we get ourselves back in the game. I think it’s drastically improved. We now know that we’re never out of the fight and continue to keep going. As long as we execute and take care of the ball – good things will happen.”

Gurley finished with 88 yards rushing and 48 receiving yards while scoring a touchdown. It was a small glimpse of his capabilities, but a positive step in the right direction. For the Rams offense to function at a high level, Gurley must get going.

“We did a good job on the offense,” Gurley said. “Just everybody making space for each other and just going out there and making plays. We just (weren’t) able to make enough plays.”

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald was back in the starting lineup after returning last week to end a contract holdout. Donald finished with just one tackle and an assist and was not exactly pleased with the performance.

“I didn’t win my one-on-ones,” Donald said. “When I have one-on-ones, I usually win those. I was doing too much thinking. I keep trying to say, that’s on me so I just have to play better.”

Donald promised to be better when the Rams take the field Thursday against the 49ers in Santa Clara.

“I’ll be good next week,” he said. “Just to be out there with live movements, just to get the speed of the game and seeing little things to help me play a little faster. So, like I said, breaking down the film and coming back next week a lot better.”

Donald played 48 of a possible 71 snaps (68 percent), but the only defensive lineman to play more was Michael Brockers with 51.