Monday, December 6, 2021

Rams’ second loss due to penalty, early take

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford left no stone unturned to assess his performance after Los Angeles’ 28-16 loss to Tennessee on Sunday night.

“I settled during the second half, but by that time I had done too much damage,” he said.

A pair of Stafford interceptions in the second quarter gave Tennessee a 14-3 lead, but the veteran quarterback wasn’t the only one who had a bad night against the Titans, who hold the AFC’s best record of 7-2.

The Rams were punished 12 times, which is the second most in McVay’s four-plus season in charge. 115 yards is the most in McVay’s 73 regular-season games.

Three of the Titans’ 16 first downs were via Rams penalties, including a pair of passing calls on the drive, which combined with Adrian Peterson’s 1-yard TD run to give Tennessee a 28-9 lead late in the fourth quarter. ended for.

Jalen Ramsey was on the verge of being evicted in the first half when he was assessed a second non-playing conduct penalty. But officials said the All-Pro cornerback’s first-quarter penalty was for unnecessary roughness, even though it was originally called non-playing conduct.

Aaron Donald, who received one of the harshest penalties when it looked like he hit Ryan Tanhill out of bounds, did a good job of hiding his disappointment about the call after the game.

“You have to keep playing and don’t let it affect you,” he said. That’s all I have,” he said.

Stafford praised the defense for trying to keep the Rams in the game. Even though Tennessee had just 194 yards of total offense—the ninth lowest yards by a team in a game this season—Donald wasn’t happy that the Titans converted both of their red zone opportunities into scores.

“They were in the red zone twice and we did not stop. We have to get better as a team,” he said.

One of those red zone opportunities came at Stafford’s first interception. Instead of taking a safety or trying to throw it high over Robert Woods’ head, Stafford launched an off-balance throw that was easily picked up by Titans linebacker David Long Jr. and returned to the LA 2-yard line. Tennessee took the lead in the next game with a 2-yard TD pass to Geoff Swim.

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Stafford then threw his 24th pick-6 to Kevin Byrd to give the Titans a 14-3 lead.

The first half was easily Stafford’s worst since being acquired by the Rams during the off-season. He threw only 62 yards and his first half passer rating of 25.5 was the third lowest in his 13-year career.

Stafford sat through most of the practice during the week due to a back problem, but coaches Sean McVay and Stafford refused to use this as an excuse for a poor outing.

“He did some involuntary plays but I’m not going to blame him,” McVay said. “I didn’t put my team in a position to make plays and have a rhythm and routine.”

According to Next Gen Stats, Stafford was pressured to only 5.4 dropbacks per game, but was pressured 13 times season-high by the Titans. Stafford credits three of his five sacks for playing strong coverage to Tennessee.

“I held it too long and was trying to be aggressive. I had to get it out early because there were guys down there,” said Stafford, who completed 31 of 48 for 294 yards.

The damage disrupted Los Angeles in other ways as well. Instead of being tied with Arizona over the NFC West or seeded second after defeats by Green Bay and Dallas, the Rams (7–2) are one of four teams in the conference with two losses.

“We have to play clean football. I want to see what we learn from our response. The last time we had a setback (37-20 loss to Arizona on October 3), I liked how we reacted,” McVay said.


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