That's going to do it for our live coverage of the Rams' big win over the Falcons. Thanks for joining us!
The three-game losing streak for the Los Angeles Rams is over. All it took was the Atlanta Falcons to get Los Angeles off the schneid. The Rams dominated the Falcons in ending the longest losing streak under Sean McVay as Jared Goff threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns while also running for another score. Goff completed passes to eight different receivers as the Rams got their offense back on track one week after scoring just a touchdown in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Rams defense shut down a Falcons offense that averaged 317.8 pass yards of the season, thanks to the acquisition of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and a pass rush that finished with five sacks on the afternoon. Dante Fowler Jr. finished with three sacks, a forced fumble and a pass defense to lead the defensive line while Aaron Donald also had a sack and a forced fumble, placing himself in sole possession of third place on the franchise's all-time sack list. Ramsey also had an impact in this one, keeping Julio Jones in check and forcing a fumble in the first half. Los Angeles forced three fumbles and had an interception in the contest, scoring 10 points off turnovers.
Atlanta could only muster just 224 yards of offense, not scoring a touchdown until the game was out of hand (and with backup quarterback Matt Schaub in). Matt Ryan left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and Ito Smith left in the first half with a concussion. Running back Devonta Freeman was ejected after attempting a punch on Aaron Donald, leaving the Falcons without their top two running backs in the second half of this one. The Falcons were going to wait a few weeks to determine head coach Dan Quinn's future, but that may come sooner later than later with this five-game losing streak and their worst loss of the season.
Why the Rams won
If the Rams needed a cure for their losing streak, all they had to do was play the Falcons. The Rams offense did get back on track, thanks to Jared Goff rebounding from his career-worst performance the previous week. Los Angeles set Goff up for success early, starting the game off with six running plays before using play action to get Goff into a rhythm. Against the Falcons pass defense, Goff went 22 of 37 for 268 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 99.8 passer rating, his highest since Week 2. Goff's best play was actually his rushing touchdown on third-and-goal as he used play action on a bootleg to his left. With no receiver open, Goff faked the throw and ran past Falcons linebacker Deion Jones for the touchdown. This was Goff's best game of the year, which the Rams need consistently if they want to catch the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West.
Why The Falcons lost
The Falcons are starting to contend for the worst team in the NFL as they played their worst game of the year. Atlanta had just 224 yards of offense in this one, failing to get past the Rams' 28-yard line when the first-team offense was in the game. With Matt Ryan in, the Falcons had just 150 yards of offense with a missed field goal, three fumbles and an interception. The Falcons had 10 first downs in an inefficient offensive performance. Ryan was just 16 of 27 for 159 yards with an interception, getting no help from his running backs as the Falcons had just 38 yards rushing. Devonta Freeman was ineffectiveand Ito Smith was injured on a poor blocking attempt. A pitiful performance from the Falcons, who seem to have given up on the Dan Quinn era.
With the game tied 3-3 and Los Angeles facing a third-and-2 from the Falcons' 12-yard line, Rams head coach Sean McVay called a timeout to draw up a play and make sure the Rams scored a touchdown. McVay didn't disappoint; Jared Goff hit Todd Gurley on a wheel route as Gurley ran past Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley before catching the score.
The throw was perfect by Goff, and Gurley sure looked like he was running on two healthy knees while making the catch. The Rams took a 10-3 lead with 11:22 left in the second quarter and didn't trail the rest of the game.
Play of the game
Fake punts are fun to watch and the Rams perfectly executed one with a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. On a fourth-and-3 at the Falcons' 46-yard line, Rams punter Johnny Hekker didn't line up as far back as he normally does to punt, catching the Falcons off guard as he took the snap like a quarterback and found upback Nick Scott (who usually plays defensive back) in the flat for the first down and a gain of 23 yards.
The Rams were able to convert the fake punt, which led to a field goal and a 13-3 lead. Hekker has 13 pass completions in his career, but this one arguably broke the Falcons back as they were about to get the ball down a touchdown, the remainder of the game.
"He gave us a lot of opportunities to get after the quarterback. A lot of man coverage and he was doing a lot of different things, giving us the opportunity to get after the quarterback and get him down to the ground. Adding him to the mix was a big plus for us." -- Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald on the addition of Jalen Ramsey to the defense.
The Rams' defensive line had five sacks on the afternoon as Donald and Fowler had more time to get to Ryan with Ramsey in the secondary. Los Angeles shut the Atlanta offense down with a rejuvenated defense thanks to the acquisition of Ramsey.
The Rams (4-3) will head to London for a "home" game against the winless Cincinnati Bengals next week. This is the second of three consecutive games against teams with under. 500 records. The Falcons (1-6) will host the Seattle Seahawks before heading into their bye. They then will have five consecutive games against NFC South opponents.