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Rams Rout Giants with 51-17 Victory

Posted Nov 5, 2017

With three takeaways, a blocked punt, and a career day by QB Jared Goff, the Rams routed the Giants on the road

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Rams turned in another complete performance, besting the Giants in all three phases en route to a dominating 51-17 victory.

Los Angeles recorded three takeaways in the first half, each of which led to points. Linebacker Cory Littleton blocked his second punt in three games. Quarterback Jared Goff threw for career highs in both yards (311) and touchdowns (four). And the Rams scored 50 points for the first time since 2014.

All of which added up to the Rams improving their record to 5-0 in games away from the Coliseum this year.

“Very pleased with our team’s effort today,” head coach Sean McVay said postgame. “I thought we put together all three phases, but, again, real credit to our players coming off of the bye week. We didn’t have any rust and that was something we emphasized all week.”

Los Angeles had six offensive plays go for at least 35 yards, finishing the day with 473 total yards. The Rams averaged 7.8 yards per play on 61 plays — 22 passing and 39 rushing.

Goff finished with a 146.8 passer rating and 14.1 yards per attempt.

“Really pleased with Jared today,” McVay said. “I thought he managed the game extremely well. I thought he made some excellent off-schedule plays. … Jared was the one running the show today and he showed great command and great poise in a road atmosphere against a tough opponent.”

Running back Todd Gurley scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and had 104 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches, once again helping to pace the offense.

But it was wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods who stole the show in the first half. Woods recorded his first touchdown of the season — and first as a Ram — on a wild 3rd-and-33 screen play he took 52 yards for a touchdown. And then Watkins scored on a 67-yard deep throw from Goff.

“I thought the touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins was extremely encouraging because it was a great deep-ball throw,” McVay said. “It was a little wet at the time, so the ball can count out of your hand funny. And Sammy made an excellent catch down the field.”

Defensively, the Rams got their takeaways going early with Aaron Donald’s strip sack of quarterback Eli Manning on the first drive. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin recovered the loose ball on the Rams’ 48, giving the club’s offense great field position to start.

It didn’t take long for L.A. to take advantage of the field position, with Gurley ripping off a 36-yard run to the New York 16 to commence the possession. A few plays later, Goff hit tight end Tyler Higbee with an eight-yard touchdown pass to give the visitors an early 7-0 lead.

New York went on a long 14-play drive — complete with four third-down conversions — to tie the game. But from there, it was clearly Los Angeles’ day.

Greg Zuerlein started the Rams’ 20-point second quarter with a 27-yard field goal. Then the Rams overcame a pair of significant offensive penalties to score off the defense’s second takeaway of the day.

On 1st-and-10 from the L.A. 48, middle linebacker Alec Ogletree forced a fumble on Giants running back Wayne Gallman Jr. to put the offense back on the field. Though Goff connected with wide receiver Cooper Kupp on a 19-yard pass, the next play Kupp was flagged for offensive pass interference. Then L.A. was called for a chop block, pushing the club back even farther.

And yet, Woods was still able to get 52 yards on 3rd-and-33 to extend the Rams’ lead to 17-7.

“That was nice, huh?” Goff joked after the game.

“The floodgates were wide open,” Woods said, adding left tackle Andrew Whitworth “had the big block, and just followed him inside, then just ran and did the rest.”

“That first touchdown play was all him,” McVay said of Woods. “He had great blocks and then you see the speed to be able to finish a long screen pass on 3rd-and-long, where you’re really just hoping to get some yards back and maybe get into field-goal range. He ends up taking that for a long touchdown.”

The Rams’ next drive ended after just two plays when Goff and Watkins connected for their 67-yard touchdown. Ironically, Goff noted Watkins had not actually ran that particular play at full speed during practice.

“That was the first time he has ever ran that route,” Goff said with a chuckle. “That’s what we were saying on the sidelines. We have walked through that route, and we’ve jogged through it. I came to the sideline and asked, ‘Was that the first time you’ve ever really, truly ran that?’ And he was like ‘Yeah.’”

Cornerback Trumaine Johnson picked up the Rams’ third takeaway later in the third quarter, picking off a Manning pass for his second interception of the season.

“Really was just reading the concept and the vision on the quarterback,” Johnson said of the p lay. “It was like a flat [route] with a dig. I felt the receiver come behind me, and with vision on the quarterback, I was able to make a play.”

Zuerlein nailed a 46-yard field goal, which gave L.A. a 27-10 lead heading into halftime.

The Rams kept rolling in the third quarter, scoring touchdowns on all three of their possessions in the period. Kupp caught a 35-yard pass to bring the visitors deep into opponent territory, then wide receiver Tavon Austin nearly capped the drive with a 21-yard run to the left. Instead, Gurley  took it in from a yard out for his first touchdown of the day.

Wide receiver Pharoh Cooper continued his strong string of returns with a 30-yard punt return midway through the third quarter, setting the Rams up at the Giants’ 45. A 44-yard screen pass to Gurley placed L.A. inside the five-yard line, and Goff capped the possession with a four-yard touchdown pass to Woods.

Littleton’s blocked punt put L.A. on the New York 18. Tight end Gerald Everett took a jet sweep 13 yards, then Gurley did the rest — taking it on the ground for his second touchdown of the day for a 48-10 lead. Up by 38, Gurley was seen joyfully skipping off the field following his 10th touchdown of the season.

With the Rams’ starters on the bench, Manning threw a touchdown pass to rookie tight end Evan Engram, slightly cutting into Los Angeles’ lead. Then Zuerlein capped the scoring with a 47-yard field goal.

With the victory, the Rams are 6-2 on the season. After Seattle’s Week 9 loss to Washington, Los Angeles is in sole possession of first place in the NFC West.

The Rams will play back at home in the Coliseum for the first time in a month next week when they take on the Texans.

“I think we are eager to see if we can continue playing good football right now. And we’re excited to be back home in L.A. and play in front of, hopefully, a good crowd at the Coliseum,” McVay said. “I know that our players will appreciate the support, but really what our focus will be on is seeing if we can string together another complete game. And if we do that, we’ll give ourselves a chance against a tough Houston Texans team.”