Game Recap: Rams Hold On to Defeat Chiefs 54-51

Starting with the ball, the Rams made quick work of their first drive — going 75 yards in six plays to take an early lead.

Quarterback Jared Goff connected with wideout Brandin Cooks on consecutive plays to get the Rams into Chiefs territory, with the second play a 30-yard catch-and-run on a slant.

But it was wide receiver Robert Woods who got the Rams on the board, with Goff hitting the wideout on a crossing route to the back-left corner of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown. With the score, Woods now has four receiving touchdowns on the season.

Kicker Greg Zuerlein, however, missed the extra point, keeping the score at 6-0, L.A.

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The Rams were then able to force a punt the Chiefs’ first possession, with cornerback Marcus Peters providing solid coverage deep down the defense’s left on tight end Travis Kelce for an incomplete pass.

Wide receiver Josh Reynolds — starting in place of Cooper Kupp — made his presence known on Los Angeles’ second possession.

First, the wideout caught a 14-yard pass over the middle, getting drilled in the process but holding on to the football regardless.

Then Reynolds caught his third touchdown of the season, making a four-yard reception in the back-right corner of the end zone to give L.A. a two-touchdown lead. Reynolds had to reach over the defender to make the catch, and did so seemingly with ease.

Zuerlein nailed his extra point to give L.A. a 13-0 lead.

Following Los Angeles’ second touchdown, it didn’t take long for Kansas City to remove the zero next to its name on the scoreboard.

The Chiefs’ first play of the possession — a short pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes to Kelce — went only three yards. But from there, the visitors had little resistance to get to the end zone.

Running back Kareem Hunt went 27 yards up the middle. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill caught a 20-yard pass on comeback route to the left. And then Mahomes hit Hill on the left side again — this time with a 25-yard touchdown pass to the end zone.

With the extra point, K.C. cut into the lead to make the score 13-7.

The Rams were able to increase their lead on their third drive, but they were about an inch short of another touchdown.

On 2nd-and-goal from the K.C. five, Reynolds caught a pass in the back-left corner of the end zone. And while he dragged his toes on the left foot, his right foot was already about an inch out of bounds — rending the play incomplete.

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On 3rd-and-5, the officials initially called defensive pass interference, but reversed it after Chiefs head coach Andy Reid won his challenge that the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

With Zuerlein’s 23-yard field goal, L.A. brought the score to 16-7.

While Kansas City got back on the board, a strong play by safety John Johnson kept the visitors out of the end zone with a big third-down tackle.

The Chiefs lined up in the pistol on 3rd-and-goal from the L.A. one-yard line, and Mahomes sprinted to his left for an option play. The quarterback pitched it to Hunt, but Johnson used his speed to knock last year’s rushing champion out of bounds for a loss, keeping Kansas City to a field goal.

Los Angeles has done a nice job staying out of giveaways in 2018, but had one on its fourth drive to lead to a Kansas City touchdown.

After being sacked for an eight-yard loss on 2nd-and-5, Goff was dropped again on third down — but this time he fumbled, too. The Chiefs recovered at Los Angeles’ 21-yard line for a big extra possession.

And it didn’t take long for the visitors to capitalize on the takeaway, with Mahomes dealing a screen to Hunt on the right side for a one-play, 21-yard touchdown drive.

With the extra point, the Chiefs had a 17-16 lead with 6:28 left in the first half.

Goff and the offense couldn’t get anything going on their following possession either, and punter Johnny Hekker made his first appearance of the day. His 55-yard boot plus an illegal block I the back penalty pushed Kansas City all the way back to its own three-yard line.

That’s when defensive tackle Aaron Donald did what he does best, and got into the backfield for a game-changing play.

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On 2nd-and-8 from the Kansas City 22, Donald came around the corner and strip-sacked Mahomes. The ball squirted backwards on the defense’s left, and outside linebacker Samson Ebukam was able to scoop up the fumble and score a go-ahead touchdown with an 11-yard recovery.

Up 23-17, the Rams’ defense was unable to keep the Chiefs off the board on their drive that began with 1:43 left in the second quarter from their own 31. With Mahomes to Kelce netting a 37-yard gain to the L.A. 14, Mahomes capped the drive with an off-schedule touchdown throw to wideout Chris Conley in the middle of the end zone. But kicker Harrison Butker missed the extra point, keeping the game at 23 all after the first 30 minutes.

Kansas City had the ball to begin the second half, but Donald made sure the visitors didn’t have a chance to put points on the board with his second strip-sack of the game.

A play after the defensive tackle was flagged for illegal hands to the face, Donald beat the guard around the corner once again to bring down Mahomes in the backfield — the ball once again squirting backwards. Rookie defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers recovered the loose pigskin at the Kansas City 46, giving the Rams their second extra possession of the ballgame.

The Rams were able to fully capitalize on the takeaway after netting a fourth-down conversion with a completion from Goff to Higbee on a crossing route over the middle of the field. Then on 3rd-and-goal from the seven, Goff didn’t have anyone open — but found a rush lane up the middle for his first rushing touchdown of the season. Zuerlein’s extra point was good, giving L.A. a 30-23 lead.

But Kansas City was able to tie the game, once again with big plays from Kelce. With the visitors already in Rams territory, Mahomes hit Kelce with a 37-yard pass all the way to the home team’s five. And a couple plays later, Mahomes connected with Kelce on a crossing route to the right for a five-yard touchdown, which tied the game with the extra point.

Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Samson Ebukam runs for a touchdown after making an interception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Los Angeles took a 33-30 lead with a 33-yard field goal by Zuerlein, but Ebukam made sure that score wouldn’t stay that same way for long.

On the first play of the Chiefs’ ensuing drive, Ebukam tipped up a short pass at the line of scrimmage, then caught it for an interception — the first of his career. With no one really in front of him, Ebukam charged down the field for a 25-yard touchdown, dragging Mahomes and Hill into the end zone for his second defensive touchdown of the game. 

The defense followed its second touchdown by forcing a rare three-and-out out of the Kansas City offense. But a holding penalty plus a sack gave the Rams 2nd-and-30. The club couldn’t get much going after that, and Hekker had to punt.

Hill fielded the ball at his own one-yard line, returning it to the K.C. nine. From there, Mahomes completed a pair of passes to give the visitors a first down at their own 27. That’s when Mahomes uncorked a deep ball to Hill who was wide open down the field, caught the pass, and ran it in for a 73-yard TD.

Los Angeles still had a 40-37 lead, but that evaporated quickly. After a holding penalty on the kickoff return put the home team at its own 14 to start, Goff was strip-sacked on 3rd-and-9 by outside linebacker Justin Houston and defensive lineman Allen Bailey recovered the ball out of the air, returning it two yards for a defensive touchdown. With the extra point, Kansas City had a 44-40 lead.

Goff, however, appeared unfazed, coming out and leading another touchdown drive to get L.A. back on top. He connected with Reynolds on a 27-yard pass to the left. Then hit Woods with a deep pass to the left for 36 yards — getting the home team to the Kansas City seven. From there, on 3rd-and-goal from the seven, Goff completed a crossing route to tight end Gerald Everett for a seven-yard TD, putting L.A. back on top 47-44.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff looks to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The game, wildly, still had 9:38 left.

After both teams traded punts — again, wild for this game — Kansas City kept a drive alive near midfield with a Mahomes strike to Kelce on 4th-and-2, good for 18 yards into L.A. territory.

Following a “lowering the helmet to initiate contact” penalty called on the Rams, Mahomes connected with Conley for a 10-yard touchdown to give Kansas City a 51-47 lead with 2:47 left in the contest.

But, you know, the back-and-forth nature of this game just kept going and L.A. took another lead with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Everett. Goff fired the pass just after the two-minute warning, with Everett running a fly route down the left sideline and keeping his toes in bounds as he broke a tackle to race into the end zone. Los Angeles had a 54-51 lead following the extra point.

With 1:44 left and three timeouts, the Chiefs started their possession on their own 26, but got into L.A. territory on a ridiculous catch on the right sideline by Hill.

But on the next play, Ebukam forced yet another takeaway by hitting Mahomes as he tried to fire deep — and former Chief Marcus Peters picked off the pass.

But with Kansas City having three timeouts left, the Rams had to punt the ball back to the Chiefs after being unable to secure a first down.

Starting at their own 13 and one timeout, the Chiefs gained a first down at their 26 before taking their final timeout with 26 seconds left.

On that next play, safety Lamarcus Joyner intercepted Mahomes on a deep pass to Mahomes’ right to secure the victory.

With the win, Los Angeles is now 10-1 heading into the bye week. The Rams can clinch the NFC West with a Seahawks loss in Week 12.

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