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Game Recap: Rams Lose to Eagles, 30-23, fall to 11-3 in 2018

For the first time, the Rams have lost back-to-back regular-season games under head coach Sean McVay.

Though the score was tied at 13 at halftime, the Eagles scored 17 points in the third quarter to take a 30-13 lead.

Philadelphia was first on the board with a 51-yard field goal by kicker Jake Elliott. Though the Eagles were able to move the ball efficiently for the most part on their opening possession, L.A. got stout once the ball reached home territory to keep the Eagles out of the red zone.

Los Angeles’ offense then came back with a key offensive answer. The unit was able to overcome a holding penalty that backed it up to 1st-and-20 from the L.A. 25 with an 18-yard reception by Robert Woods on the right sideline on 2nd-and-12. From there, the Rams stayed ahead of the chains, eventually getting into the end zone with a Todd Gurley four-yard run to the left for his new career-high 20th total touchdown of the season.

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The Eagles got back on the board on their ensuing drive, but stayed out of the painted grass with a strong play by safety John Johnson. The second-year defensive back out of Boston College broke up quarterback Nick Foles’ pass to tight end Zach Ertz in the back of the end zone, which induced the Eagles to settle for a 34-yard field goal.

With a 7-6 lead, Los Angeles lost a possession when quarterback Goff threw his sixth interception in the last three games. On 1st-and-10 from the L.A. 44, the signal-caller fired to the right for wideout Josh Reynolds but cornerback Avonte Maddox was able to make a diving pick to give Philadelphia an extra possession.

But the Rams’ defense was up to the challenge, getting the ball back after just one set of downs. On 3rd-and-3, Johnson came up to stop an Adams run one-yard short of the sticks. Then when the Eagles went for it on 4th-and-1, Johnson combined with linebacker Cory Littleton to stuff Adams for no gain, putting Los Angeles’ offense back on the field with no harm done.

A pair of Gurley runs for a combined 30 yards put L.A. in scoring position, but then an offensive pass interference penalty pushed the Rams back to 1st-and-20. Now behind the chains, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox sacked Goff on 3rd-and-11 for an eight-yard loss. Kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed his 41-yard attempt to give L.A. a 10-6 lead.

The Rams had a good chance to get off the field for a two-minute drive when the Eagles had 3rd-and-5 from their own 40 with 2:09 left in the half. But Foles connected with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for a 36-yard gain on the right side to keep the visitors’ drive alive. Then Foles hit Jeffery again for an 18-yard gain to the L.A. six.

From there, Adams punched the ball in for Philadelphia’s first touchdown of the game.

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Armed with two timeouts and 1:07 left on the clock, the Rams were able to drive down the field for a game-tying field goal. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught four pases for 32 yards on the possession, helping to get L.A. in scoring position. Though the Rams took three shots at the end zone, they weren’t able to get it in. Zuerlein’s 36-yard field goal was good to close out the first half.

The defense got things going in the right direction to begin the third quarter, forcing a three-and-out. But then after returner JoJo Natson lost five yards on a punt return, Los Angeles started its drive back at the five-yard line. The offense couldn’t get anything going from there, punting after a three-and-out.

Starting with the ball at the visitor’s 41-yard line, the Eagles made quick work of getting into the end zone. Foles to Jeffery gained 50 yards on the first play, with the wideout leaping to make the catch at the L.A. nine. Then running back Wendell Smallwood took a handoff nine yards up the middle for a touchdown, giving Philly a 20-13 lead.

Then came bad news — running back Todd Gurley had a knee injury and his return was questionable. John Kelly took some of his first offensive snaps of the season to replace Gurley, but the running back was unable to find any room running it. The offense went three-and-out, with Goff having to throw the ball away on 3rd-and-2 when a free rusher came at him.

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After another Elliott field goal put Philadelphia up 23-13, another inopportune Goff interception put the visitors in position to increase their lead.

On 3rd-and-1 from the L.A. 34, Goff was either stepped on or tripped at the snap. The quarterback then fell, fumbled, recovered, and got up. Trying to make a play, Goff let the ball go behind the line, but it was intercepted by safety Corey Graham and returned to the L.A. 12. Two-plays later Smallwood was in the end zone for a four-yard touchdown to give Philadelphia a 30-13 lead with about a minute and a half left in the third quarter.

With another three-and-out in their own territory, McVay elected to go for a fake punt on 4th-and-5 from the L.A. 30. While punter Johnny Hekker’s pass to wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge was initially ruled complete on the right side, it was overturned after Eagles head coach Doug Pederson challenged the call.

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With the Rams in danger of falling behind by at least 33-13, cornerback Aqib Talib came up with a big interception — his first of the year — returning it to the L.A. 30-yard line. The Rams would end up in the red zone, but a holding call pushed them back to 1st-and-20. L.A. would not be able to get a touchdown, instead settling for a Zuerlein 37-yard field goal to make the score 30-16, Philadelphia.

Needing a defensive stop, the Rams got one to get the ball back at their own 16-yard line with 6:18 left in the fourth quarter.

Running a no-huddle offense, Los Angeles moved down the field efficiently to score a touchdown to cut into the lead. Key on the drive was Goff connecting with Reynolds for a 33-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 from the Philly 34. Though the play was initially ruled a touchdown, it was overturned on review. It was no matter, as Gurley ran it in from a yard out a play later to make the score 30-23.

Los Angeles’ defense was then able to force a punt, ostensibly getting the ball back to the offense with about three minutes left and a great chance to tie the game. But returner JoJo Natson fumbled the punt return and the Eagles recovered at the L.A. 37, putting the Rams in a deep hole.

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Elliott, however, missed a 53-yard field goal — giving the Rams the ball back at their own 43-yard line with 1:08 remaining.

Los Angeles had no timeouts, but quickly got across midfield with a pass to Reynolds and then a pair of passes to Everett got L.A. to the Philly 34 with 25 seconds left. Gurley then caught a pass but couldn’t get out of bounds, and he ended up having to run the ball to the official so Goff could spike it with four seconds left.

For the game’s last play, Goff attempted a pass to Reynolds at the front right corner of the end zone, but the ball was out of reach and fell incomplete.

With the loss, Los Angeles is now 11-3 on the season. The Rams will still have a chance to clinch a first-round bye with victories in their next two games.

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