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Game Recap: Cam Akers, defense power Rams to 24-3 win over Patriots on Thursday Night Football

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – A season-best performance by rookie running Cam Akers and a stout performance by the defense sparked the Rams (9-4) to a 24-3 win over the Patriots (6-7) Thursday night at SoFi Stadium.

Akers carried the ball 29 times for 171 yards, his total rushing yards most by a rookie running back in a single game this season. It also marked the sixth-most rushing yards by any NFL player in a single game this season and fourth-most by a Rams rookie in a single game in franchise history. He also added two receptions for 23 yards in the passing game, giving him 194 total yards from scrimmage.

Quarterback Jared Goff completed 16 of 25 pass attempts for 137 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception, also rushing for a touchdown. The touchdown toss went to wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who posted five receptions for 33 yards in addition to the score.

L.A.'s defense was led by linebacker Kenny Young, whose 79-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the second quarter gave the Rams their third straight game with a defensive score. Young also finished with a team-high eight total tackles, plus one sack, one QB hit and one pass breakup.

Defensive lineman Michael Brockers added a team-high two sacks for his third multi-sack performance of his career, while defensive lineman Aaron Donald posted 1.5 sacks to give him 12.5 on the season and move past Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (12) for the NFL lead in sacks this season.

The Rams got off to an explosive start. Helped by a 25-yard completion from Goff to tight end Tyler Higbee and 35-yard run by Akers, Los Angeles ended the first drive of the game with a 1-yard touchdown run on 4th and goal by Goff for an early 7-0 lead.

A 35-yard field goal by kicker Matt Gay at the end of their second offensive series extended the Rams lead to 10-0 with 5:16 left in the first quarter.

Looking to build further upon that lead after a second-straight 3-and-out by the Rams defense, their third offensive series ended with an interception after Patriots defensive back Myles Bryant ripped the ball out of Rams wide receiver Robert Woods' hands.

Initially, Bryant returned the interception 33 yards for a touchdown, but officials overturned the original call upon further review and ruled Bryant down by contact at the Rams 32-yard line. Young's pick-six three plays ensured they wouldn't capitalize on the takeaway and extended Los Angeles' lead to 17-0 early in the second quarter.

The Patriots threatened to put points on the board a little over eight minutes after Young's pick-six, but came up empty after Rams linebacker Justin Hollins stopped Newton for a 2-yard loss on 4th and goal from the Rams 2-yard line.

A 29-yard field goal by Patriots kicker Nick Folk gave New England their first points with 1:04 remaining in the first half.

The Rams extended their lead to 24-3 late in the third quarter on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Kupp. That scoring drive chewed nearly 10 minutes off the clock and was helped by a pair of 4th-down conversions, as well as a 25-yard run by Akers.

A 21-yard punt return by wide receiver Gunner Olszewski set up New England at the Los Angeles 34 with 10:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. While the Patriots reached the Rams 16, they were unable to come away with points, Rams cornerback Troy Hill ensured the drive would come up empty with a fourth-down pass breakup on a pass by backup quarterback Jared Stidham intended for tight end Devin Asiasi.

The Patriots never threatened the rest of the way.

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