Rams Run Defense Comes Up Short Against Redskins

Check in-game photos of the Rams' matchup with the Washington Redskins at the Coliseum.

After a strong defensive showing in Week 1, the Rams' inability to stop the run against Washington on Sunday sealed their fate, falling 27-20. Although the visitors brought a reputation as a pass-first offense to L.A., Washington head coach Jay Gruden called a heavy dose of carries, as his club recorded 229 yards on the ground.

"We didn't stop the run [and] we didn't do what we needed to do to stop the run," linebacker Alec Ogletree said. "We didn't do our job today and we have to give them credit on what they did, but also look at ourselves and fix our mistakes."

Three Washington running backs finished with at least 67 yards rushing: Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, and Samaje Perine. Kelley had 78 yards on 12 carries, Thompson 77 yards on three carries — with two touchdowns — and Perine recorded 67 yards on 21 carries. Kelley left the game with an injury to his ribs and did not return, but Thompson and Perine picked up where he left off.

"Coach Gruden was letting us know, 'I'm going to run the ball. I'm going to give you guys the ball.' His plan was to keep running it until we got it right," Thompson said postgame. "We did enough to win."

"It was definitely frustrating giving up that amount of yards in the run game, and when you don't stop the run you leave yourself open for a lot of stuff," Ogletree said. "They executed really well, and credit to them for coming in with a good game plan and doing the right things."

On Washington's second possession, Kelley rushed for 19 and 21 yards on back-to-back plays, before Thompson scored on a seven-yard run to the left side. That momentum would continue on throughout the contest, including a standout play by Thompson heading into halftime.

On 2nd-and-6 from the Washington 39, quarterback Kirk Cousins handed the ball off to Thompson on a draw, who took it straight up the middle for a 61-yard touchdown run.

"On that draw play, it was a look that we never really went over and they just got the job done [up front] and I was able to just do my thing and run," Thompson said. "So, let's all give credit to the O-line and guys that were blocking for me."

"I thought they had a couple of explosive runs, they made their plays when they had to," outside linebacker Robert Quinn said. "They just had a good game plan against us."

Coming into the second half, the defense appeared to have made a variety of halftime adjustments, holding the Redskins scoreless in the third quarter. And as Washington's offense ground to a halt, the momentum shifted towards Los Angeles when running back Todd Gurley hurdled over cornerback Bashaud Breeland on a touchdown reception to pull the Rams within three.

However, after kicker Greg Zuerlein tied the score at 20 with 7:16 left in the game, Washington got one final chance to score. Perine took seven carries on the fourth-quarter drive, allowing the visitors to drain much of the clock. Then on 3rd-and-4 from the Los Angeles 11, Cousins hit wide receiver Ryan Grant in the corner of the end zone for what would become the game-winning touchdown.

"The big runs kept the momentum on their side and the touchdown pass at the end was basically like a dagger that stung a bit," Quinn said of the play. "[But] that's football, you win some you lose some. As our standards here, we expect to win them all and we didn't play up to our standards today, especially as a defense."

The Rams will have a quick turnaround for Week 3, travelling to face the 49ers on the road on Thursday. As a unit, Los Angeles' defense will need to brush off this loss and be ready for both the running and passing attack in San Francisco.

"At the end of the day we as a team, didn't do what we needed to do and that's win a football game," Quinn said. "We've got some work to do, but it's Week 2 and we've got to keep moving."

"When you play at home that's your home field, you definitely want to protect your house and we didn't do that today," Ogletree said, "but we have a short week and we'll be ready for the next one."

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