The Rams received the opening kickoff and Pharoh Cooper returned it for 103 yards and the touchdown, an amazing start for the Rams. After a week of offensive struggles this was a great start for the Rams.
Greg Zuerlein followed that up with a deep kick, forcing the touchback. Leonard Fournette took the Jaguars first play 75 yards for a Jaguars touchdown.
The Rams got another new drive going, opened up by three carries for Gurley for just nine yards. Johnny Hekker banged a 67 yard punt all the way to the opposite end zone for a touchback.
The Jaguars went to the air to open up the next drive with an 11 yard completion by Bortles. The Rams defense bottled up Fournette on his second carry, going for just four yards. His next carry had an even worse result, going for just one yard. Connor Barwin came up with a sack on third down (happy birthday) and forced the punt. The punt was shanked, going for just 16 yards and giving the Rams great field position.
The Rams went to the air to open the next drive, a completion from Jared Goff to Robert Woods for a short gain. Gurley got the ball yet again on the second down, going for five yards. Goff targeted Sammy Watkins on the next play but the pass fell incomplete due to a drop. Zuerlein banged home a 56 yard field goal on fourth down, an excellent kick.
The following kickoff went for yet another touchback, opening the Jags drive at the 25. Bortles found Allen Hurns for 18 yards on the first play of the drive, nearing midfield. Marqise Lee took a handoff on the next play for 17 yards all the way to the Rams 40. Poor tackling on that play by Trumaine Johnson in open space. Fournette took the next carry for 18 yards, putting a nasty spin move on Barwin. Bortles found Chris Ivory on the next play on a screen pass, terrible tackling by Mark Barron led to another Jacksonville touchdown.
The next kickoff went for a touchback, giving the Rams the ball at the 25. Goff found Tyler Higbee on the first play for no gain. He went to Higbee again on second down, but the pass fell incomplete. Goff took a sack on third down, failing to get the ball out. Another strong punt from Hekker set the Jaguars up just outside their own 31.
Fournette was brought down for a loss of two on first down, a good defensive start to this drive. Thanks to a slightly overthrown ball on second down, the Jaguars faced third and long. The Jaguars went back to the screen on third and long but Ivory was only able to pick up three yards. The Rams forced their second punt of the day. Cooper bobbled the punt but still picked up about ten yards, setting the Rams up a their own 34.
The Jags kicked off the drive with a defensive penalty, giving the Rams first and five. The next play he hit Woods, getting into Jags territory. Goff found Watkins on the next play for another first down. Goff was elusive on the next play, rushing for five yards. He threw incomplete on the next play bringing up third and five. Goff was struggling to hear the play in his helmet, forcing the Rams to call a timeout. Under heavy pressure Goff hung in and made a good throw to Cooper Kupp for the first down and a nice gain. On first and goal Gurley bowled ahead for six yards. A creative play call by McVay on second and goal lead to a shovel pass to Gerald Everett for the four yard touchdown.
After another touchback the Rams defense took the field. A great tackle by Kayvon Webster on the first play saved a potentially big gain.
Lee made a catch in space and poor tackling by the Rams let him out to midfield for a first down. Fournette was brought down for a loss on first down, putting the Rams in good position. A screen to Fournette on second down went for just two yards. Great pressure on third and long forced an incompletion on a near interception by the Rams secondary. The punt was short the Rams took over at their own 23.
A jet sweep for Tavon Austin gave him six yards on his first touch of the day. Gurley lost two on second down, absolutely nowhere to go. On third and six Goff’s pass was batted down, facing heavy pressure and a collapsed pocket. Hekker nailed another punt, sending the ball 57 yards.
A pass to Leonard Fournette gave the Jaguars a few yards and then 15 more yards with a facemask penalty. Fournette went nowhere on first down, great defense by the Rams. He was bottled up yet again on second down, forcing another third and long. An incompletion on third down forced another punt, the Rams defense picking up momentum. A solid punt put the Rams at their own 12.
A screen pass completed to Gurley gave the Rams four yards and some breathing room. The offensive line opened up a big hole for Gurley on second down, making a good cutback for ten yards. Goff just overthrew Tyler Higbee on first down, Higbee beat his man on a wheel route. Gurley went for eight yards up the middle on second down. However, Gurley was stuffed on third and short forcing the punt. Another great punt by Hekker put the Jaguars around their own 20.
An awesome hit by John Johnson III on first down forced an incompletion. Bortles hit Hurns on second down, bringing up third and short. The Rams forced another punt on third down after an incompletion. Cooper caught the punt at the 20 and picked up a few in traffic.
Gurley went for eight yards on first down, a good hole opened up by the offensive line. Gurley went for a big gain on second and short, picking up 14 and approaching midfield. Goff had a big opening up the middle on first down and scrambled for about seven yards. Goff was forced to throw the ball away on second down thanks to heavy pressure. A surprising no call on third and short forced the Rams to punt. The Rams shifted into a fake punt formation on fourth down but took a delay of game. Good hang time on the Hekker punt gave the Jaguars possession at their own 18.
The Rams defense sacked Bortles on first down, great work by the entire defensive front. Fournette picked up a few on second down but the Rams still forced a third and long. An incompletion on third down forced another Jacksonville punt. The Rams blocked the punt and forced their way into the end zone, Malcolm Brown making the play after the Corey Littleton block.
Another deep Zuerlein kickoff forced a touchback. A penalty was called on the Rams, a 15 yard penalty. Bortles threw to Ivory behind the line of scrimmage but the running back worked his way up for a gain of three. Bortles was under pressure once again but found Ivory, another great tackle by Webster. Bortles found another receiver near the sideline but Kayvon Webster brought him down in bounds again. A 15 yard penalty backed the Jaguars up into their own territory. Bortles then found Ivory again for a few yards, bringing up third and long. He threw short to Ivory once again, tackled short of the first down marker. A fourth down pass was completed for a first down, putting the Jags into field goal range. The 54 yard attempt was no good, giving the Rams a 10 point lead at the half.
Zuerlein got the second half going with another touchback. Fournette gained four on the first play of the half. He went for four again on second down and then Bortles scrambled out to midfield for a first down. Fournette was stuffed for a gain of one or two, great tackle by Aaron Donald. Fournette took a carry on the next play as well, stuffed for a gain of two. Bortles threw incomplete on third down thanks to great defense by the Rams secondary. A nice punt by the Jaguars led to a Cooper fair catch at the Rams 11.
Gurley was stopped for no gain on third down, but a penalty on Woods forced first and 15 from the Rams five. Malcolm Brown did a good job on his first carry of the day, picking up nine and butting the Rams in good shape. Goff put nice touch down the sideline on second down, finding Woods for a 15 yard game. Goff threw another strike to Woods on first down, Woods got out to midfield and fumbled after going down. The play was then challenged by the Jaguars and reversed, giving the ball to the Jaguars at the 49 yard line.
Fournette bounced around for five yards on first down. The young running back rolled around for a first down on the following play. Fournette bowled his way forward for four yards on first down, setting up second and six. The Jaguars back avoided going down on second down in the backfield, but was stopped for no gain. Lee caught the ball wide on third and six, finding his way to the Rams 23 yard line. Ivory ran for just a gain of one on first down. Bortles scrambled on a boot leg on second down, setting up third and six. Bortles was sacked by Donald on third down who also knocked the ball loose. The fumbled was recovered by Jacksonville but the Rams still forced the field goal attempt. The Jaguars missed the field goal again but a penalty was called on the Rams giving them another attempt. The Jaguars made the next attempt but were forced to kick again after a false start penalty. On his third attempt Myers converted the kick.
Cooper took the touchback on the ensuing kickoff, setting the Rams up at the 25. Gurley hit the hole hard on first down, picking up six. Another strong run by Gurley on second down picked up 11 yards. Goff overthrew Watkins on first down, the Rams first significant deep ball of the day. Brown got the carry on second down, going for just two. On third down Goff found Woods on an out route to pick up the first down. Gurley picked up six on his next carry, setting up a short second down. Goff took a sack on second down, setting up third and long. Goff let another one go for Watkins, the Jaguars defense outcompeting the Rams wideout. Hekker put another nice punt up in the air, pinning the Jags inside their own 20.
Fournette kept his legs moving and picked up about seven yards on first down. The Jaguars fullback couldn’t make the catch in the flat on second down, setting up third and short. Jacksonville got Hurns open on third down, picking up the first. Trumaine Johnson went down with leg injury on this play.
Bortles threw incomplete on first down thanks to great pressure from Donald. Robert Quinn brought Fournette down for a loss of a couple on second down. However, the Rams were given a 15 yard penalty. Ivory was stuffed on the ensuing first down. Bortles found Lee into field goal range on the next play. Webster went down injured on this play. Fournette was stopped for no gain on first down. Morgan Fox recorded a strip sack on second down but the Jags recovered. Nickell Robey-Coleman came up with a huge interception on third and long on a deflected pass, returning the ball across midfield.
Gurley ran hard to the edge for an 11 yard gain on first down. However, a holding call brought the Rams back to first and 20. Gurley trucked ahead for six yards, getting back across midfield. Austin went for a loss of six on an end around. Goff threw a great ball to Woods on third and long, but Woods slipped and was unable to make the catch. Hekker forced another fair catch at the Jaguars 19.
Johnson made an excellent tackle in space on Fournette for no gain. A holding penalty on Jacksonville forced another first down and long. Michael Brockers sacked Bortles on first down, forcing second and 23. Bortles completed a pass for 19 yards on second and long, setting up third and short. Ivory caught the ball in the flat but was brought down short by Webster, great tackling. The Jacksonville punt was bobbled by Cooper but recovered at the Rams 32.
Gurley took the first down carry for a few yards up the gut. Gurley trucked ahead for five yards on second down, giving the Rams a first down. Goff scrambled out of bounds for a one yard loss on first down. Gurley took the second down carry for five yards, setting up third and six. Goff stood patient in the pocket on third down and found Kupp over the middle for a big gain and a first down. Brown went for seven yards on the ensuing play, setting up second and short. Gurley went down for a loss on second down, setting up third and four. Gurley took a pitch on third down for a gain of about ten, getting into the red zone. Gurley went for four yards on first down, continuing to run hard. Gurley trucked ahead for a few more yards on second down, setting up a manageable third down. Gurley made a cutback on third down but had nowhere to go, stopped short of the sticks. Zuerlein came on to attempt a 29 yard field goal and knocked it through.
Another touchback started the Jaguars drive at their own 25. Bortles threw underneath to Ivory for a gain of 14 yards. A penalty was called on Jacksonville, forcing first and 15. Bortles threw incomplete just before the two-minute warning. Bortles threw incomplete again on second down, setting up third and long. Jacksonville picked up 16 yards down the middle of the field on third down but the clock kept running. Bortles found Ivory again on first down, picking up a first down. The Jaguars completed another pass on first down, getting out of bounds. The Jaguars lined up for a field goal on second down and eight, Myers missed the 53 yard attempt.
The Rams took over and got into victory formation, clinching the win.
The Rams fought hard on Sunday, clinching a win behind great defense, special teams, and running by Gurley. Donald was dominant inside for the Rams defense, playing a big role in bottling up Fournette after his big first carry. Robey-Coleman came up with a big interception to keep the Rams lead sizable. Cooper got the Rams going to open the game and Malcolm Brown bowled his way to the end zone after a punt block. Goff was not amazing, but made few mistakes. Gurley was dominant, averaging around five yards per carry. The Rams didn’t win pretty, but they won nonetheless.
– Andrew Kelly is the Managing Editor for cover32.com/Rams and covers the Los Angeles Rams. He also writes national and fantasy content for cover32. Like and follow on Follow @Andrew_K47 Follow @cover32_LAR