Rams fall short on big stage against NFC-leading Eagles
The Rams occupied the biggest NFL stage on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
It was a game between two division leaders, the league’s highest-scoring offenses, and featured the matchup between Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, the first and second picks in the 2016 NFL draft.
It was a chance for the Rams to show they do indeed belong in the NFC elite.
Eagles 43, Rams 35: Brandon Graham returns a fumble 25 yards for a touchdown
With one second left on the clock the Rams attempted the downright improbable. Quarterback Jared Goff completed a short pass to receiver Pharoh Cooper, who lateraled the ball to Tavon Austin. The receiver never really had a handle on the ball, which came loose and ended up in the hands of Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham.
Graham returned the gift 25-yards for a touchdown to end the game.
The Eagles beat the Rams 43-35.
Eagles 37, Rams 35: Philadelphia converts Goff fumble into a late field goal
Chargers defense is stellar once more in 30-13 win over Redskins
There were too many Chargers on the field, but there wasn’t a flag thrown.
More than a dozen defenders sprinted towards the end zone after Kyle Emmanuel’s interception Sunday, and even though the whistle had been blown, the defense still had a play to make.
The group huddled together and posed for a picture – a showy gesture for sure. But when you’ve been as good as they’ve been lately, you get a little slack.
Rams 35, Eagles 34: Nick Foles leads a field-goal drive for Philadelphia
Rams 35, Eagles 31: Gurley scores his second touchdown against Eagles
Todd Gurley picked up 35 yards, including a five-yard illegal use of hands, on the Rams’ 75-yard touchdown drive.
Gurley is up to 100 yards rushing in 11 carries with two scores. He also has two catches for 30 yards.
Chargers 30, Redskins 13: Washington’s Bashaud Breeland scores on a 96-yard pick-six
Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland picked off a goal-line throw by Kellen Clemens, who came in to relieve Philip Rivers early in the fourth quarter, and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown.
The Chargers lead the Redskins 30-13.
Eagles 31, Rams 28: Penalties give Philadelphia extra chances for a touchdown
Rams 28, Eagles 24: Rams score on blocked punt
Eagles 24, Rams 21: Sammy Watkins scores on a 1-yard reception
Chargers 30, Redskins 6: Melvin Ingram scores on a 1-yard carry
The Chargers used a little razzle-dazzle to extend their lead to 30-6.
One play prior to Melvin Gordon’s 1-yard scoring run, Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen connected on a 59-yard pass that came after a flea flicker.
There’s 6:17 left in the third quarter here in Carson.
Eagles 24, Rams 14: Philadelphia settles for a field goal before halftime
Eagles 21, Rams 14: Kupp gains 70 yards on 75-yard touchdown drive
Rookie receiver Cooper Kupp kept the Rams’ drive alive with a 64-yard catch and run on third down which ultimately set up his six-yard score.
Kupp now has four touchdowns on the season.
Eagles 21, Rams 7: Burton collects his second touchdown catch of the day
Tight end Trey Burton had three career touchdown catches in two-plus NFL seasons for the Eagles. Today he’s already got two on three catches.
Burton slipped into a gap in the Rams defense on the right side of the field for an 11-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the first half.
Chargers 23, Redskins 6: Coons makes a 36-yard field goal to extend the lead
After stopping Washington on fourth down, the Chargers added to their lead with Travis Coons’ 36-yard field goal.
With 2:23 left in the half at StubHub Center, the Chargers lead Washington 23-6.
Eagles 14, Rams 7: Carson Wentz throws 20-yard touchdown pass to Trey Burton
Chargers 20, Redskins 6: Tyrell Williams scores on a 75-yard catch and run
The Chargers’ offense served an immediate response, with Philip Rivers hitting a wide open Tyrell Williams for a 75-yard touchdown pass.
The Chargers lead 20-6 after Rivers’ second touchdown pass of the day with 10 minutes still to play in the first half.
Chargers 13, Redskins 6: Vernon Davis catches 23-yard touchdown pass
Washington responded to the turnover with its first scoring drive of the game. Kirk Cousins’ ability to get out of the pocket and throw on the run helped Washington survive a fourth down and a third-and-long, with Cousins hitting tight end Vernon Davis for a 23-yard touchdown.
After a missed extra point, the Chargers still lead 13-6.
Chargers 13, Redskins 0: Coons converts the field goal attempt after an interception
Chargers linebacker Kyle Emanuel intercepted Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins on the first play of Washington’s next drive and turned the good field position into a 21-yard Travis Coons field goal and a 13-0 lead with seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Rams 7, Eagles 7: Philadelphia respond with a quick touchdown
Chargers 10, Redskins 0: Henry comes up with an eight-yard touchdown catch
The Chargers’ second drive was even better than the first, taking advantage of a couple of big Washington penalties while using tight end Hunter Henry to get down the field.
Henry’s third catch on the drive was an eight-yard touchdown, putting his team up 10-0 with 2:34 left in the first quarter.
Rams 7, Eagles 0: Webster interception sets up a Gurley touchdown
Todd Gurley then broke off a 30-yard run up the left sideline before being pushed out of bounds on the 2-yard line.
Chargers 3, Redskins 0: Coons makes 33-yard field goal on opening possession
Travis Coons capped a 10-play opening drive with a 33-yard field goal to put the Chargers up 3-0 on Washington. It’s the first time this season the Chargers managed to score points on their opening drive of the game.
Rams-Philadelphia Eagles inactives
Chargers-Washington Redskins inactives
Video shows Texans’ Tom Savage shaking on the ground after a big hit; he later returned to the game
Texans quarterback Tom Savage’s return to the field after taking a big hit from 49ers linebacker Elvis Dumervil should be a major topic of discussion this week.
Savage was brought to the ground by Dumervil and hit his head on a routine play during the second quarter.
However, what happened next was anything but routine.
Fox’s camera’s showed Savage laying prone on his back attempting to roll over with his arms locked at 90 degree angles with his hands shaking in a manner similar to that of a person suffering a seizure.
Savage was taken out of the game, but returned on the next drive and was allowed to attempt two more passes before he was ultimately taken out of the game and evaluated for a concussion.
Savage missed the Texans’ wildcard game against the Oakland Raiders last season because of a concussion.
Meanwhile in Buffalo, the snow continues to be an issue for the Bills and Colts
As is almost tradition, the Buffalo Bills were forced to send a call out for fan labor Saturday to help clear the field before the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium of snow so that the home team could take on the Indianapolis Colts.
At halftime, the Bills lead the Colts 7-0 as both teams have combined for 11 passing attempts.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy’s 25-yard carry before the end of the second quarter is the longest play of the game while running back Marlon Mack’s 20-yard run is the longest for the Colts.
The longest reception of the game so far is an 11-yard reception by Mack, but the Bills’ best is an eight-yard touchdown catch by Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
This might be a “best-case scenario” for the Bills, who were forced to give rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman his second career start. Peterman infamously threw five interceptions on 14 attempts earlier this season against the Chargers.
So far, Peterman is three-of-eight passing for 38 yards. Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett is one-of-two passing for 11 yards.
This is survival of the fittest.
Consider yourself lucky, Los Angeles.
Rams mailbag: Crowd noise, Super Bowl projections, Aaron Donald contract talks, uniforms and more
It’s the showdown NFL fans have been waiting for since the 2016 NFL draft.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick, and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, the No. 2 pick, play against each other for the first time Sunday at the Coliseum.
The NFC West-leading Rams are 9-3. The NFC East-leading Eagles are 10-2.
Five teams can secure playoff berths this week
As many as five playoff berths can be locked up Sunday, and New England can clinch before taking the field Monday night.
A Buffalo loss or tie against the Colts on Sunday clinches the AFC East for the Patriots, while New England can clinch Monday night by beating Miami if the Bills win.
Pittsburgh clinches a berth with a Buffalo loss or tie, though the Steelers need to tie or beat Baltimore to win the AFC North.
Philadelphia could clinch the NFC East if Dallas ties or loses to the Giants before the Eagles take the field in Los Angeles.
Minnesota can win the NFC North by beating Carolina or if Detroit and Green Bay both tie.
Even the Jaguars could clinch a berth with a win and other help.
NFL Week 14 scores and schedule
Washington Redskins at CHARGERS, 1:05 p.m.
Philadelphia Eagles at RAMS, 1:25 p.m.
at Buffalo Bills 13,Indianapolis Colts 7, OT
Chicago Bears 33, at Cincinnati Bengals 7
Green Bay Packers 27, at Cleveland Browns 21, OT
at Kansas City Chiefs 26, Oakland Raiders 15
Dallas Cowboys 30, at New York Giants 10
Detroit Lions 24, at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
at Carolina Panthers 31, Minnesota Vikings 24
San Francisco 49ers 26, at Houston Texans 16
New York Jets at Denver Broncos, 1:05 p.m.
Tennessee Titans at Arizona Cardinals, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle Seahawks at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:25 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers, 5:30 p.m.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, 5:30 p.m.
at Atlanta Falcons 20, New Orleans Saints 17
Chargers vs. Redskins: How they match up
CHARGERS (6-6) VS. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (5-7)
When Chargers have the ball
Like someone at a wedding after a third drink, the Chargers offense feels as if it has some rhythm. And unlike that someone, the Chargers actually might be right. Receiver Keenan Allen has been good enough over the last three weeks that his jersey was sent to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He has caught at least 10 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in each of those last three games. It’s something no one has been able to do before, and the Redskins will make it a priority to stop Allen’s streak. Trouble is, they’ve shown almost no positive consistency. In its losses, Washington has given up at least 29 points. In its victories, Washington has been much better, giving up more than 20 points once. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is a sack master, and there’s some talent in the secondary, but signs point to quarterback Philip Rivers, running back Melvin Gordon, tight end Hunter Henry and Allen to keep the Chargers offensive rhythm going.
When Redskins have the ball
Kirk Cousins has been effective while the walls around him have crumbled. He’s without the team’s top two running backs, top receiver and the player signed to be the top receiver. He still has managed to throw for nearly 3,300 yards thanks to emerging young talent on the outside. Josh Doctson, a first-round pick in 2016, and third-year receiver Jamison Crowder should test the cornerbacks on the outside. Rookie Samaje Perine is a physical running back, but he probably won’t run away from anyone. The Redskins could be without their top offensive lineman, Trent Williams, which is good news for a Chargers pass rush that already was going to be a big challenge for Washington. If the Chargers can get into the Washington backfield, they’ll put cornerback Casey Hayward and the rest of the secondary in prime position to continue grabbing turnovers.
When they kick
The Chargers trotted out a new kicker, Travis Coons, last week and he promptly clanked his first try off the upright. From there, he rebounded to make his next four tries. They’ll need him to be accurate Sunday, as the team tries to be confident in a kicker — something that hasn’t been the case all season. In fact, that remains the biggest question mark for the Chargers, and it’s a place to assign blame when trying to figure why the Chargers lost a couple of early games. Washington is on its second kicker, but Dustin Hopkins’ replacement, Nick Rose, has been a deadeye. The Chargers coverage teams have improved and Desmond King showed some promise as a returner, but if the team doesn’t make kicks more consistently, this phase of the game will continue to be a problem.
Dan Woike’s prediction
Looking at the Chargers’ remaining games, it’s difficult to argue that they won’t be the better all-around team in all four games. Washington is a decent team — a good one maybe under different circumstances — but they’re beaten up. A win Sunday would keep the Chargers at the top of the AFC West, tied with the winner of the Kansas City-Oakland game. It would also put the team over .500 for the first time this season. All signs point to a Chargers victory, putting them in great positon during the final month of the season. If the Redskins were healthier, an upset could be a possibility, but they’re not.
CHARGERS 31, WASHINGTON 21
Browns’ Josh Gordon gets his first touchdown reception since 2014
Josh Gordon is officially back.
The receiver’s comeback story finally landed in the end zone Sunday when Gordon caught an 18-yard pass from rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer for his first touchdown since 2014.
Gordon also had a 38-yard reception on the Browns’ first offensive play of the game.
He had four catches for 85 yards against the Chargers last week in his first NFL action since his return from an indefinite suspension for repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy.
Before his career was derailed by drug and alcohol abuse issues, Gordon was named a First-Team All-Pro receiver in 2013 after he caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns over 14 games.
Now that he’s got that score under his belt, any questions about whether or not he can still play at an elite level should be put to rest.
Rams vs. Eagles: How they match up
RAMS (9-3) VS. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-2)
When Rams have the ball
The Rams are averaging 30.1 points game, tying them with the Eagles for the league lead. The Eagles defense is ranked third overall and first against the run, so this will be the toughest test of the season for coach and play-caller Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff. Last week, Goff passed for two touchdowns (with an interception) in a 32-16 victory at Arizona. Now the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft is on stage with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, the No. 2 pick. Goff has passed for 3,184 yards and 20 touchdowns, with six interceptions. Goff is probably still without his favorite target, receiver Robert Woods, who is questionable because of a shoulder injury and is not expected to return until next week at Seattle. Rookie Cooper Kupp has a team-best 51 receptions, three for touchdowns. Running back Todd Gurley has rushed for 939 yards and eight touchdowns, and has 48 catches for 563 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles defense includes tackle Fletcher Cox and end Brandon Graham, who has 8½ sacks. Safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Jalen Mills are the leading tacklers, and Mills, safety Rodney McLeod and cornerback Patrick Robinson each have three interceptions for a unit that has caused 22 turnovers, third most in the NFL.
When Eagles have the ball
Wentz enjoyed an impressive rookie season and has built on that experience to lead the NFL’s third-ranked offense. Wentz has passed for 3,005 yards and 29 touchdowns, with six interceptions. He also has rushed for 283 yards, including 26 first downs. Running backs LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi are a potent combination for a unit that ranks second in rushing, averaging 143.3 yards per game. Blount has run for 684 yards and two touchdowns. Ajayi, acquired from the Miami Dolphins at the trade deadline in October, has rushed for 229 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Zach Ertz, who has a team-best 57 catches and seven touchdowns, is questionable because of a concussion. Receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor both have seven touchdown catches. The Rams are giving up 18.5 points per game, which ranks seventh in the NFL. Linebacker Connor Barwin, who played four seasons with the Eagles before signing with the Rams, is questionable because of a broken forearm. Linebacker Alec Ogletree also is questionable after suffering an elbow injury last week. If Ogletree cannot play or is ineffective, Bryce Hager will play in his place. Lineman Aaron Donald has a team-best eight sacks for a defense that has forced 21 turnovers, fourth most in the league.
When they kick
Greg Zuerlein provides the Rams with a nearly predictable three to four field goals each game. He kicked four last week at Arizona, the seventh time this season he has converted three or more. The Rams blocked two kicks against the Cardinals, and punter Johnny Hekker helped seal the win with a 70-yard kick that eventually led to a Rams touchdown. Jake Elliott has made 19 of 23 field-goal attempts for the Eagles. Donnie Jones is averaging 46 yards per punt. Kenjon Barner returns kickoffs (20 yards per return) and punts (11.1).
Gary Klein’s prediction
The Rams did not practice Wednesday because of poor air quality caused by wildfires. The Eagles spent the week in Orange County after last week’s loss in Seattle. If Ogletree plays, he probably will not be at full strength. That gives the Eagles an edge.
EAGLES 27, RAMS 23
Ask Farmer: Why do some players mention their high school during player introductions?
Have a question about the NFL? Ask Times NFL writer Sam Farmer, and he will answer as many as he can online and in the Sunday editions of the newspaper throughout the season. Email questions to:
On TV, we hear players’ introductions in their own voice, telling us their name and college. However, a lot of them mention a high school instead. Why? For example, Fletcher Cox of the Eagles announced a high school, when he attended Mississippi State.
Chargers have made their run in AFC West with the pass, and Redskins are next on flight plan
The question to running back Melvin Gordon seemed straightforward. Did the Chargers under first-year coach Anthony Lynn, try to force the run a little too much earlier this season?
The answer zigzagged like a meandering mountain stream.
“Uh, probably … um … not really,” Gordon said. “Actually, I don’t know, maybe.”