Robert Woods shoulders burden in Rams’ passing game and then hurts shoulder in fourth quarter
Rams receiver Robert Woods left the locker room with a sling on his left arm after suffering a shoulder injury during the fourth quarter of a 24-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Rams coach Sean McVay said that he was uncertain about the severity of Woods’ injury.
“They’re getting it checked out right now,” McVay said. “It happened so late in the game, we’re not exactly sure.”
Woods caught eight passes for 81 yards. He has a team-best 47 catches for 703 yards and four touchdowns.
Receiver Sammy Watkins appeared unsettled as he watched trainers tend to Woods.
“That’s the hard part,” said Watkins, who caught three passes for 36 yards. “Just watching one of your guys go down. But Rob is a tough guy and our staff … do a great job.
“He’ll be all right.”
Veteran cornerbacks Kayvon Webster and Nickell Robey-Coleman suffered first-half injuries and did not return.
Webster was placed into concussion protocol. Robey-Coleman suffered a thigh injury.
Rookie Dominique Hatfield replaced Webster. Second-year pro Blake Countess took over for Robey-Coleman.
Losing veteran cornerbacks made for a difficult situation, McVay said, before adding that he had a “lot of confidence in some of those younger corners to step up and contribute and compete the right way.”
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum took advantage of Hatfield’s inexperience and continually tested his side of the field.
Keenum completed a 25-yard pass to Adam Thielen over Hatfield in the third quarter. In the fourth, Hatfield whiffed on a tackle after Keenum completed a midrange pass to Thielen, who spun, and sprinted 65 yards untouched to the end zone for a 21-7 lead.
“I just took a bad angle,” said Hatfield, an undrafted free agent from Utah. “That’s really about it.
“I guess I was just a little too anxious, really. Just a young guy in, just too anxious.”
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson said Hatfield was a good player, but that losing two starters hurt. Hatfield finished with two tackles, Countess three.
Robey-Coleman made a tackle for a seven-yard loss. Webster had four tackles.
The Vikings held Todd Gurley to a season-low 37 rushing yards.
Gurley rushed for 20 yards in four carries and scored on a six-yard run in the first series, but was held to 17 yards in 11 carries the rest of the game. He also caught three passes for 19 yards.
“It was a tough day,” Gurley said. “We didn’t get it done.”
Gurley has scored 11 touchdowns — eight rushing, three receiving — a personal best for the third-year pro.
Gurley said success in the opening drive can sometimes cause a false sense of security.
“It kind of messes with you because you think you are going to be good the rest of the game,” he said. “Obviously we didn’t and we weren’t able to execute like we wanted to.”
Quarterback Jared Goff had passed for seven touchdowns in the last two games, but he was shut out against the Vikings.
Goff did not throw a touchdown pass for the first time since a Week 5 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Goff avoided mistakes: He has not had a pass intercepted in the last three games.
“Given the circumstances and some of the spots I put him in, I thought he took what was there,” McVay said, adding, “Jared continues to take steps, and there will always be things we can look at and clean up, but I’ve got to do a better job for him and our offense.”
Goff has passed for 16 touchdowns, with four interceptions.
For the first time this season, kicker Greg Zuerlein did not attempt a field goal.
Zuerlein entered Sunday’s game leading the league in scoring with 114 points, and averaging 12.9 points per game. But the offense did not make it into field-goal range.
Instead, punter Johnny Hekker was called on six times. He averaged 42.3 yards per punt.
McVay turned the music volume up at practice throughout the week to prepare for the crowd noise in one of the NFL’s loudest stadiums.
But pumping up the bass, and placing speakers directly alongside the offense, couldn’t completely prepare the Rams for 66,809 screaming Vikings fans. Goff said there was no doubt the crowd played a role in Sunday’s game.
“There were issues at times, for sure,” he said.
McVay said there were issues during third-down situations, adding that the crowd was able to “definitely disrupt some things.”
The Rams took a delay-of-game penalty and had to use timeouts after a couple of communication breakdowns.
Vikings kicker Kai Forbath missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter and a 39-yard attempt in the third. ... Receiver Mike Thomas had his first catch of the season, a 12-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Thomas was suspended the first four games because of a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy.
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein
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