Rams’ Robert Woods has ‘outstanding’ playoff debut in loss to Falcons

Robert Woods hauls in a long pass over Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant for a 38-yard gain during the Rams’ 26-13 loss to the Falcons in a wild-card playoff game Saturday at the Coliseum.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Robert Woods had a big game in his playoff debut, catching nine passes for 142 yards in the Rams’ 26-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday at the Coliseum.

“Robert Woods was outstanding tonight, being able to come through time and time again with some third downs, some crucial catches,” Coach Sean McVay said.

Woods, who signed as a free agent after four seasons with Buffalo, finished the regular season with 56 catches for 781 yards and five touchdowns.

“We’re a young team, a very young team,” Woods said. “A young quarterback, young receivers. … Hopefully, a lot of these guys put in the work and come back next year.”


Brockers injured

Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers was sidelined by a knee injury in the second half.

Brockers twisted his right leg as he helped sack Matt Ryan on a third-down play in the second quarter. As teammates celebrated, Brockers started to walk off the field, then took a knee. The training staff assisted him to the sideline.

Morgan Fox, a second-year pro, was inserted at end. In his first series, Fox helped sack Ryan on third down. Fox finished with five tackles, half a sack and two quarterback hits.


Brockers, a cornerstone of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme with 4.5 sacks this season and four deflected passes, finished with half a sack and a quarterback hit. The Rams sacked Ryan three times in the first half but failed to bring him down in the second.

McVay said Brockers was “certainly missed,” especially in the run defense.

Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown in 18 carries. Tevin Coleman rushed for 40 yards in 14 carries.

“They did a good job of being able to consistently get some runs off,” McVay said. “You see Freeman was able to make some hard-earned runs where he’s breaking some tackles.”

Field issues

Players for both teams said they had problems with the slick playing field.

Ryan and Rams quarterback Jared Goff slipped several times and other players did as well.


“That field is bad,” said Falcons defensive lineman Takkarist McKinley, the former Bruin who had three tackles and a sack in his first game at the Coliseum since playing USC in 2015.

McKinley sacked Goff on third down in the first quarter to force the Rams to punt for a second straight series.

Ficken converts

Sam Ficken, signed before Week 15 after Greg Zuerlein suffered a season-ending back injury, made field-goal attempts from 35 and 32 yards.

The rookie from Penn State followed up on last week’s performance, when he made both of his field-goal attempts against the San Francisco 49ers.

He bounced back after missing a field goal and an extra point in his debut at Tennessee.

Barron returns

Linebacker Mark Barron, who sat out most of the previous three games because of injuries, returned to the lineup against the Falcons and had 10 tackles.


Barron, a mainstay of a defense that caused eight turnovers on opponents’ first possessions, was held out of the season finale so he’d be ready for the playoffs. But even with Barron back, the Rams failed to force a turnover for the first time in six games, and just the fourth time this season.


Commissioner Roger Goodell, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, actresses Rebel Wilson and Lea Thompson and actor Larry David were in attendance. ... Rapper Snoop Dogg performed at halftime. ... Before kickoff, two planes pulling banners with Chargers messages flew over the Coliseum. The banners read: “NFL. LA is home of the Rams and Raiders. No one else!” And “Worst owner in sports? Dean Spanos sell the team!”

Follow Lindsey Thiry on Facebook and Twitter @LindseyThiry

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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