As Todd Gurley left the game with a knee injury, the Rams did not show any uneasiness.
Rookie John Kelly jogged onto the field in his second game on the active roster, taking over the backup running back role because of Malcolm Brown’s season-ending clavicle injury.
Until then, he had participated in a few special teams plays but had never run the ball in the NFL regular season.
“It was no worries as far as anybody stepping up,” Kelly said. “They know we got some playmakers in our backfield.”
Athough his two carries for four yards were not monumental, they were a first step.
“They let me know I did a solid job while I was out there,” Kelly said. “I mean, I made a few mistakes that I know I’ll get corrected once we go over the film tomorrow. But all the guys, they pretty much wrapped their arms around me once I got out there.”
Gurley loosened his knee on the stationary bike, paced the sideline and returned to score his second touchdown of the night as the Rams rallied but fell short to the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, 30-23.
“He got banged up a little bit,” head coach Sean McVay said of Gurley, “but what a warrior he is … I love the way that he continued to fight through just the natural grinds of the game. His toughness was personified.”
The Rams turned to Gurley early as he ran 10 times in the first half for 49 yards. But in the second half, he ran just two more times and lost a yard. He stayed consistent with his pass catching, however, grabbing five passes for 38 yards in each half.
After the game, he showed no concern about his knee.
“I returned,” Gurley said, “so I was fine.”
In the fourth quarter, Nick Foles hurled the ball down field toward Zach Ertz, but Aqib Talib intercepted the throw on the Rams’ five-yard line and made a 30-yard return. It was his first interception in a Rams uniform.
Talib was acquired by the Rams in the offseason and missed eight games when he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Chargers on Sept. 23. Sunday marked Talib’s third game back since his injury.
Dante Fowler’s final game playing for the Jaguars was a loss against the Eagles on Oct. 28, where he notched two solo tackles.
On Sunday, Fowler made an assisted tackle in his second time facing the Eagles this season. He used his experience to give his teammates pointers as they reviewed film together.
“Pretty same, same thing,” Fowler said of facing the Eagles a second time.
Rams receiver Josh Reynolds can’t make the catch on the game’s final play.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff has the ball dislodged by Eagle linebacker Kamy Grugier-Hill, who got past running back Todd Gurley.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams safety John Johnson knocks the ball away from Eagles tight end Zach Ertz on a pass to the end zone.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams returner JoJo Natson (19) is consoled by teamates after fumbling the ball to the Eagles on a punt during the fourth quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams receiver KhaDarel Hodge can’t make the catch on a fake punt against the Eagles during the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox intercepts a pass intended for Rams receiver Josh Reynolds during the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff tries to recover a fumble during the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Todd Gurley can’t make the catch as Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill makes the hit during the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Todd Gurley hurdles Eagles safety Corey Graham to pick up big yards during the second quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery makes a catch in front of teammate Nelson Agholor (13) and Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner during the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Todd Gurley scores a touchdown against the Eagles defense during the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams receiver Josh Reynolds is tackled short of the goal line by Eagles defensive back Rasul Douglas during the fourth quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Quarterback Jared Goff watches as the Rams fail to convert on a fake punt against the Eagles.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams returner JoJo Natson fumbles a punt and the Eagles’ D.J. Alexander jumps on the ball late in the fourth quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks tackles Eagles running back Josh Adams during the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Foles starting at quarterback in place of Carson Wentz changed the Eagles’ offense somewhat, Fowler said, but the familiarity helped.
“Sucks that we didn’t get it done,” he said.
After spending his first eight seasons in the NFL playing for the Rams, Eagles defensive end Chris Long faced his former team for the third time in his career.
Long made one tackle and forced two quarterback hurries, and greeted Rams defensive end Michael Brockers before the game. The former teammates have stayed in touch through group chats and catch up whenever their teams face off.
“It’s always good to see him …” Brockers said. “At the same time, you know, you want him to go out there and ball with us as well.”
The Rams and Eagles weren’t the only athletes — past or present — to take to the field Sunday night. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge joined former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and former Angels manager Mike Scioscia on the sideline before the game.