A familiar sound rose up through the murky November air, rattling seats, raising hair, realizing a new hope.
Turns out the roar didn’t disappear with the baseball season. The roar just moved down the street. The roar is now with the Rams.
The distinctive Los Angeles sound that rocked Chavez Ravine during the recent month of Dodgers playoffs showed up at the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon to a greet a group that has earned it.
Nine games into what was supposed to be a reshaping season, the Rams are stunningly good. Midway through a season that began with yawns and shrugs, the 60,000-or-so fans are seriously into them.
Nearly two weeks after the painful separation of a Game 7 loss in the World Series, sports brought a town and team back together again in a 33-7 victory over the Houston Texans.
“Shout out to the fans, keep coming to the Coliseum, we’ll keep winning for y’all!” shouted receiver Robert Woods into an on-field microphone afterward.
He was greeted by one final huge swell of sweeping cheers in a day full of them. The giant place still feels half empty but, for long stretches here, it sounded completely full. The Rams are still struggling to create buzz but, for once, they are worthy of it with a 7-2 record and a 117-24 point differential in their last three games.
It was their first game at the Coliseum in a month. It was their best of the season. With the combination of performance and atmosphere, it was arguably the best game in L.A. since their return.
It all started about an hour earlier with three steps he took into the Texans end zone early in the third quarter. The Rams were only leading 9-7. They needed something big and, if there’s one thing you should know about coach Sean McVay’s new Rams, they are always capable of something big.
Woods broke free around midfield. Goff heaved the ball more than 50 yards. Woods caught it in his palms and raced into the end zone for a 94-yard touchdown pass accompanied by a roar that shook the old building such that you thought USC was playing here.
Wait. Didn’t Woods eventually become a forgotten man while playing for Lane Kiffin at USC? But we digress.
“That was probably my longest play in NFL, college, high school and Madden,” said Woods, who has four touchdown receptions in two weeks, or as many as he had in his previous two seasons in Buffalo.
The place was so loud after that long score that the excited Woods was inspired to jump into the east end-zone seats.
But his “Lambeau Leap” was not exactly a “Coliseum Climb.” Those east end zone seats are actually field suites, and it appeared that Woods landed in the middle of somebody’s cocktail party, and he quickly returned to the field.
Rams receiver Robert Woods celebrates with teammate Cooper Kupp after scoring a third quarter touchdown.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald knocks the ball from Texans quarterback Tom Savage for a fumble early in the first quarter.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams receiver Robert Woods dives into the end zone for a third quarter touchdown against the Texans at the Coliseum.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams coach Sean McVay and receiver Pharoah Cooper celebrate with receiver Robert Woods, who scored a third quarter touchdown.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald bats away a pass by Texans quarterback Tom Savage during second quarter action.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Lance Dunbar is separated from the ball by Texans defensive back Kareem Jackson for an incomplete pass during the third quarter.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff scrambles away from Texans linebacker Brennan Scarlett during the third quarter.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams punt returner Pharoah Cooper is knocked out of bounds by Texans linebacker Brian Peters after a long return during third quarter action.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney delivers a hard blow while tackling Rams running back Todd Gurley for a loss in the first quarter.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff takes a shot to the face from Texans linebacker Bernardrick McKinney during first half action.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams defensive end Morgan Fox leads the team to the field before a game against the Houstan Texans.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
‘’Surprised,” was how he described the fans’ reaction.
To those who have been following the Rams recent surge, what happened next wasn’t so surprising.
“It’s crazy,” said running back Todd Gurley.
Near the end of the quarter, after a 27-yard punt return by the resurgent Pharoh Cooper, Goff hit Sammy Watkins on consecutive passes, the second a screen flip that Watkins ran 17 yards into the end zone behind giant left tackle Andrew Whitworth.
“My job is so easy, I’m out there just playing, having fun, running routes, when those guys make plays I’m living through them, when I make plays, they’re living through me,” Watkins said.
Then, moments later, after Samson Ebukam racked Texans quarterback Tom Savage to force a fumble recovered by Tyrunn Walker, Goff found Woods with another screen that he carried a dozen yards before twisting into the end zone.
This time, with the noise rattling in his helmet again, Woods did not attempt a leap, and simply handed the ball to one of the suite holders and ran back to his celebrating teammates.
“On the second touchdown you’ve got to do something different,” said Woods, who promised he would leap again next time and, the way this team is rolling, there will be a next time.
The Rams not only scored three touchdowns in barely eight minutes to flatten the Texans, but they also recovered two fumbles and picked off two passes to keep them down. Other than having little experience with this kind of winning, there doesn’t seem to be a glaring weakness on a team that national pundits are beginning to call legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
“They exult in each other, they play for each other, they buy in,” said Kroenke afterward, standing in a buzzing locker room. “It makes for a great team.”
It certainly made for a great Sunday, and right down the road from the recent events of Black Wednesday, bringing together some folks — about the same number that attended Dodgers postseason games — ready to shout again, including the Rams.
“It was fun, it was a lot of fun,” said Goff, who continues to be the league’s quarterback revelation after throwing for 355 yards with those three touchdown and no interceptions. “When it starts rolling like that, we start getting turnovers, crowd gets into it, we start hitting big plays … you really start getting the momentum you want.”
The momentum, the noise, the moment ... right now the Rams are owning it all, so much that maybe, finally, one of their silliest new traditions can mercifully end.
Note to Rams public address announcer Sam Lagana: You no longer need to scream, “Whose House?”
As for Sunday, here’s guessing everyone knows.