The Sports Report: Rams lose again; Chargers defeat Browns

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard celebrates his touchdown as Rams defensive back Terrell Burgess walks away.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Gary Klein: It still might not officially qualify as a Super Bowl hangover.

But the Rams are woozy. Punchless. They are teetering on the verge of a fall, if not perhaps a complete collapse.

A team that proclaimed its intention to “run it back” and become the first team in nearly two decades to repeat as Super Bowl champion appears to be running on empty.

And coach Sean McVay and his staff are dealing with major headaches after the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Rams 22-10 on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.


A crowd of 74,154 heavy on Cowboys faithful watched the Rams lose their second game in a row and fall to 2-3.

Consider: Other than when they started this season with a blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Rams never had been under .500 since McVay was hired in 2017.

“It’s not a good movie right now,” McVay said.

For a coach who has guided the Rams to two Super Bowl trips and four playoff appearances in five seasons, it’s been a horror show.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford continues to commit game-changing turnovers. The offense barely can score touchdowns. The injury-hampered line is a shambles, with Stafford under constant duress and no rushing attack materializing.

The defense, for the third game in a row, failed to create a turnover.

And the Cowboys became the second team to block a Rams punt this season.



Plaschke: ‘Rams House’ becomes ‘Cowboys House’ on day of embarrassing domination

Cowboys have more stars than on helmets, their stifling defense overwhelming Rams

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From Jeff Miller: There were 908 total yards, 53 first downs and five lead changes.

There also was a big decision, one that remains part of what Brandon Staley is all about — even when his Chargers’ failure is precious fuel to his howling critics.

With the game there to be won Sunday, Staley opted to go for a first down on a late fourth-down play near midfield. When Justin Herbert’s pass fell incomplete, Cleveland received a golden final chance.

Despite that play going wrong, the day ended up going right for the visitors when Browns kicker Cade York missed a 54-yard field-goal attempt wide right in the closing seconds, allowing the Chargers to escape 30-28.

“We believe in our process,” Staley said afterward. “We believe in our players on both sides. We were coming out here on the road to win this game. Not kick it, and then go hope to win.”


NFL Week 6 best bets: Three games with intriguing early lines and odds


From J. Brady McCollough: Lincoln Riley against Chip Kelly. Two offensive wizards, one expected to eventually become an NFL head coach, the other been-there-done-that and settling into his collegiate second act.

Caleb Williams against Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Two dual-threat quarterback supermen, one so confident he actually accepted the nickname “Superman,” the other happy to internalize all doubters and silence them in a single bound.

Travis Dye against Zach Charbonnet. Two bruising and cunning transfer tailbacks raised in greater Los Angeles, one an easy conversationalist back from a formational stint at Oregon, the other a strong and silent type who talks with the thuds of his pads and wasn’t enamored with his experience at Michigan.

USC against UCLA on Nov. 19 in a game that actually matters nationally because both programs are running legitimate operations — no spoilers allowed, only contenders. That’s what we’re staring at after Saturday, a day in which no top-10 teams lost across the country, but L.A.’s relevance skyrocketed.


Don’t tell anyone, but Chip Kelly is enjoying UCLA’s run: Four takeaways from Utah win

Tuli Tuipulotu devours quarterbacks: Takeaways from USC’s win over Washington State

AP top 25: Georgia back at No. 1; USC remains in top 10 while UCLA leaps to No. 11


From Dan Woike: Soon enough, it’ll be a complete picture. For now, it’s just pieces, an incomplete picture of what the Lakers are right now and still a mystery of what they will be.

It’s probably not ideal, the Lakers moving into their second week of preseason action with little actual proof of what LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook look like against the opposition.

Playing its fourth preseason game in the last seven days, the team again didn’t have its top stars available — with James, Westbrook and veteran guard Patrick Beverley all resting Sunday against the Warriors.


From Kevin Baxter: Galaxy coach Greg Vanney has long insisted the MLS season doesn’t really start until the final 10 games, which is good thing because his team’s first 24 didn’t go all that well.

Down the stretch, however, the Galaxy were among the hottest teams in the league and they were rewarded for that Sunday when a 3-1 win in Houston earned them their first home playoff date in six seasons.

There was far less drama surrounding LAFC’s regular-season finale. The team had already clinched the best overall record in MLS and assured itself of home-field advantage throughout the postseason, and Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Nashville changed none of that. In fact, it only slightly dampened the red-carpet postgame ceremony in which LAFC was presented with the Supporters’ Shield, its prize for finishing atop the league table for the second time in four years.


From Mike DiGiovanna: The Dodgers will face a familiar and sometimes feisty foe in the National League Division Series after the San Diego Padres and Joe Musgrove sent the 101-win New York Mets home for the winter with a 6-0 victory in the decisive third game of their wild-card series at Citi Field on Sunday night.

The Padres spoiled what many fans — and national television executives — hoped would be a bicoastal playoff showdown between the Dodgers and Mets by beating up Max Scherzer in Game 1 and riding Musgrove’s dominant start — seven shutout innings, one hit, five strikeouts — in Game 3.

But they’ll face a more formidable challenge in the 111-win Dodgers, who have beaten up on their Southern California rivals for the past 12 years like a big brother bullying a little brother.


From Mike DiGiovanna: Albert Pujols plans to honor his 10-year, $10-million personal-services contract with the Angels despite owner Arte Moreno’s intentions of selling the team and the disappointing end to the slugger’s nine-plus-year tenure in Anaheim.

“He plans on fulfilling all of it,” said a person familiar with Pujols’ thinking but not authorized to speak publicly about it. “He’s excited to see who the new owner is.”

Pujols’ Hall of Fame-worthy, 22-year career came to a close Saturday night when his St. Louis Cardinals were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in a National League wild-card series.


1920 — The Chicago Cardinals play to a 0-0 tie with the Chicago Tigers in their first American Professional Football Association game. The game is held at Cubs Park, later renamed Wrigley Field.

1920 — Cleveland Indians Bill Wambsganns completes an unassisted World Series triple play.

1936 — Ohio State trumpet player John Brungart dots the ‘i’ in “Script Ohio” for the first time during halftime of the Buckeyes’ 6-0 loss to Pittsburgh at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. After Brungart, the honor began to go exclusively to sousaphone players, with exceptions made for well-known fans of the Ohio State program, like John Glenn, Jack Nicklaus and Bob Hope.

1964 — John Henry Johnson of Pittsburgh rushes for 200 yards to lead the Steelers to a 23-7 triumph over the Cleveland Browns.

1974 — Danny Gare of Buffalo scores 18 seconds into his first NHL game as the Sabres beat the Boston Bruins 9-5.

1979 — Quebec’s Real Cloutier scores three goals in his first NHL game, but the Nordiques lose 5-3 to the Atlanta Flames.

1981 — USC’s Marcus Allen rushes for 211 yards, his fifth straight 200-plus rushing game, in a 13-10 loss to Arizona.

1987 — Columbia sets an NCAA record with its 35th straight loss, 38-8 to Princeton.

1998 — New Hampshire’s Jerry Azumah becomes the first back in NCAA Division I-AA history to run for more than 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons. He has 165 yards and one touchdown in a 22-13 loss to Richmond.

2004 — New England wins its 19th straight game, setting an NFL record for consecutive wins — counting the playoffs — with a 24-10 victory over Miami.

2011 — NBA Commissioner David Stern cancels the first two weeks of the season after owners and players are unable to reach a new labor deal and end the lockout. Games originally scheduled to be played from Nov. 1 through Nov. 14 are wiped out.

2011 — Anthony Calvillo becomes pro football’s all-time passing leader in spectacular fashion with a 50-yard TD pass to Jamel Richardson that cements the Montreal Alouettes’ 29-19 win over the Toronto Argonauts. Calvillo needed 258 yards to break Damon Allen’s all-time CFL record of 72,381 yards.

2017 — The United States are eliminated from World Cup contention with a shocking 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad scores a pair of first-half goals and the United States will miss the World Cup for the first time since 1986. The 28th-ranked Americans needed merely a tie against 99th-ranked Trinidad, which lost its sixth straight qualifier last week.

2017 — The Vegas Golden Knights win their home opener and remain unbeaten three games into their inaugural season with a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Marc-Andre Fleury makes 31 saves for the Golden Knights, who become the first team in NHL history to begin their debut season with three straight wins.

2020 — 19 year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland wins her country’s first singles major title as she beats American Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1 at the French Open.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

The U.S. loses to Trinidad & Tobago and fails to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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