The Sports Report: Rams impress even while losing

Puka Nacua of the Rams makes a catch during the second half.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

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

From Gary Klein: Onward with optimism. Quell those doubts. Don’t completely pause that playoff talk.

The Rams are … legit?

It’s still too early to make that a definitive statement.

But the Rams, despite a 30-23 defeat by the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, showed again that they might be significantly better than poor preseason projections.


Forty-niners coach Kyle Shanahan continued his dominance over Rams coach Sean McVay during the regular season.

But it was not a rout. Nor was it an easy victory for a 49ers team regarded as a Super Bowl contender.

“That margin for error is really small,” McVay said, adding, “They’ve been given their flowers for a reason.”

In a week when friction between running back Cam Akers and McVay once again appeared to manifest, the Rams were undone by two second-half turnovers. And they once again failed to defeat the 49ers in the regular season, a streak that extends to nine games and dates to 2018.

With Akers inactive as a healthy scratch — “coach’s decision,” McVay said — Rams running back Kyren Williams scored two more touchdowns,. A Matthew Stafford pass bounced off his hands in the third quarter and was intercepted, however, opening the door for the 49ers.

Another interception by 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir with less than five minutes left sealed the Rams’ defeat and left them 1-1 overall and in the NFC West.


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Rams-49ers box score

Full NFL standings

Plaschke: Despite loss, Rams make fun statement in fierce battle with rival 49ers

Rams’ 30-23 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers by the numbers

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From Jeff Miller: Just two games into an 18-week season, the Chargers left Nissan Stadium wearing the weight of consecutive defeats that felt like so much more.

They’re 0-2, heading back out on the road again next weekend and still facing the same questions about their ability to close when things matter most.

“It’s a heavy locker room because we care,” defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day said. “We know that we should have finished that game.”

Instead, the Chargers allowed Tennessee to come back from an early double-digit deficit, come back again late in the fourth quarter and then win 27-24 in overtime.

Expected to contend for a postseason berth, the Chargers find themselves searching for positives, their two defeats leading to frustration that blanketed the visiting locker room in near silence.

“Pissed off because we know we should be winning these games,” edge rusher Khalil Mack said. “I put it on us.”

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Chargers-Titans box score

Full NFL standings

Chargers’ 27-24 road loss in overtime to the Tennessee Titans by the numbers


From Jack Harris: Dave Roberts got the green light from Mookie Betts before leaving the ballpark Saturday night. He forced a reluctant agreement out of Freddie Freeman on Sunday morning.

A day after the Dodgers clinched first place in the National League West, the manager gave both of his superstars a well-earned off day Sunday — Betts’ first non-injury-related off day in more than a month, and Freeman’s first game off this season.

Then, Roberts watched his club complete a weekend sweep of the Seattle Mariners without them, riding big days from Jason Heyward and the pitching staff to a 6-1 win at T-Mobile Park.

“It couldn’t have worked out any better,” Roberts said. “Obviously, such a great series.”

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Dodgers box score

All MLB box scores

Dodgers clinch their 10th NL West title in 11 years: ‘We were expecting to do this’


x-Dodgers, 91-57
Arizona, 79-72, 13.5 GB
San Francisco, 76-74, 16 GB
San Diego, 72-78, 20 GB
Colorado, 56-93, 35.5 GB

x-clinched division

top three teams qualify

Philadelphia, 81-68
Arizona, 79-72
Miami, 78-72

Chicago, 78-72

Cincinnati, 78-73, 0.5 GB
San Francisco, 76-74, 2 GB
San Diego, 72-78, 6 GB

For full standings, go here


From Sarah Valenzuela: The clock is ticking on Mike Trout’s return.

The Angels center fielder fractured his left hamate bone in a game on July 3, had surgery and returned on Aug. 22. He experienced more pain in his hand and wrist than he thought he would be able to tolerate after one game, prompting another IL stint on Aug. 25.

“I wasn’t right,” Trout told reporters in New York after being put back on the IL. “I was in some pain more than tolerable. I thought I could push it just to get back out there and just came in the next day really, really sore.”

Trout will travel with the team on its upcoming trip to play the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins.

Trout has been trying to return, but with only 12 games remaining on the schedule, the three-time American League most valuable player does not have much more of a window.

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Angels box score

All MLB box scores


Houston, 84-66
Texas, 82-67, 1.5 GB
Seattle, 81-68, 2.5 GB
Angels, 68-82, 16 GB
Oakland, 46-103, 37.5 GB

top three teams qualify

y-Tampa Bay, 92-59
Toronto, 83-67
Texas, 82-67

Seattle, 81-68, 1 GB
New York, 76-74, 6.5 GB
Boston, 74-76, 8.5 GB
Cleveland, 72-78, 10.5 GB
Detroit, 70-79, 12 GB

y-clinched wild-card berth

Note: The Angels have been eliminated from postseason contention.

For full standings, go here


From Ben Bolch: Its starting quarterback no longer in doubt, UCLA faced a different dilemma Saturday: How far down the depth chart would it have to go to end this game as mercifully as possible?

Starter Dante Moore threw for a 67-yard touchdown on his first pass and exited with 9½ minutes left in the second quarter.

Backup Collin Schlee ran for a 57-yard touchdown on his first play and was in the game for only four drives.

Third-stringer Ethan Garbers completed a 13-yard pass on his first play, helping the Bruins roll up a 45-point halftime lead.

Chase Griffin and Justyn Martin both got into the game not long afterward, meaning the Bruins had gone five deep at quarterback before the end of the third quarter. Martin might have momentarily wondered if UCLA might outdo his high school team, which once won a game 106-0.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly likes to say there’s no preseason games in college football, but this one sure felt like it. The No. 24 Bruins needed just 13 minutes to score 35 points, matching their previous season high for a game, on the way to a 59-7 trouncing of North Carolina Central at the Rose Bowl.

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Saturday’s UCLA box score

Complete college football standings

Five takeaways from UCLA’s rout of North Carolina Central as Utah showdown looms

Commentary: College football review: Coach Prime has expertly delivered drama and become must-see TV


Ten years after he was fired by USC on the tarmac at LAX, coach Lane Kiffin has recalibrated his life and settled into a spoiler role at Ole Miss. Read the story here.


School (first-place votes, record, points
1. Georgia (57) 3-0, 1566

2. Michigan (2) 3-0, 1481

3. Texas (3) 3-0, 1380

4. Florida State (1) 3-0, 1378

5. USC, 3-0, 1296

6. Ohio State, 3-0, 1291

7. Penn State, 3-0, 1217

8. Washington, 3-0, 1194

9. Notre Dame, 4-0, 1066

10. Oregon, 3-0, 942

11. Utah, 3-0, 921

12. LSU, 2-1, 805

13. Alabama, 2-1, 796

14. Oregon State, 3-0, 715

15. Ole Miss, 3-0, 657

16. Oklahoma, 3-0, 606

17. North Carolina, 3-0, 567

18. Duke, 3-0, 530

19. Colorado, 3-0, 509

20. Miami, 3-0, 359

21. Washington State, 3-0, 278

22. UCLA, 3-0, 20

23. Tennessee, 2-1, 198

24. Iowa, 3-0, 125

25. Florida, 2-1, 103

Others receiving votes: Clemson 76, Missouri 72, Kansas State 54, TCU 21, Fresno State 17, Kansas 15, Tulane 13, Kentucky 10, Maryland 4, BYU 3, Wisconsin 2, Syracuse 2, Louisville 1, Auburn 1.

Dropped from rankings: Kansas State 15


The Chicago Red Stars came from behind twice to earn a draw against Angel City at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill., on Sunday.

Laura Ricketts was on hand to watch Ava Cook and Cheyna Matthews score the equalizers in Chicago’s first home match since Ricketts led a group that took over ownership of the club on Sept. 1.

Ali Riley got things started for Angel City in the 39th minute. Amandine Henry got her head on a corner kick, and while her shot was saved by Alyssa Naeher, Riley was there to pounce on the rebound.

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1946 — Joe Louis knocks out Tami Mauriello in the first round at Yankee Stadium in New York to retain the world heavyweight title.

1966 — Baltimore quarterback Johnny Unitas throws 4 touchdown passes in 38-23 win at Minnesota to surpass Y.A. Tittle as NFL’s career leader with 212; finishes career with 290 TD passes.

1982 — In a rare father-son matchup, coach Jack Elway leads San Jose State to its second consecutive upset of quarterback John Elway and Stanford 35-31 in Palo Alto. John Elway completes 24-of-36 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns. Spartans quarterback Steve Clarkson, throws for 285 yards, three touchdowns and scores on a three-yard keeper for the win after a Cardinal fumble. Stanford reaches the Spartans’ 26-yard line, but Elway gets sacked on four consecutive plays to end the game.

1996 — Roger Clemens equals his own major league record, fanning 20 batters and pitching a four-hitter to lead Boston over the Detroit Tigers 4-0.

2003 — Atlanta clinches its 12th straight division title when second-place Florida is mathematically eliminated from the NL East race. The record title streak started in 1991, when the Braves won the NL West. They moved to the East Division in 1994 and trailed Montreal by six games when the strike stopped the season in August.

2005 — Green Bay’s Brett Favre joins Dan Marino and John Elway with 50,000 yards passing and also breaks Elway’s single-stadium NFL touchdown record of 180 with a 4-yard toss to Tony Fisher with 4 seconds left of a 26-24 loss to Cleveland at Lambeau Field.

2011 — At 16, Lexi Thompson becomes the youngest player to win an LPGA Tour event. The 16-year-old Floridian closes with a 2-under 70 to win by five strokes over Tiffany Joh at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala.

2011 — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton sets an NFL rookie record by throwing for 432 yards against the Green Bay Packers. Newton completes 28 of 46 passes with one touchdown in the 30-23 loss to the Packers.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally...

The Dodgers celebrate their division title. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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