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Rams continue to struggle in 42-14 loss to Falcons

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Follow along for updates throughout the game from Lindsey Thiry.

SCORING SUMMARY

First quarter:

  • Falcons WR Justin Hardy catches a three-yard pass for a touchdown (Falcons 7, Rams 0)

Second quarter:

  • Falcons RB Tevin Coleman scores on a six-yard catch (Falcons 14, Rams 0)
  • Falcons LB Deion Jones scores on a 33-yard interception return (Falcons 21, Rams 0)

Third quarter:

  • Falcons WR Taylor Gabriel scores on a 64-yard catch (Falcons 28, Rams 0)
  • Falcons RB Tevin Coleman scores on a six-yard run (Falcons 35, Rams 0)
  • Falcons LB Vic Beasley Jr. scores on a 21-yard fumble recovery (Falcons 42, Rams 0)

Fourth quarter:

  • Rams RB Todd Gurley scores on a three-yard run (Falcons 42, Rams 7)
  • Rams QB Jared Goff scores on a two-yard run (Falcons 42, Rams 14)

    Video: Breaking down the Rams’ 42-14 loss to the Falcons

    The Rams fell to 4-9 after a 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

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    Slideshow: Photos from the Rams-Falcons game

    Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. strips the ball from Rams quarterback Jared Goff. To see more images from the game, click on the photo above.
    (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

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    Falcons dominate Rams from the start for a 42-14 victory

    A turbulent week for the Rams off the field ended with a season-worst performance on it Sunday at the Coliseum.

    The Atlanta Falcons demolished the Rams, 42-14, putting even more heat on embattled Coach Jeff Fisher with three games left in the season.

    The Falcons turned four of five Rams turnovers into touchdowns as the Rams lost for eighth time in nine games and fell to 4-9.

    Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley put the finishing touch on the route late in the third quarter when he sacked rookie quarterback Jared Goff, stripped the ball and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown and a 42-0 lead.

    The defeat ended a week that began with fan uproar over two-year contract extensions for Fisher and General Manager Les Snead, and also included Fisher and Snead refuting a report by Sports Illustrated’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” website that their relationship was “toxic.”

    The Falcons, who came in averaging an NFL-best 32.2 points a game, played without star receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

    It hardly mattered.

    Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed 18 of 28 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns as the Falcons improved their record to 8-5. Ryan connected with Taylor Gabriel for a 64-yard touchdown in the third quarter that put the Falcons ahead 28-0.

    Along with Beasley’s scoring play, linebacker Deion Jones returned an interception for a touchdown.

    Goff struggled in his fourth start. He completed 24 of 41 passes for 235 yards but had two passes intercepted and was stripped by Beasley for the touchdown. He did have a two-yard run for a late score.

    Todd Gurley rushed for 61 yards in 16 carries and scored on a short run early in the fourth quarter. Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin each had seven receptions for 82 and 62 yards, respectively

    The Rams trailed at halftime, 21-0, as the Falcons converted two of three turnovers into touchdowns.

    With Benny Cunningham inactive because of a neck injury, rookie Michael Thomas returned kickoffs for the Rams.

    On the opening kickoff, he attempted to catch the ball in the end zone. But the ball slipped through his hands, bounced off his body and rolled to the three-yard line, where the Falcons recovered it.

    Ryan wasted no time, connecting with receiver Justin Hardy for a touchdown and 7-0 lead.

    The Falcons put together a scoring drive late in the first quarter aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Rams end Matt Longacre. Running back Tevin Coleman’s six-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the second quarter put the Falcons ahead 14-0.

    With about nine minutes left in the first half, linebacker Deion Jones intercepted a Goff pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown and the 21-0 lead.

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    The Falcons defeat the Rams, 42-14

    A few boos echoed through the Coliseum from the few fans remaining as the clock finally ran out and the Falcons defeated the Rams, 42-14.

    The Rams fall to 4-9, and the Falcons improve to 8-5.

    The Rams must now prepare to go to Seattle to play the Seahawks on Thursday night on short rest.

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    The Falcons lead the Rams, 42-14, in the fourth quarter

    A second fan ran onto the field in between plays and barely made it 30 yards before he was tackled, but fans still chanted that he was the MVP.

    After watching today’s game, perhaps they’re right.

    Nevertheless, Jared Goff rushed two yards for a touchdown and the Rams trail the Falcons, 42-14, with 2:44 remaining in the fourth quarter. The scoring drive covered 80 yards in 13 plays and took 4:59.

    One must wonder why, trailing by 35 points, the Rams would call a play for their rookie quarterback to get pummeled, and potentially injured, in the end zone after he has taken a beating all day.

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    The Falcons grind down the clock with game out of Rams’ reach

    The Falcons are in clock-management mode and are trying to leave Los Angeles without suffering any additional injuries.

    Terron Ward rushed for six yards in three carries, and the Falcons punted.

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    The Rams go three and out on offense, again

    Copy and paste, rinse and repeat.

    The Rams went three and out on offense.

    Jared Goff threw incomplete passes to Kenny Britt and Todd Gurley before Pharoh Cooper caught a one-yard pass on third down.

    Goff was making progress through his first three starts. Today, especially as the game has gone on, appears to be a major step back.

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    The Falcons insert backup quarterback in fourth quarter

    The Falcons, leading the Rams 42-7, inserted backup Matt Schaub at quarterback, and Terron Ward took over at running back.

    Ward rushed for 10 yards in four carries, and the Falcons punted.

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    The Falcons lead the Rams, 42-7, in the third quarter

    It was one of those hallelujah cheers. The Coliseum and the few faithful fans remaining erupted as the Rams finally scored some points.

    Todd Gurley rushed three yards for a touchdown.

    The Falcons lead the Rams, 42-7, with 14:57 remaining in the fourth quarter. The scoring drive covered 60 yards in eight plays and took 2:53.

    Michael Thomas returned the kickoff 41 yards to give the Rams good field position.

    Kenny Britt caught a 28-yard pass to start the series, and extra yards were tacked on after a personal foul was called against the Falcons.

    Brian Quick caught a 10-yard pass to convert on third and six.

    Rams safety Maurice Alexander has been ruled out of the game because of a concussion.

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    The Falcons lead the Rams, 42-0, in the third quarter

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.

    Vic Beasley Jr. sacked Jared Goff, stripped the football and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown.

    The Falcons lead the Rams, 42-0.

    The few remaining fans really now are all headed for the exits as red Falcons jerseys start to make their way to the open seats near the field.

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    The Falcons lead the Rams, 35-0, in the third quarter

    Not sure this can get any worse for the Rams.

    Malcolm Brown rushed two yards before he fumbled and the Falcons recovered. It was Brown’s first carry of the series after Todd Gurley rushed for 21 yards in four carries.

    Eight plays and 54 yards later, the Falcons converted the turnover into a touchdown. They lead the Rams, 35-0, with 3:56 to play in the third quarter.

    More Rams fans are headed for the exits.

    The Rams have turned the ball over four times.

    Rams safety Maurice Alexander was injured during the series and was tended to by the training staff on the field. He was able to climb to his feet but was taken off on a cart.

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    The Falcons lead the Rams, 28-0, in the third quarter

    That’s how you start the second half ... if you’re the Falcons.

    Matt Ryan completed a 64-yard pass to a wide-open Taylor Gabriel for a touchdown. The Falcons lead the Rams, 28-0, with 13:18 remaining in the third quarter.

    The scoring drive covered 75 yards in three plays and took 1:42.

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    The Falcons lead the Rams, 21-0, at halftime

    Fans at the Coliseum booed the Rams as they went into the tunnel at halftime trailing the Falcons, 21-0.

    It has been another poor, uninspiring performance by the offense, which has 122 total yards, five first downs and is one-of-eight on third down.

    Jared Goff has completed eight of 18 passes for 75 yards, with two interceptions.

    As poor as that stat line is, it’s hard to blame the rookie quarterback for this abysmal performance.

    Rams receivers have continued the trend started last week in New England of not catching the football. Last week, it was almost understandable with the freezing Foxborough temperatures, but what’s the excuse this week?

    Todd Gurley has rushed for 29 yards in seven carries.

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    Johnny Hekker punts for a sixth time in first half

    How fitting, the Rams’ final offensive series in the first half resulted in a three-and-out and a Johnny Hekker punt.

    Hekker has now punted six times.

    The Rams’ offense is dreadful.

    Todd Gurley rushed for five yards, Jared Goff threw an incomplete pass and then on third-and-five, Kenny Britt caught a four-yard pass.

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    The Rams’ defense continues to stop the Falcons

    The Rams’ defense is not the problem. It really hasn’t been all season, with the exception of that terrible game in New Orleans.

    The Falcons, the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, punted for a fifth time, and they have been held to 149 total yards.

    Matt Ryan has completed 13 of 20 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

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    Boos ring out across the Coliseum as Rams go three-and-out

    The boos have returned to the Coliseum.

    The last time we heard them was when Case Keenum was quarterback on Nov. 6, against the Caroline Panthers.

    Needless to say, the Rams went three-and-out, again.

    Johnny Hekker punted for a fifth time.

    They were called for another ineligible receiver down field, Jared Goff was sacked and Goff’s third-down pass was just out of the reach of Tavon Austin.

    The Rams have 113 total yards of offense.

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    The Rams’ defense is keeping them in the game

    The Rams’ defense has done a nice job against the Falcons.

    And no, that’s not sarcastic, despite the Rams trailing 21-0.

    Matt Ryan was forced to a three-and-out, and the Falcons punted for a fourth time.

    Tevin Coleman rushed for six yards before Ryan threw two incomplete passes.

    The Falcons, who came into the game with the highest-scoring offense, have 116 total yards. (It might be important to remember that leading Falcons receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu are inactive today).

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    Penalties setting Rams back on offense

    Technically, is it a three-and-out if the Rams actually ran four plays because of their own penalty that set them back 10 yards and forced them to replay a down?

    At least it changes the three-and-out narrative, if ever so slightly.

    Todd Gurley rushed for five yards before Greg Robinson was called for holding.

    Lance Kendricks caught a 13-yard pass on second-and-15 and then Jared Goff’s third-down pass fell incomplete.

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    Falcons lead the Rams, 21-0, in the second quarter

    This game started ugly for the Rams and has only gotten worse.

    Linebacker Deion Jones dropped into coverage, intercepted Jared Goff and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown.

    The Falcons lead, 21-0, with 8:54 to play in the first half.

    Tavon Austin caught a 17-yard pass and then Rodger Saffold was called for a false start to setup first and 15 -- that’s when Goff threw the pick.

    Goff has completed six of 13 passes for 58 yards, with two interceptions. The first interception was hardly his fault as it bounced off Kenny Britt’s hands, but the second was all on the rookie quarterback.

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    The Rams’ defense holds Falcons to three-and-out

    The Rams’ defense has forced another three-and-out of its own.

    Matt Ryan completed a nine-yard pass to Aldrick Robinson before Ethan Westbrooks tackled Devonta Freeman for a one-yard loss.

    Ryan’s third-down pass fell incomplete.

    The Falcons punted, and the Rams will have the ball on their own 14-yard line.

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    Johnny Hekker punts for a third time against Falcons

    Well, the Rams did not go three-and-out. But another Rams receiver, this time Brian Quick, dropped a pass that hit him in the hands.

    Johnny Hekker, the unofficial team MVP, punted.

    The Rams’ possession chart looks like this: Interception, punt, punt, punt.

    Tavon Austin caught a nine-yard pass on third-and-eight before Rob Havenstein was called as an ineligible receiver down field. That put the Rams into first and 15, which they could not work out of after the Quick drop and an overthrow by Goff on third and five.

    Malcolm Brown rushed for 12 yards in three carries.

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    The Falcons lead the Rams, 14-0, in the second quarter

    The Rams’ defense did nothing to stop the Falcons’ drive, and in fact aided it when Matt Longacre was called for roughing the passer, which moved the Falcons to the Rams’ nine-yard line.

    Matt Ryan completed a six-yard pass to Tevin Coleman for a touchdown, and the Falcons lead the Rams, 14-0, with 14:53 to play in the second quarter.

    The scoring drive covered 88 yards in nine plays and took 3:05.

    Ryan put on a passing clinic, completing passes for 11 yards, 25 yards, eight yards and 19 yards.

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    Johnny Hekker appears to again be the go-to player for Rams

    There are only so many ways to write that the Rams offense is struggling and that they went three-and-out.

    So, once again, they went three-and-out.

    Maybe Jeff Fisher returns next season, maybe he doesn’t. But watching this offense is enough to say that first-year offensive coordinator Rob Boras should not.

    Todd Gurley rushed for two yards before Jared Goff was sacked and then threw an incomplete pass on third and 14.

    Johnny Hekker, the unofficial team MVP, punted.

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    Rams defense makes a stand and Falcons punt

    Dominique Easley crushed Devonta Freeman with a tackle that drew a big “aw” from the sparse Coliseum crowd.

    The Falcons punted.

    Nick Williams caught a 12-yard pass before the defense made a stand.

    Easley tackled Tevin Coleman at the line of scrimmage and then Michael Jordan laid a hit on Taylor Gabriel before he could gain a yard.

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    The Rams offense goes three-and-out in second series

    Kenny Britt fought for extra yards but still came up short of a first down.

    The Rams went three-and-out.

    At least we got to see the unofficial team MVP, Johnny Hekker, who even Jeff Fisher noted is on his way to a career season. Not that you want a punter to have a career season... but, silver lining.

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    Falcons can’t convert turnover into points

    The Rams’ defense stepped up after a poor start on special teams and offense.

    The Falcons intercepted a Jared Goff pass that bounced off receiver Kenny Britt’s hands, but the defense forced a three-and-out.

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    Falcons intercept Jared Goff after pass bounces off receiver’s hands

    This is not the start the Rams needed.

    Jared Goff was leading a nice drive, down the Falcons 16-yard line before a pass bounced off Kenny Britt’s hands and into those of Ricardo Allen.

    The Falcons took over at their 10-yard line.

    Drops were a huge issue for the Rams in their loss last week in New England. Britt, who is having a career season had a couple of memorable ones.

    Goff completed a 12-yard pass to Todd Gurley and a 12-yard pass to Tavon Austin in the series.

    Gurley also rushed for 13 yards in three carries; Austin rushed for 23 yards in a carry.

    Michael Thomas, who fumbled the opening kickoff, returned the kickoff 20 yards.

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    Falcons lead the Rams, 7-0, in the first quarter

    Ouch.

    Michael Thomas, filling in for Benny Cunningham on the kick-return team, fumbled the opening kickoff and the Falcons recovered it at the Rams’ three-yard line.

    One play later, Matt Ryan completed a three-yard pass to Justin Hardy for a touchdown.

    The Falcons lead the Rams, 7-0, with 14:50 left in the first quarter.

    Ten seconds into the game. Seriously.

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    Rams hope to quiet the Falcons’ high-flying offense and the noise from controversies

    Rams Coach Jeff Fisher reacts after his offense is forced to punt during a game against the Jets earlier this season.
    (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

    Our focus is on Atlanta right now.

    Rams Coach Jeff Fisher

    The last time the Rams played at home, quarterback Jared Goff was debuting and rain was falling at the Coliseum.

    Goff, the No. 1 pick in the draft, has matured in the three weeks since, but as the Rams prepared for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, there was a sense the sky was falling for an organization that suddenly cannot escape week-to-week controversy and melodrama.

    Two things seem certain: Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson will not be on the sideline Sunday, and any pregame handshakes or exchanges between Rams Coach Jeff Fisher and General Manager Les Snead will not escape scrutiny.

    Dickerson, openly critical of the team and miffed by a phone call from Fisher that was spurred by Dickerson’s request for extra sideline passes, has said he will not attend games as long as Fisher is the coach.

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    Rams and Falcons inactive players

    Rams inactive players:

    Quarterback Sean Mannion

    Running back Benny Cunningham

    Defensive back Blake Countess

    Defensive back E.J. Gaines

    Tight end Cory Harkey

    Offensive lineman Pace Murphy

    Defensive end Robert Quinn

    Falcons inactive players:

    Receiver Mohamed Sanu

    Receiver Julio Jones

    Safety Sharrod Neasman

    Safety Robenson Therezie

    Offensive lineman Kevin Graf

    Offensive lineman Wes Schweitzer

    Defensive end Adrian Clayborn

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    Rams vs. Falcons: How they match up

    Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan reacts after throwing a touchdown pass against the Chiefs on Dec. 4.
    (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

    Rams pass offense vs. Falcons pass defense: Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff will make his fourth start, and his second at the Coliseum. Goff is completing 53.7% of his passes, four for touchdowns, with three interceptions. Goff was under constant pressure last week against the New England Patriots, and receivers dropped several passes. But the No. 1 pick in the draft appears to be gaining confidence while going through progressions. The Falcons are giving up 280.8 yards passing per game, which ranks last in the NFL. Linebacker Vic Beasley has 10 1/2 sacks, and end Dwight Freeney three.

    EDGE: Rams.

    Rams run offense vs. Falcons run defense: Todd Gurley is averaging 56.6 yards rushing per game and only 3.2 yards per carry. His longest run last week against the Patriots covered nine yards. Gurley, who began his career by rushing for at least 128 yards in his first four starts, has not rushed for more than 100 yards since Dec. 13, 2015, when he ran for 140 yards against Detroit. The Rams might catch a break because the Falcons rank 15th in the NFL in rushing defense, giving up 100.8 yards per game. Last week, the Kansas City Chiefs rushed for 123 yards in a victory over the Falcons. Linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal are the Falcons’ leading tacklers.

    EDGE: Falcons.

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    Falcons star receiver Julio Jones inactive against the Rams

    Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson prepared all week to shadow Falcons star receiver Julio Jones.

    But Jones will be inactive today because of a toe injury.

    Jones has caught 72 passes for 1,253 yards and five touchdowns.

    Mohamed Sanu, the Falcons second-leading receiver, also will be sidelined because of a groin injury.

    Sanu has caught 49 passes for 521 yards and three touchdowns.

    That’s a big break for the Rams’ defense and offense, which must find a way to keep pace with the NFL’s highest-scoring team.

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    Cloudy day in the Rams’ return to the Coliseum

    It’s a cool and cloudy morning at the Coliseum as the Rams and Atlanta Falcons warm up for a 1:25 p.m. PST kickoff.

    This will be the Rams’ first December game in the Coliseum after spending the last two weeks on the road at New Orleans and New England.

    The Rams, 4-8, have lost three straight, while the Falcons, 7-5, are tied for first place in the NFC South and have the highest scoring offense in the NFL. The Falcons are coming off a 29-28 loss last week against the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Jared Goff will make his fourth career start, his second in the Coliseum. Goff has passed for 509 yards and four touchdowns, with three interceptions.

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