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Rams

Rams’ frustration boils over after latest loss, a 42-14 blowout that turns up heat on Coach Jeff Fisher

Jeff Fisher

Coach Jeff Fisher leaves the field after the Rams’ 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 11 at the Coliseum.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Todd Gurley stood in front of his locker, trying to contain his frustration.

He did not yell. Nor did he rant. At times, the Rams running back quietly struggled to find the words.

But he could not contain himself. Sunday’s humiliating 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons appeared to push Gurley to a breaking point.

“It looked like a middle-school offense out there,” he said.

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The Rams’ offense, abysmal the entire season, was only one of myriad problems that plagued the spiraling team in its eighth defeat in nine games. The loss dropped the Rams’ record to 4-9 and further turned up the heat on embattled Coach Jeff Fisher.

The Rams committed five turnovers — including muffing the opening kickoff — and the Falcons turned four of the miscues into touchdowns,   two on passes by Matt Ryan.

Rookie quarterback Jared Goff had two passes intercepted. One was returned for a touchdown. Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley also stripped Goff of the ball and ran for a touchdown.

Fans booed throughout the game before most headed to the exits early in the second half.

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“I feel responsible for this,” Fisher said of the losses during a postgame news conference.

A few minutes earlier, Fisher had walked off the field toward the Coliseum tunnel.

With a Rams security official flanked to his right and a grinning Falcons player trailing on his left, Fisher wore a grimace. The stadium scoreboard behind him in the gloaming of the peristyle end told the story.

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

Fisher did not look back as he approached the tunnel entrance, but a question certainly followed him:

Was the beat-down the last time Fisher will coach the Rams at the Coliseum?

The loss ensured the Rams’ 13th consecutive non-winning season. It also was Fisher’s 165th career defeat, tying him with Dan Reeves for most by a coach in NFL history. He could become the record-holder as soon as Thursday night in Seattle.

And the Rams are clearly searching for something to play for with three games left.

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“I don’t care if we’re out the playoffs or not, I don’t care, just come up, show up and play,” said Gurley, who rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries. “That’s why we play this game. Show up and play.”

Does Gurley feel everyone has been doing that?

“I don’t. I really don’t,” he said. “Just going through the motions, I feel like everyone is just playing to get through.”

Gurley’s frustration was evident on the sideline during the first half. The Falcons had scored on the pick-six earlier in the second quarter and Gurley was later observed jawing at Goff and a coach on the sideline. He also left for the locker room well ahead of the rest of the team at halftime.

It has been a long year for the struggling Gurley, who was the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year last season.

Asked how frustrating it was on offense with the turnovers, Gurley said, “I’m gonna just be quiet. My momma said if you ain’t got nothing good to say, don’t say it at all. I’ll just leave it at that.”

The Rams have been mired in frustration since they began sliding after a 3-1 start. As of late, they also cannot escape controversy.

First came the Eric Dickerson sideline-pass saga. Then Fisher and General Manager Les Snead, recipients of two-year contract extensions still not publicly acknowledged by the Rams, scrambled to dispute a report that described a rift between them and a toxic relationship.

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“There’s an awareness about it, it’s all over the TV,” cornerback Trumaine Johnson said of the outside noise, “but you still have to zone it out and try to go out there and compete and win games.”

Sunday’s loss only added to the maelstrom.

“Eventually something has to change,” offensive lineman Rodger Saffold said, adding, “Right now, the coaches are coaching their [rear ends] off. If we can’t execute then they get blamed.

“I’m sick of hearing that. It’s up to us.”

Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree defended Fisher.

“Somebody needs somebody to blame,” he said, “but I feel like it’s us, as players out on the field. . . . All we can do is go out and play our best and try and win games for him.”

So what must the Rams do to get over the hump?

“I really don’t know,” Gurley said. “I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really don’t know. We’re all trying to figure that out.”

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesklein


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