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Rams

Rams need directions to the end zone

Todd Gurley, Case Keenum
Rams quarterback Case Keenum hands off to running back Todd Gurley during the home opener against the Seahawks, a 9-3 win on Sunday.
(Kelvin Kuo / Associated Press)

The Rams, the only NFL team without a touchdown, are trying to keep it light.

Coach Jeff Fisher gathered the offense in the end zone before practice this week at Cal Lutheran and instructed all the players to touch a ball, ostensibly to give them the feeling of what it’s like to finish a drive there.

Fisher also told the team that while searching the halls of the team’s facility he found a box.

“I showed it to them,” he said Wednesday. “It was full of touchdowns. So we watched some touchdowns.”

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Fisher was referring to last season’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Rams’ opponent on Sunday at Tampa, Fla.

Quarterback Case Keenum connected with receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt for touchdowns and Austin and running back Todd Gurley rushed for touchdowns in a 31-23 victory.

Rams players and coaches would welcome similar offensive production this week.

Actually, one touchdown would be an achievement for an offense that has reached the 20-yard line only once in two games.

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After being shut out by San Francisco, 28-0, the Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, 9-3, with three field goals by Greg Zuerlein.

 “It’s concerning,” offensive coordinator Rob Boras said when asked about the lack of touchdowns, “that’s our job.”

Keenum is at the helm of an offense that is averaging 234 yards and 4.5 points a game, which ranks last in the NFL in both categories.

But the Rams are 1-1 and in a four-way tie for first in the NFC West.

Asked if he felt that he bore the burden for the Rams’ lack of touchdowns, Keenum said “the burden for me” was winning.

 “If you were to tell me right now that we’re not going to score another touchdown but we’ll win every game, I’d be OK with that,” Keenum said. “I like throwing touchdowns. I like touchdowns. I love winning.”

Keenum, however, acknowledged that “we’ve got to score touchdowns to win in this league.”

Fisher concurred.

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“It’s very easily put that …  he team from the standpoint of the defense is going to need the offense at some point,” Fisher said. “They’re going to need the offense to score points.”

Against the Seahawks, the Rams at least put together a few drives that enabled the defense to rest.

Tackle Aaron Donald said defensive players were not frustrated by the offense’s inability to reach the end zone.

“You want them to score touchdowns, but it’s going to come,” he said. “They had a couple long drives that left us off the field and let us get that second wind that we needed and helped us a lot to close out the game.”

But offensive players are feeling the urgency to produce points other than field goals.

Tight end Lance Kendricks said Fisher’s pre-practice gathering of players in the end zone sent a message.

“He makes us stand in the end zone and he’s like, “See, this is a football. This is the end zone. This is where you’re supposed to be,’” Kendricks said. “So we kind of laugh at it, but I know he’s kind of serious.

“We’ve just got to finish drives.”

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Britt had a chance to score against the Seahawks.

The Rams had first and goal at the four-yard-line in the second quarter. Gurley was stopped for a four-yard loss on first down and a pass to Austin on second down lost two yards.

On third down, Britt got open in the end zone in front of Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, but  Keenum’s pass was short and fell incomplete.

“I’ve got to give him a chance to make that play,” Keenum said.

Britt said touchdowns would come.

“We know we’ve got to score points because we can’t win each and every game off field goals,” he said. “We got to help [the defense] out.

“If we get a lead or score 21 points a game, there’s really no one that can stop us with our defense.”

After getting shut out against the 49ers, Boras considered the offense’s performance against the Seahawks “a step in the right direction.”

But “bigger strides” are necessary, he said, starting with the game against the Buccaneers.

“They recognize that we’ve fallen short,” Boras said, “and we’re going to see what happens.”

Quick hits

rt: Receivers Pharoh Cooper (shoulder) and Nelson Spruce (knee), running back Benny Cunningham (knee), cornerback E.J. Gaines (thigh), cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (toe), safety Maurice Alexander (thigh. All were limited….  Safety T.J. McDonald, who was charged last week with a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of drugs, declined to comment about the situation. “It’s a legal matter so I really can’t talk about it,” he said….. Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin suffered a hamstring injury in last week’s defeat by the Arizona Cardinals. He did not practice Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined against the Rams.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesklein                            


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