Jeff Fisher isn’t going anywhere, signing two-year extension, and neither are Rams, who fall to 4-8
Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount is mobbed by teammates after scoring a touchdown on a 43-yard run against Eugene Sims and the Rams.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams defensive end Eugene Sims can’t prevent Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount from scoring on a long run during the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and Patriots receiver Julian Edelman butt heads after a play in the fourth quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks off the field with the most wins ever as a quarterback after defeating the Rams.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff is sacked by Patriots defenders during the fourth quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman makes an acrobatic catch against Rams safety Maurice Alexander in the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams receiver Bradley Marquez can’t make the catch as he’s hit by Patriots linebacker Shea McClellin during the fourth quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Todd Gurley picks up short yardage as he’s swarmed by Patriots defenders during the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff trips and falls as he tries to hand the ball to running back Todd Gurley (not pictured) during the second quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Todd Gurley tries to grab the ball after quarterback Jared Goff lost control of it as he fell during the exhange in the second quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady escapes the grasp of Rams defensive end Ethan Westbrooks during the second quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff escapes pressure from Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich during the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson tackles Patriots running back Dion Lewis during the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots runing back LeGarrette Blount has Rams safety Maurice Alexander turning the wrong direction during a 43-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff is sacked by Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan during the second quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gets a pass off in front of Rams defensive end Eugene Sims during the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams Coach Jeff Fisher watches his players warm up before their game against the Patriots.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was sitting on the team bus en route to Gillette Stadium when he heard the news.
“I actually saw that on Twitter,” he said.
Defensive end William Hayes was not surprised by the development.
“I kind of had an idea about it,” he said.
But most Rams players said they were unaware that Coach Jeff Fisher had received a contract extension until after Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the New England Patriots.
“It’s a damn good decision,” defensive end Eugene Sims said.
Rams fans, including Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, might disagree.
After his team’s seventh loss in eight games, Fisher confirmed that he’d signed a new deal. Neither he nor the Rams would reveal terms, but it is believed to be for two years.
“I am expecting to be the coach of the franchise,” Fisher said after a defeat that dropped the Rams’ record to 4-8.
The Rams also confirmed that General Manager Les Snead had received an extension. Terms were not released.
Fisher is in the final season of a five-year contract that pays him about $7 million a year. Sunday’s loss makes him 31-44-1 with the Rams, with four games remaining in the season.
Fisher has a record of 173-164-1 in 22 NFL seasons with the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and the Rams. He has had six winning seasons, including 13-3 in 1999 when the Titans lost to the Rams in the Super Bowl. The 164 losses are the second-most in NFL history, one fewer than Dan Reeves, who went 190-165-2 from 1981-2003.
Despite his record, Fisher was thought to be in line for an extension before the season for helping to oversee the Rams’ move from St. Louis to Los Angeles. But the Rams did not announce it before a season-opening loss to San Francisco or after their 3-1 start.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, citing unnamed sources, first tweeted news of the extension early Sunday morning and it was quickly confirmed by multiple outlets, including The Times.
Fisher said discussions about an extension started at the end of last season. He said he agreed to the deal “well before the season started” but was not aware of how it became public.
“Somehow it got out,” he said.
Fisher has maintained throughout the season that he does not “look over my shoulder” and that owner Stan Kroenke understood the challenges the franchise faced because of the relocation west and moves to temporary training sites in Oxnard, Irvine and Thousand Oaks.
“I was very appreciative with respect to Stan knowing what we were going through,” Fisher said Sunday.
News of Fisher’s extension came seven days after the New Orleans Saints humiliated the Rams, 49-21, and six days after Dickerson plunged Fisher and the Rams into a weeklong controversy because of a dust-up with the coach about sideline passes.
Dickerson has said he will never attend a Rams game as long as Fisher is the coach.
So that boycott appears as if it will extend at least into next season.
“I’ve got some work to do here to finish up strong,” Fisher said.
The loss to the Patriots guaranteed that the Rams will not have a winning season for the 13th year in a row. If they win their last four games, they will finish 8-8.
But that looks like a longshot after they once again failed to produce much offense.
On a sunny day that featured temperatures in the 30s, Tom Brady became the winningest quarterback in NFL history as the Patriots improved to 10-2. They outgained the Rams, 402-162, with 66 of the Rams’ yards coming on one play. The Rams converted only one of 12 third downs.
“You know,” Fisher said, “the elephant in the room is the offense.”
It no longer, apparently, is Fisher’s future.
Many Rams players took that as good news, including quarterback Jared Goff. The Rams traded six draft picks to move up 14 spots to select Goff with the No. 1 pick in the draft.
“It’s great,” said Goff, who passed for 161 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions. “Coach Fisher is the guy who obviously brought me in here. I’m excited for him and excited to continue playing for him.”
Said second-year running back Todd Gurley, who rushed for 38 yards in 11 carries: “He’s the coach that drafted me. I love him. I don’t care what anybody else says. He’s my coach.”
The players said the repeated failures and inconsistency were on them, not Fisher.
“He takes care of his guys,” Hayes said. “He does everything a player wants from his coach. He pushes us…. He’s a great leader. He’s an amazing coach.”
They also said that Fisher could eventually lead them to the playoffs.
“He’s been to the big dance,” Sims said. “He knows what it takes. We just have to do our part.”
That refrain was repeated over and over by players after the game.
“You can ask anybody in here — they really don’t want to play for anybody else but him,” middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said. “We’re definitely excited to have him back and continue to play for him.
“We get it turned around and we win games, there won’t be any question about who should be the head coach.”
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