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What we learned from the Rams’ 26-10 loss to the New England Patriots

The Rams have an odd way of handling contract extensions

The Rams’ seventh defeat in eight games was overshadowed by the news that Coach Jeff Fisher had received a contract extension.

Months ago.

Why the Rams thought it was better to keep that under wraps – and have it leak during the end of an already controversial week – is a mystery.

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Why not just announce it before the season? Or after the Rams started 3-1?

One thing is certain: Eric Dickerson won’t be roaming the sideline rooting on Fisher.

Jared Goff is improving with experience

Get past the numbers.

A week after passing for three touchdowns, with an interception and a fumble at New Orleans, Goff passed for a touchdown with two interceptions against the Patriots.

In his third start, the rookie completed 14 of 32 passes for 161 yards, 66 coming on a late pass to Kenny Britt that set up a short touchdown pass to Britt.

Both interceptions on Sunday resulted from another player’s miscue: one bounced off the hands of tight end Lance Kendricks and the other came after a Patriots pass rusher hit Goff’s arm as he was throwing the ball.

Britt and other receivers also dropped multiple passes in the 30-degree weather.

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Despite those setbacks, and a confusing Bill Belichick scheme, Goff looked like he was going through progressions. And his experience playing against the Patriots should serve him well this week against a more generous Atlanta Falcons defense.

Through three quarters of the season, Todd Gurley remains in search of a 100-yard performance

Running back Todd Gurley gained only 38 yards in 11 carries. His longest run covered nine yards.

The 2015 NFL offensive rookie of the year has not rushed for 100 yards in a game since Dec. 13, 2015, when he ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns in 16 carries against the Detroit Lions.

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Gurley, who rushed for at least 128 yards in each of his first four NFL starts, has had only 100-yard game in his last 20.

Cold weather doesn’t bother Johnny Hekker

The Rams’ punter had another good game, averaging 53.8 yards per kick, and putting five of eight inside the 20.

One kick traveled 76 yards.

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The coverage unit was also outstanding: The Patriots’ Danny Amendola averaged only 1.5 yards for four returns.

The Rams’ fourth-down defense needs work

Full disclosure: This item was in an original draft for last week’s “what we learned” follow-up story about the Rams’ 49-21 loss to the Saints.

It was deleted from the final copy because, in light of the Rams giving up 555 yards – most on first, second and third downs -- I thought it might be a reach.

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Not now.

Remember, the Saints scored two touchdowns in one quarter on fourth-down plays. Running back Mark Ingram scored on fourth and one from the 10-yard line. And quarterback Drew Brees jumped and extended the ball over the goal line on fourth and goal.

On the Patriots’ first possession, Tom Brady and Co. faced a fourth and one at the Rams’ 43. Running back LeGarrette Blount took a hand-off toward the right side, bounced outside and ran to the end zone for touchdown.

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