What we learned from the Rams’ 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins

The Times’ Sam Farmer and Lindsey Thiry discuss the Rams’ 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins -- and reasons to be optimistic that first-year coach Sean McVay can turn the team into a winner. 

What we learned in the Rams’ 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins:

The Rams need work on their run defense

Washington rushed for 229 yards, with three backs gaining at least 67 yards.

The Rams appeared especially vulnerable on the left side


Linebacker Alec Ogletree said the Rams made mistakes and did not play physical enough to stop the run.

They only have a few days to fix things before playing the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.

Jared Goff remains a work in progress

The Rams quarterback made several outstanding plays after he was flushed from the pocket.


His 69-yard pass to rookie tight end Gerald Everett was one.

Goff got an opportunity for his first NFL fourth-quarter comeback victory, but it went awry when his pass was intercepted by Washington linebacker Mason Foster.

Todd Gurley is starting to look like the Todd Gurley we heard about

The third-year running back rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown, and caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Gurley hurdled a player while running to his right on a rushing play.

Later, he electrified the Coliseum when he caught a pass in the left side, and then hurdled a defender before stretching for the end zone pylon to complete and 18-yard scoring play.

Perhaps Gurley’s first 100-yard rushing effort since 2015 will be next.

The optics of the Coliseum crowd shots could become problematic


The Rams announced that they had distributed 56,612 tickets.

There were probably closer to 50,000 in the building.

That’s not terrible. But in the context of a 90,000-seat stadium, it does not look great on television.

After routing the Indianapolis Colts in the opener with an entertaining offense and defense, the Rams were unable to draw a larger crowd for the Redskins.

Aaron Donald is in great shape but not game shape

The star defensive lineman showed it is possible to play with only one week of practice.

Coaches and trainers, however, limited his series, and Donald said afterward that he needed to play better.

Donald did fine. He just needs more time to be comfortable.


Penalties are costly against good opponents

In their rout of the Colts, the Rams committed seven penalties for 50 yards.

No big deal: The Colts were incapable of making the Rams pay for their mistakes.

The Rams committed seven penalties for 75 yards against Washington.

Several sabotaged a fourth-quarter drive and might have been the difference between the Rams possibly scoring a go-ahead touchdown or settling for a tying field goal.

Johnny Hekker is still a two-way weapon

Punter Hekker, with the ink on last week’s contract extension still drying, had several more outstanding kicks.

But his biggest play was a pass completed to rookie receiver Josh Reynolds.

The 28-yard gain gave the Rams a first down at Washington’s 17-yard-line.

It was Hekker’s eighth career completion.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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