Rams drop the ball again on offense

After three weeks of progress, rookie quarterback Jared Goff struggled in the Rams’ 42-14 loss to the Falcons. 

Rams receivers continued to drop passes Sunday in the Rams’ 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the Coliseum.

The problem has plagued the Rams all season.

The Rams dropped four passes in the first half. On their first possession, a pass from rookie quarterback Jared Goff bounced off Kenny Britt’s chest and was intercepted.

“We have to finish strong, we can’t have drops,” said Britt, who caught seven passes for 82 yards. “We’ve got to help our young quarterback out.”


After sitting out last week against the New England Patriots because of a chest injury, Tavon Austin returned Sunday.

Austin accounted for 163 all-purpose yards. He caught seven passes for 62 yards, had two carries for 27 yards and also returned seven punts for 74 yards.

Cunningham missed

Kickoff return man and reserve running back Benny Cunningham was sidelined because of a neck injury, and the Rams felt his absence in both areas.


Rookie  Mike Thomas muffed the opening kickoff four yards deep in the end zone, and Atlanta’s Paul Worrilow recovered the loose ball  at the three-yard line. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan hit Justin Hardy with a touchdown pass on the next play for a 7-0 lead.

Thomas fielded a third-quarter kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and made it only to the 13-yard line, giving the Rams poor field possession on their first possession of the second half. His one positive contribution was a 40-yard kickoff return later in the third quarter.

Backup running back Malcolm Brown was stripped of the ball while being gang-tackled near midfield in the third quarter, a fumble the Falcons recovered and turned into a touchdown (Tevin Coleman’s six-yard run) for a 35-0 lead.

“You know, I think Benny might be second or third in the league in kickoff returns — he makes really good decisions and has great ball skills,” Coach Jeff Fisher said. “Malcolm is usually pretty solid about not putting the ball on the ground … so credit them; they ripped it out.”

Hard knocks

Both teams lost players to possible concussions in the third quarter when Falcons receiver Nick Williams, who was activated from the practice squad Friday, caught a 10-yard pass over the middle and was flattened by safety Maurice Alexander at the Rams’ six.

Alexander launched his helmet into Williams’ helmet on the play, and both players crumpled to the ground, where Alexander remained for several minutes. Alexander eventually stood up before being carted off the field, waving to fans as he entered the tunnel. Both he and Williams were evaluated for concussions.

“It’s a scary moment, especially when it’s one of your teammates,” Rams middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said. 


“You don’t want to see a guy out there on the field go down, and he can’t get up. But he was able to get up and get on the cart, and I think he’ll be fine. He’ll get some rest, and hopefully we’ll get him back.”


Defensive end Robert Quinn and tight end Cory Harkey were among the Rams’ inactive players.

Quinn had been in concussion protocol after the Rams’ Nov. 27 game at New Orleans. He sat out against New England but practiced this week and was thought to be on track to play.

Harkey practiced all week. He suffered a shoulder injury lifting weights Friday after practice, felt fine Saturday but was examined Sunday and deemed unable to play, a Rams spokesman said.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @LATimesklein


Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna

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