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Rams believe they’ll rebound against Giants from last week’s emotional loss to Bills

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald tries to break through the Dallas Cowboys' offensive line.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, shown in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, played a big role in the Rams’ second-half rally against the Buffalo Bills last week.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

As his winless team prepared for Sunday’s game against the Rams, first-year New York Giants coach Joe Judge apparently engaged in opposition research that went beyond the last few seasons.

The Rams won NFL titles in 1945 playing in Cleveland, in 1951 playing in Los Angeles and 1999 playing in St. Louis.

“Obviously, the only team in NFL history to win three world championships in three different cities,” Judge told reporters this week.

It’s too early in the season to ascertain whether the Rams are a true Super Bowl contender.

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But they are a 2-1 team playing with confidence going into their game against the 0-3 Giants at SoFi Stadium.

New England quarterback Cam Newton reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus, and the Patriots’ game versus the Chiefs will not be played Sunday.

Victories over the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles gave the Rams momentum. And their historic comeback from a 25-point deficit on the road against the Buffalo Bills mitigated the disappointment of losing that game in the final seconds.

So quarterback Jared Goff is not concerned about the Rams’ ability to respond after an emotional defeat.

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“We’ve always been really good at moving on and getting on to the next game, whoever it may be,” said Goff, who is off to a solid start in his fifth NFL season.

The Giants do not appear to pose much of a threat.

They lost their opener to the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-16. During a 17-13 defeat by the Chicago Bears, they suffered an even bigger loss when star running back Saquon Barkley went down with a season-ending knee injury. Last Sunday, the Giants did not score a touchdown in a 36-9 rout by the San Francisco 49ers.

The Giants rank last in the league in total offense and rushing. They are next-to-last in scoring.

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But Rams players said this week there could be no letdown because all teams in the talent-rich NFL are capable of making plays.

“The way we respect our opponents and respect the game is by going out there and being on our ‘A’ game regardless of who the opponent is,” cornerback Jalen Ramsey said.

The Rams are aiming to avoid another game that requires a comeback.

Last Sunday, the Rams spotted the unbeaten Bills a 28-3 third-quarter lead before the offense and defense stepped up.

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With two games already postponed because of positive coronavirus tests, the NFL could benefit from expanding the season to an 18th week.

The offensive line created holes for running backs Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown, and the Rams finished with 167 yards rushing. Goff moved deftly in the pocket and completed several key passes.

Star tackle Aaron Donald created a turnover with one of his two sacks, and others fed off his performance.

Edge rusher Leonard Floyd, who has two sacks, said that when a defense puts together a series of stops, collective confidence grows.

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“Everybody starts getting rowdy and stuff, and then it’s just a feeling,” he said, adding. “You can just go out the next series and, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re going to get another three and out.’”

The Rams, however, could not hold off Bills quarterback Josh Allen in the final minutes. The Rams allowed Allen to complete a third-and-22 pass for a first down. Later in the drive, a pass-interference penalty against cornerback Darious Williams on a fourth-and-eight play from the 13-yard-line gave the Bills a chance to win the game.

“It was one of those two minutes that we’ll never forget, for sure,” defensive coordinator Brandon Staley said.

The Rams mostly contained Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz before Allen accounted for five touchdowns for the Bills.

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Now the Rams face Daniel Jones, another big, mobile quarterback.

Jones has passed for two touchdowns, with four interceptions. He is also the Giants’ rushing leader with 92 yards. In the loss to the 49ers, Jones rushed for 49 yards on five carries, including runs of 23 and 19 yards.

The key for the Rams defense in any game is to play consistently well through all four quarters, Donald said.

“That’s all it comes down to,” he said.


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