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Rams’ loss to Dolphins takes some of the fun out of their week off

Rams quarterback Jared Goff hands the ball to running back Cam Akers.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff hands the ball off to running back Cam Akers against the Dolphins on Sunday. Goff had a rough day, and the Rams lost 28-17.
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

With their season at its midpoint, the Rams began their week off Monday, which typically would allow coach Sean McVay to relax a bit.

Not this season. Not after the Miami Dolphins embarrassed the Rams and dropped their record to 5-3.

“It would be a lot more enjoyable bye, and I’d be in a lot better mood ... in being able to kind of feel better about decompressing a little bit had we taken care of business and gotten to 6-2, [rather] than having this pit in my stomach at 5-3,” McVay said during a videoconference with reporters.

The 28-17 loss in Miami was a low point for a Rams team that must regroup before playing a much more challenging second-half schedule that begins Nov. 15 against the Seattle Seahawks.

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The Rams defeated only one team that finished the first half of the season with a winning record — the Chicago Bears (5-3). In the second half, the Rams play games out of the division against the New England Patriots (2-5), New York Jets (0-8) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2). They face the Seahawks (6-1) and Arizona Cardinals (5-2) twice and the San Francisco 49ers (4-4) once in NFC West games.

The Dolphins’ defensive game plan Sunday was similar to one the Patriots used to stop the Rams in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Of course, these Miami coaches came from that New England staff.

The Rams met Monday, will be off Tuesday and could meet again Wednesday before players are given the rest of the week off. Because of COVID-19 protocols, players are required to be tested daily during the week off.

Rams players said they would use the time to rest and assess what they must do moving forward.

“We get some time to reflect, get away from it, come back,” said quarterback Jared Goff, who had two passes intercepted and lost two fumbles against the Dolphins, after the game. “We’re 5-3. We’re right in it. We got to win some games, though, and there’s going to be some gritty games coming up, and we’ll be ready.”

Said wide receiver Robert Woods: “It allows us to stay humble and keep our head down and keep working.”

In evaluating his team’s performance in the first half of the season, McVay said the defense was playing at “a pretty high level” consistently.

The offense?

“It’s been up and down,” he said, adding, “Overall, I’d say not consistent enough for the standards that we have.”

Goff has passed for 13 touchdowns with six interceptions. His 94.6 passer rating ranks 18th in the NFL.

“In a lot of instances, he’s done some really good stuff,” McVay said. “But, you know, some of the tougher plays that we had [Sunday] were really tough. And those are things that we’ve got to improve on, and I think he’ll be the first to tell you that — that he has to be better and he will be. ...

“Overall, there’s been some good and there’s been some things I expect him to be better with … but you expect in some of those situations and circumstances, I trust, that we’ll see growth.”

The Rams’ special teams had been improving until Sunday, McVay said. The Dolphins returned a punt for a touchdown, and Rams kicker Kai Forbath missed badly on a 48-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter.

“We took a step in the wrong direction,” McVay said of special teams.

The San Francisco 49ers will have to take on the Green Bay Packers without Jimmy Garoppolo while Tampa Bay and Arizona offer intriguing QB matchups.

Kicker Austin MacGinnis is on the practice squad, but McVay said Forbath would remain the starter.

“You want to still demonstrate a little bit of a patience, understanding that one kick, you know, that was big — you know it didn’t help us [Sunday] — but I think you want to give a guy a chance to continue to compete and evaluate it,” McVay said, adding, “We’ll continue to evaluate both of those guys and Kai will remain in that role right now.”

Etc.


The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, but McVay said he did not “expect anything in the next day or so.” ... Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who did not play Sunday because of what the Rams announced as an illness, was at the team facility Monday and was “feeling better,” McVay said. Running back Darrell Henderson left the game because of a quadriceps injury. McVay said he did not expect Henderson’s injury “to linger into Seattle” preparation. ... Sunday’s game marked the first time this season that the Rams played in front of fans. Attendance at Hard Rock Stadium was 12,397. “It was great,” McVay said. “I think to be able to have some noise — I liked that noise. It was a positive, but, unfortunately, the overall feeling and result was not positive.”


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