Jordan Fuller’s ankle injury ends safety’s season, and more Rams are hurt
The Rams might be hobbling into the playoffs, and not just because they wasted an opportunity by losing their regular-season finale.
Safety Jordan Fuller will be sidelined the rest of the season because of an ankle injury suffered during the Rams’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers, coach Sean McVay said Monday.
Fuller was not the only Rams player injured in the 27-24 overtime defeat Sunday at SoFi Stadium that dropped the Rams from the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs to No. 4.
Matthew Stafford played through a toe injury, McVay said, but the quarterback will play against the No. 5-seeded Arizona Cardinals in a wild-card game next Monday night at SoFi Stadium.
“He came in, he felt good” Monday, McVay said during a videoconference with reporters. “He was just typically sore.”
Fuller, a captain and the defensive signal-caller, was injured early in the fourth quarter against the 49ers. He is the team’s leading tackler and had a key interception in the Rams’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 2.
Seven things we learned from the Rams’ 27-24 overtime loss to the 49ers on Sunday: No. 1, they weren’t aggressive or tough enough in the second half.
“That’s a big loss for us,” McVay said.
Other defensive backs also suffered injuries. Cornerback Darious Williams is being evaluated for a shoulder injury, McVay said, and safety Taylor Rapp is in the concussion protocol.
With Fuller out and Rapp in the concussion protocol, safeties Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess could play in their places.
Linebacker Leonard Floyd suffered a back strain and wide receiver Van Jefferson is nursing a shoulder issue, McVay said, but they are expected to play against the Cardinals in the third game this season between the teams.
Despite those setbacks, the Rams ostensibly got stronger with Sunday’s return of running back Cam Akers, who suffered an Achilles injury in July.
Akers played 13 snaps against the 49ers. He rushed for three yards in five carries and caught three passes for 10 yards.
Not big production, but it was a first step.
The Rams’ inability to beat the San Francisco 49ers shows why Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay don’t have what it takes to reach the Super Bowl.
“With the amount of touches he had in the space that he had, I thought it was really limited in what he could really do,” McVay said. “But I think that’s going to be big for him just getting out there playing tackle football. … I think you’re going to see him feel a little bit more comfortable next week.”
The Rams’ loss to San Francisco left them with a 12-5 record. They won the NFC West because the Cardinals fell 38-30 to the visiting Seattle Seahawks on Sunday to finish 11-6.
McVay focused on the positive.
“What I don’t want to get lost is the totality of a 17-game body of work,” he said of his team, adding that three NFC West teams, including the 49ers, made the playoffs.
“Really proud of this group, proud of their resilience, and I’m looking forward to responding with these guys the right way.”
After a thrilling Week 18 of the NFL season, the playoffs are set. Here’s a breakdown of each first-round matchup and what to watch for next weekend.
Rams players went over the 49ers loss Monday and have moved on, offensive lineman Rob Havenstein said.
“You don’t ride the roller coaster of confidence, emotions, anything like that,” he said. “You don’t go up and down. You stay steady, so you take your whole 17-game season and pick out the good stuff, take the bad stuff and correct it.”
The Rams are in the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons under McVay.
In 2017, the Rams did not play starters in their last regular-season game and lost to the 49ers. Then they lost to the Atlanta Falcons in a wild-card game at the Coliseum.
The next season, they won their season finale against San Francisco and made a run to the Super Bowl, in which they lost to the New England Patriots.
The Rams lose to the rival 49ers 27-24 in overtime Sunday. San Francisco secured the win at SoFi Stadium by intercepting a pass from Matthew Stafford.
Last season, they beat Arizona in the season finale and advanced to the divisional round before losing to the Green Bay Packers.
“Going into the playoffs winning or losing really hasn’t been much of a factor on how teams do, depending upon whichever lens you want to look at it through,” McVay said. “So, we’re going to say it doesn’t mean s---.”
With several NFL teams in search of new coaches, McVay confirmed that members of his staff have been contacted. He declined to identify which coaches. … McVay said he was surprised by the large number of 49ers fans at SoFi Stadium, which made it difficult for Rams players to communicate. “It did catch us off guard just because of the way that it’s been this year. … Great atmospheres, great environments. Yesterday was the same thing, but there was a lot of red there. And that was definitely, it was a surprise, I think, is a fair way to put it.”
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