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Rams takeaways: Big plays were nemesis in loss to Ravens

Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) runs after a catch against the Rams.
Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers had six key catches, including a 21-yarder for a touchdown.
(Daniel Kucin Jr. / Associated Press)
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The Rams lost to the Baltimore Ravens 37-31 on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

What we learned from a defeat that dropped the Rams’ record to 6-7:

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The Rams gave up too many explosive plays

 Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) catches the ball against Rams safety Russ Yeast (2).
Former Ram Odell Beckham Jr. made four catches for the Baltimore Ravens, this one against Rams safety Russ Yeast (2).
(Terrance Williams / Associated Press)

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In 2021, star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. joined the Rams near the trade deadline and helped them win a Super Bowl title. The Ravens signed him before this season as an enticement to quarterback Lamar Jackson, who was negotiating a new contract.

On Sunday, Beckham caught four passes for 97 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown.

Earlier in the game, the Rams gave up a 56-yard touchdown pass to tight end Isaiah Likely.

“It was a fast motion play for me, and I didn’t really see anyone coming in motion with me,” Likely said. “So, I raised my hand, and I was like, ‘Throw it to me. Throw it to me.’ [Jackson] saw me and I said, ‘I’ve got to score on this one.’ ”

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Running back Kyren Williams is a fast starter

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford hands the ball Kyren Williams.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford hands the ball Kyren Williams, who surpassed 100 yards rushing against the Ravens.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Coach Sean McVay called Williams’ number six times in the Rams first nine plays, all runs.

“We had to insert our dominance at the line of scrimmage,” said Williams, who rushed for 114 yards in 25 carries. “We had to show them boys over there that we’re going to run the ball when we want to run the ball. You’re not going to dictate what we do.”

It was the fourth time this season that Williams rushed for more than 100 yards.

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Rookie tight end Davis Allen stepped up

Rams tight end Davis Allen (87) leaps over Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith after making a catch.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

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With Tyler Higbee sidelined because of a neck injury, Allen and Hunter Long filled his role. Long started but suffered a leg injury and was carted from the field in the second quarter.

Allen caught four passes for 50 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown. Allen helped set up the touchdown with a 19-yard reception on a third-and-16 play.

In overtime, however, Allen dropped a third-down pass that preceded Tylan Wallace’s winning punt return.

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Quarterback Matthew Stafford remained efficient

Stafford passed for three touchdowns, giving him 10 touchdown passes, with only one interception, in the last three games.

Stafford completed 23 of 41 passes for 294 yards. Two passes were dropped and Stafford threw away several balls to avoid sacks.

Stafford has passed for 19 touchdowns, with nine interceptions.

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Receiver Cooper Kupp looked more like himself

Kupp, playing through injuries all season, caught eight passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.

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It was the second game in a row that Kupp scored a touchdown, and the first time in seven games Kupp had more than 48 yards receiving.

Kupp had not had a 100-yard receiving performance since Oct. 15, when he had 148 yards against the Arizona Cardinals.

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Kicker Lucas Havrisik came through

Havrisik had a tumultuous week. At least from the outside. The Rams signed veteran Mason Crosby to the practice squad, ostensibly jeopardizing Havrisik’s position.

The Rams elevated Crosby to the roster Saturday, but he was inactive against the Ravens.

Havrisik kicked three field goals, including one from 51 yards and one from 36 yards that sent the game into overtime.

McVay said Havrisik played because of how he performed during the week at practice. Crosby was elevated to the roster to make good on a commitment that was made when he signed, McVay said.

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Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon made plays

Witherspoon intercepted a pass in the second quarter, setting up Stafford’s touchdown pass to Allen.

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Witherspoon, who signed a veteran-minimum contract before the season, has a team-best three interceptions.

The surging Rams took the AFC powerhouse Ravens to OT before an unknown punt returner ran 76 yards for the deciding score, a setback to Rams’ playoff hopes.

Dec. 10, 2023

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