The Sports Report: Rams win, Chargers lose
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. It was good news, bad news for the local NFL teams, so we’ll start with the good news.
In a rematch of the NFC championship games, the Rams defeated the New Orleans Saints, 27-9, in a victory so convincing that Saints fans won’t be able to whine about missed calls.
OK, maybe one. The Rams got a break when an apparent 87-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan was at first ruled an incomplete pass. Upon review, it was ruled a fumble. But because officials had whistled the play dead, the ball was spotted at the Saints’ 13-yard line.
For the game, Jared Goff passed and ran for a touchdown, Todd Gurley ran for another and Greg Zuerlein kicked two field goals as the Rams improved to 2-0. The victory was made easier when Saints quarterback Drew Brees had to leave the game in the first quarter when he injured his right hand.
Gurley rushed for 63 yards in 16 carries. Malcolm Brown rushed for 37 yards in six carries.
Receiver Cooper Kupp caught five passes for 120 yards, including one 66-yard play during which he broke five tackles. Receiver Brandin Cooks caught three passes for 74 yards, including one for 57 yards and another for a two-yard touchdown.
With Brees on the sideline, the Rams limited the Saints to 244 yards. They neutralized dual-threat running back Alvin Kamara and limited star receiver Michael Thomas to only 89 yards on 10 catches.
“Our defense was outstanding from the jump,” said Rams coach Sean McVay.
“Hell of a day, hell of a day for them,” Goff said of the defense, adding, “When they do that, it makes our job easy.”
All times Pacific. Radio: 710 ESPN, 93.1 JACK FM
Rams 30, at Carolina 27
at Rams 27, New Orleans 9
Sunday at Cleveland, 5:15 p.m., NBC
Sept. 29 vs. Tampa Bay, 1 p.m., Fox
Oct. 3 at Seattle, 5:15 p.m., Fox, NFL Network
Oct. 13 vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m., Fox
Oct. 20 at Atlanta, 10 a.m., Fox
Oct. 27 vs. Cincinnati, 10 a.m., CBS (in London, counts as home game for Rams)
Nov. 10 at Pittsburgh, 1:15 p.m., Fox
Nov. 17 vs. Chicago, 5:15 p.m., NBC
Nov. 25 vs. Baltimore, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Dec. 1 at Arizona, 1 p.m., Fox
Dec. 8 vs. Seattle, 5:15 p.m., NBC
Dec. 15 at Dallas, 1:15 p.m., Fox
Dec. 22 or 23 at San Francisco, TBD
Dec. 29 vs. Arizona, 1:15 p.m., Fox
The Chargers weren’t as fortunate as the Rams, as they were plagued by turnovers in a 13-10 loss to the Lions in Detroit.
Among the miscues: Touchdown-robbing penalties, two turnovers at the goal line, multiple dropped passes and a pair of crushing wayward kicks.
“Detroit’s a good football team, but they damn sure didn’t need our help,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “We made way too many mistakes today to beat anybody. That’s what this game boiled down to — mistake after mistake.”
Even with so many things going wrong they still had a chance in win or tie in the final two minutes. But quarterback Philip Rivers threw into double coverage trying to hit wide receiver Keenan Allen and Lions cornerback Darius Slay intercepted the ball in the end zone.
“In hindsight, I want that one back,” Rivers said. “I didn’t feel I was being careless. … I didn’t throw it in a desperation mindset, although it may have looked that way.”
All times Pacific. Radio: KFI-AM 640, KFWB-AM 980
at Chargers 30, Indianapolis 24 (OT)
at Detroit 13, Chargers 10
Sunday vs. Houston, 1:15 p.m., CBS
Sept. 29 at Miami, 10 a.m., CBS
Oct. 6 vs. Denver, 1 p.m., CBS
Oct. 13 vs. Pittsburgh, 5:15 p.m., NBC
Oct. 20 at Tennessee, 1 p.m., CBS
Oct. 27 at Chicago, 10 a.m., Fox
Nov. 3 vs. Green Bay, 1:15 p.m., CBS
Nov. 10 at Oakland, 5:15 p.m., Fox, NFL Network
Nov. 18 vs. Kansas City, 5:15 p.m., ESPN (at Mexico City, counts as home game for Chargers)
Dec. 1 at Denver, 1:15 p.m., CBS
Dec. 8 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Fox
Dec. 15 vs. Minnesota, 5:15 p.m., NBC
Dec. 22 or 23 vs. Oakland, TBD
Dec. 29 at Kansas City, 10 a.m., CBS
Thenow has a name: SoFi Stadium.
LA Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park has partnered in a 20-year agreement that gives the digital personal finance company the exclusive naming rights for the future home of the Rams and Chargers, the teams announced Sunday. The deal is the official culmination of negotiations. Financial terms of the naming-rights deal were not disclosed.
The stadium, which is scheduled to open next summer and being developed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke,in 2022, the college football national championship game in 2023, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in 2028. It will have a seating capacity of about 70,000, expandable to 100,000.
SUNDAY’S NFL SCORES
at Rams 27, New Orleans 9
at Detroit 13, Chargers 10
San Francisco 41, at Cincinnati 17
at Green Bay 21, Minnesota 16
Indianapolis 19, at Tennessee 17
New England 43, at Miami 0
Buffalo 28, at NY Giants 14
Seattle 28, at Pittsburgh 26
Dallas 31, at Washington 21
at Baltimore 23, Arizona 17
at Houston 13, Jacksonville 12
Kansas City 28, at Oakland 10
Chicago 16, at Denver 14
at Atlanta 24, Philadelphia 20
Cleveland at NY Jets, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
After each of the first two games of his first season as USC’s offensive coordinator, Graham Harrell stood in front of reporters gathered in the Coliseum tunnel, ready and willing to answer any question.
But after Saturday’s 30-27 loss to BYU, Harrell was absent.
That left coach Clay Helton to answer for USC’s questionable play selection, a subject on which many USC fans are still sensitive when it comes to the Trojans head coach.
“I thought Graham called a good game,” Helton said. “You could always go hindsight after the game. But I thought Graham for what everyone said is Air Raid, did a wonderful job staying disciplined while the defense is dropping eight.”
As the Trojans got the ball back in overtime, down a field goal, running back Vavae Malepeai lost a yard on first down. On the next play, Malepeai took the handoff again, this time, rushing for five.
The decision to run on those first two downs was roundly questioned after the game, considering the result of the next play, as Kedon Slovis’ pass was tipped, then taken away by a game-ending interception.
But Helton defended those decisions.
“Graham called the plays based on what he felt was going on in the game,” he said. “We felt like we were running the ball pretty good. We end up getting the first-down run, where we actually had a little bit of a hole and just missed it. We’re sitting there, 2nd and 10, 2nd and 11, and I thought it was a good call by Graham to get 3rd and manageable. … That gave us a good opportunity to have a 3rd and manageable rather than a possible 3rd and long, to keep us in great field goal range. He called a third-down spacing play that we did have, if you go through the read correctly, there is a man open.”
USC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
All times Pacific. Radio: 790 KABC
at USC 31, Fresno State 23
at USC 45, Stanford 20
at BYU 30, USC 27 (OT)
Friday vs. Utah, 6 p.m., FS1
Sept. 28 at Washington, TBD
Oct. 12 at Notre Dame, 4:30 p.m. NBC
Oct. 19 vs. Arizona, TBD
Oct. 25 at Colorado, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Nov. 2 vs. Oregon, TBD
Nov. 9 at Arizona State, TBD
Nov. 16 at California, TBD
Nov. 23 vs. UCLA, TBD
Joshua Kelley was returning, Kazmeir Allen was rocketing, Martell Irby was rising, Demetric Felton was revamping, Keegan Jones and Jahmon McClendon were reporting.
One position the Bruins appeared stocked at heading into fall camp was running back.
But their 78 yards rushing per game ranks No. 124 nationally and evokes memories of the team’s running-in-place 2016 season under former offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu.
UCLA’s 110 yards rushing Saturday during its 48-14 loss to Oklahoma at the Rose Bowl were easily its highest total of the season but not nearly enough to make the game competitive or alleviate pressure on quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Felton gained a team-high 65 yards in only five carries, but 42 of those yards came on one run. Take that away and he was a nonfactor. Kelley had 51 yards in 18 carries, averaging just 2.8 yards per attempt.
“Me and Josh do the best we can,” said Felton, who is averaging 54.7 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry, “and we would love to have Martell and Kaz out there because they bring something different as well, but that’s not my call, really. It’s up to coach [Chip] Kelly.”
UCLA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
All times Pacific. Radio: AM 1150
at Cincinnati 24, UCLA 14
San Diego State 23, at UCLA 14
Oklahoma 48. at UCLA 14
Saturday at Washington State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Sept. 28 at Arizona, TBD
Oct. 5 vs. Oregon State, TBD
Oct. 17 at Stanford, 6 p.m., ESPN
Oct. 26 vs. Arizona State, TBD
Nov. 2 vs. Colorado, TBD
Nov. 16 at Utah, TBD
Nov. 23 at USC, TBD
Nov. 30 vs. California, TBD
The Angels announced Sunday that Mike Trout will undergo season-ending right foot surgery this week to address Morton’s neuroma, a condition that causes pain in the ball of the foot.
“I’ve been dealing with it for like the last month, and it progressively got worse,” said Trout, who last played Sept. 7. “That’s what I said when they made the decision to just get it out. I was just tired of having to deal with it, having to come in and worry about my foot.”
Trout, 28, finishes the year hitting .291 and leads the American League in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (1.083), home runs (a career-high 45) and wins above replacement (8.6, according to Fangraphs). He is still a front-runner for his third career American League MVP award.
“I felt like I was having my best season,” Trout said. “I was trying so hard to get back out there, but my foot wasn’t letting me.”
It wasn’t a walk-off victory, but it felt like it when Jedd Gyorko‘s base hit in the top of the ninth scored the go-ahead run in a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets.
Chelsea Gray had 21 points and eight assists, Candace Parker added 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and the Sparks advanced to the WNBA semifinals with a 92-69 win over the Seattle Storm at Staples Center on Sunday.
The third-seeded Sparks will play the second-seeded Connecticut Sun, which earned a double-bye to the semifinals. The best-of-five series begins Tuesday in Connecticut. The WNBA said that they will pay for charter flights for the winners of the second round games to fly east so that the teams can have a full day to prepare for the first game of the semifinals.
“We’re fortunate enough to now get into Connecticut tonight as opposed to tomorrow,” Sparks coach Derek Fisher said. “So, hopefully that will help us.
“We know [the Sun] are good at home. We know the crowd is going to be into it but we are going to have to lean on our defense.”
SPARKS PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
All times Pacific. All games on ESPN2
Game 1: Tuesday at Connecticut, 3:30 p.m.
Game 2: Thursday at Connecticut, 3:30 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday at Sparks (at Long Beach State), TBD
Game 4*: Sept. 24 at Sparks, TBD
Game 5*: Sept. 26 at Connecticut, TBD
Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a hat trick and broke the Galaxy’s season goal record with 26 in a 7-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City.
The 37-year-old Swedish star tied it at 1 in 32nd minute to match the goal record set by Carlos Ruiz in 2002, then gave the Galaxy (14-13-3) a 3-1 lead in the 51st to break the mark and completed the hat trick in the 85th.
The Galaxy ended a four-match winless streak to move into fifth place in the Western Conference, a point ahead of San Jose and two in front of Portland.
Joaquin Niemann became the first player from Chile to win on the PGA Tour, shooting a six-under 64 for a six-stroke victory in A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.
Niemann birdied the final three holes to finish at 21-under 259 at Old White TPC.
It marks the first year since 1931 that there has been more than one tour winner under 21. Matthew Wolff won the 3M Open in June at 20 years, 2 months.
TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE
All times Pacific
No games scheduled
BORN ON THIS DATE
1934: Former Laker Elgin Baylor
1942: Sailor Dennis Conner
1947: Former UCLA/Laker Lucius Allen
1948: Tennis player Rosemary Casals
1953: Golfer Jerry Pate
1955: Baseball player Robin Yount
1958: Former Dodger Orel Hershiser
1959: Baseball player Tim Raines
1969: NFL player Chester McGlockton
DIED ON THIS DATE
1993: Poll player Willie Mosconi, 80
2015: Hockey player Bob Cleary, 79
Elgin Baylor‘s career highlights. Watch it here.
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