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Newsletter: The Sports Report: Rams win, Chargers lose

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Jared Goff breaks free from defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi in the second quarter.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Sorry I missed the last couple of days. Asthma is no fun, and that UCLA game didn’t help it any!

RAMS

Backed up to its four-yard line in the final minute, the Rams defense needed four stops to keep the Cleveland Browns from possibly tying the score.

“Four stops,” Rams safety John Johnson said. “That’s the only thing on our mind.

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“One at time—boom, boom, boom, boom. Let’s get off the field and go home.”

The Rams made plays on every down of the decisive series, finishing another outstanding performance and leading the Rams to a 20-13 victory.

Johnson’s interception of Baker Mayfield’s pass into the end zone sealed a victory that improved the Rams’ record to 3-0.

“We’re right where we wanted to be,” linebacker Cory Littleton said.

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For the second week in a row, the defense came up big and made up for an offense that continues to start games slowly.

“I’ve got to do a much better job for us offensively, getting us in a positon and finding a rhythm early on,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “That sole responsibility lies with me.

“But we’ll take the win however we can get it.”

Quarterback Jared Goff connected with receiver Cooper Kupp for two touchdowns and Greg Zuerlein kicked two field goals. Goff completed 24 of 38 passes for 269 yards, with two interceptions, against a Browns defense that was without every member of its starting secondary because of injuries.

Read more

Sam Farmer: Aaron Donald proves to be an unstoppable force against the Browns’ offensive line

‘Sunday Night Football’ introduces new sky-cam methods during Rams-Browns game

RAMS SCHEDULE

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All times Pacific. Radio: 710 ESPN, 93.1 JACK FM

Rams 30, at Carolina 27

at Rams 27, New Orleans 9

Rams 20, at Cleveland 13

Sunday 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

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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

CHARGERS

The Chargers lost to Houston, 27-20, when after they blew a 10-point halftime lead, lost two potential game-altering plays to penalties and simply couldn’t lock their arms around quarterback Deshaun Watson.

“We’re not the type of team that gets in those situations and folds,” safety Rayshawn Jenkins said. “I expect us to come out on top in those situations. It’s disappointing to have a result like that.”

“We can’t allow certain things to keep happening,” linebacker Thomas Davis said. “We just gotta be better. We just gotta execute better.”

“We have to figure out a way to finish,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “Hell, when we’re up by 10, I’m almost nervous. When we’re down, I’m OK because I know what these men are going to do.”

The Chargers were up 17-7 entering the third quarter Sunday and then everything went sour.

Houston scored the next 20 points, the Chargers unable to reach the end zone after halftime for the second game in a row.

The Chargers have lost three touchdowns because of penalties over the past two games.

“As a coaching staff, we gotta get that right,” Lynn said. “We plan on getting that right.”

Read more:

Helene Elliott: Keenan Allen slays it against Houston but Chargers receive little other help

For third game in a row, the Chargers are unable to protect their halftime lead

Texans’ Deshaun Watson keeps Chargers defense scrambling, grasping and gasping for air

CHARGERS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: KFI-AM 640, KFWB-AM 980

at Chargers 30, Indianapolis 24 (OT)

at Detroit 13, Chargers 10

Houston 27, at Chargers 20

Sunday 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

Sunday’s NFL scores

Rams 20, at Cleveland 13

Houston 27, at Chargers 20

at Buffalo 21, Cincinnati 17

at Dallas 31, Miami 6

at Green Bay 27, Denver 16

at Indianapolis 27, Atlanta 24

at Kansas City 33, Baltimore 28

at Minnesota 34, Oakland 14

at New England 30, New York Jets 14

Detroit 27, at Philadelphia 24

Carolina 38, at Arizona 20

New York Giants 32, at Tampa Bay 31

at San Francisco 24, Pittsburgh 20

New Orleans 33, at Seattle 27

Read all about them here

Tonight’s NFL schedule

Chicago at Washington, 5:15 p.m. PT, ESPN

UCLA FOOTBALL

It all fell into place for UCLA on Saturday night at Martin Stadium after the Bruins fell into a 32-point hole with less than seven minutes left in the third quarter. At one point, ESPN gave the 19th-ranked Cougars a 99.9% probability of victory.

Final score: UCLA 67, Washington State 63.

“It’s crazy, huh?” said UCLA coach Chip Kelly, whose team scored 50 points in the second half, topping the 42 it had scored in its first three games combined. “I always thought we could be a good football team if we can be consistent.”

A scout from the Canadian Football League’s British Columbia Lions, sensing the pointlessness of it all midway through the third quarter, rose from his seat in the press box, let out a heavy sigh and ascended the stairs toward the exit.

Here’s hoping someone stopped him to watch a finish that illustrated why sports are life’s great unscripted drama.

It might have gone down as UCLA’s wildest game in its 100 years of football, even though technically it qualified as only the second-largest comeback in school history. The Bruins rallied from 34 points down against Texas A&M in September 2017 but had never experienced anything like this.

UCLA gave up 63 points, 720 yards, nine touchdown passes … and won, prevailing in a game in which the teams combined for 130 points, a Pac-12 Conference record.

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

UCLA 67, at Washington State 63

Saturday at Arizona, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

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

USC FOOTBALL

Kedon Slovis sat out pretty much the entire game against Utah on Saturday and might have to sit out another, depending on how he comes through concussion protocol.

That leaves third-string redshirt junior Matt Fink and a band of walk-ons as the only men standing on USC’s quarterback depth chart. Turns out, Fink was quite enough on his own, as he completed 70% of his passes and threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns in a stunning performance.

With a road trip to Seattle and a matchup with No. 17 Washington looming, it’s fair to wonder how No. 21 USC (3-1, 2-0) might handle having just one healthy scholarship quarterback available. Asked on Sunday whether he might consider some kind of change at the position ahead of this week, coach Clay Helton expressed confidence in the trio of walk-ons behind Fink.

“We have Brandon Perdue, we have Scott Harris, and we have Trevor Scully,” Helton said. “Brandon will have a package that he can understand, and then we’ll see where Kedon is going through the week and go from there. We’ve got three other quarterbacks that are on campus that we’ll have trained to be able to go in if needed.”

Read more

Bill Plaschke: Like it or not, USC coach Clay Helton isn’t going anywhere just yet

Bryce Young changes commitment from USC to Alabama

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)

at USC 30, Utah 23

Saturday at Washington, 12:30 p.m., Fox

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

SPARKS

The Sparks’ season came to an end on Sunday when they were routed by Connecticut, 78-56, and swept out the WNBA playoffs in the semifinals.

Star forward Candace Parker played just seven minutes in the first half and four in the second half. She finished with four points, one game after scoring just three in 26 minutes. Afterward, the two-time league most valuable player made it clear that health was not a problem, saying: “Physically, mentally, everything’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with me.”

Asked why she played sparsely, Parker replied, “That’s for Fish.”

And what did Fish say?

“Just trying to find energy, find spark, find physicality and things that we were continuing to search for,” Fisher said. “I know it’s Candace Parker and we’re going to try to make it about her 11 minutes, but it was just about trying to do something different that would try and help us win.”

It didn’t work.

SPARKS PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

at Connecticut 84, Sparks 75

at Connecticut 94, Sparks 68

Connecticut 78, at Sparks 56

DODGERS

The Dodgers’ got their 100th victory of the season Sunday in a 7-4 win over Colorado that featured a grand slam by Cody Bellinger and a solo home run by Hyun-Jin Ryu. That was not a misprint. Hyun-Jin Ryu hit a home run.

In the first 117 games and 254 plate appearances of his MLB career, Ryu had never hit a home run. That changed with the Dodgers trailing 1-0 in the fifth. In an 0 and 2 count, Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela put a fastball over the plate. Ryu connected, sending a 389-foot drive over the wall in right center to tie the score.

“I would argue that it was the most crucial part of this game,” Ryu said, “to tie the game with my home run.”

Added catcher Will Smith: “He’s always hitting them in BP. So it was finally time he got one in the game.”

Ryu rounded the bases with a plodding gait. He ducked through a frenzied dugout celebration, protecting himself from the pounding of pats on the back. He plopped down on the bench and tried to catch his breath. For once, the gelatinous starting pitcher known for his deliberate, efficient pace looked gassed.

“There were chants from the dugout, ‘Babe Ryu,’” manager Dave Roberts said. “It was Little League. Pitch and hit a game-tying homer.”

Read more

Dylan Hernandez: Hyun-Jin Ryu’s first home run triggers grins and his strong outing elicits smiles

Kenta Maeda helping Dodgers ‘check boxes’ on their postseason bullpen plan

YOUR FAVORITE SPORTS MOMENT

What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com and tell me what it is and why and it could appear in a future daily sports newsletter or Morning Briefing.

This moment comes from Rick Solomon of Lake Balboa:

What true baseball fan cannot remember their first experience attending a major league baseball game? Well, for me, it is no different…

When I was either 10 or 11 years old, (I just turned 70!) and the Dodgers were playing the Milwaukee Braves at the Coliseum. The Braves, at the time, were a premier team battling for first place in the National League. There were over 61,000 fans there! Admittedly, when I first came out of the tunnel to our seats down the first base line, it was more than daunting! I have never seen that large of a collection of people in one spot!

Anyway, The Duke, (all star/‘55 World Series hero, Duke Snider), was injured. Some unknown rookie, one Tommy Davis, would bat and field in his place.

It’s 7-3 Braves in the seventh inning, and up comes Davis, who hits a grand slam to tie the score. I thought the shaking old stadium wound collapse from the noise!

The Dodgers eventually lost on a 11th-inning “Moon Shot” home run over that ridiculously short left field fence by starting pitcher Lew Burdette.

It didn’t matter. It was the most exciting sports memory of my life and I’ll never forget it!

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

No local major sporting events scheduled

BORN ON THIS DATE

1943: NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer

1958: Golfer Larry Mize

1971: NBA player Eric Montross

1984: Former Dodger Matt Kemp

1988: Tennis player Juan Martín del Potro

DIED ON THIS DATE

1978: Angels player Lyman Bostock, 27

1994: Golfer Jerry Barber, 78

2000: Baseball player Aurelio Rodriguez, 52

AND FINALLY

Hyun-Jin Ryu hits his first home run. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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