The Sports Report: It’s a town full of losers (Rams, Chargers, Kings)
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
Before we get to Sunday’s recap, I have one question: When did Jeff Fisher start coaching the Rams again?
After getting worked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home a few weeks ago, and then losing on the road to the Seattle Seahawks four days later, the Rams could not rebound against a San Francisco 49ers team coached by its own wunderkind, Kyle Shanahan, in a 20-7 loss on Sunday.
The two-time defending NFC West-champion Rams are 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the division heading into a road game against the Atlanta Falcons and then a “home” game against the Cincinnati Bengals in London.
The resurgent 49ers — rooted on by a large and boisterous contingent of fans among the crowd of 75,695 — gave up an early touchdown before shutting down the Rams and improving to 5-0.
“It turned into a home game pretty quickly,” said 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 24 of 33 passes for 243 yards, with an interception. “It was a lot of red out there.”
Rams coach Sean McVay’s message to his team?
“Let’s stay together,” he said. “Let’s not this little bit of adversity we’re going through divide us.”
Players echoed that message, but this is clearly uncharted territory for the vast majority of a team that has known only division titles and a Super Bowl run under McVay.
The Rams’ 3-0 start indicated they might avoid the malaise — and mediocrity or worse — that has afflicted so many teams the season after they lost in the Super Bowl. But after three consecutive defeats, the Rams are in danger of repeating the familiar script.
On Sunday, the offense produced just 157 yards. Goff completed 13 of 24 passes for a career-low 78 yards. He was sacked four times and was pressured throughout by the 49ers’ front four.
“It’s a gut check,” quarterback Jared Goff said of the three-game losing streak and how the Rams need to respond. “Are you who you say you are?”
Read more Rams
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
Tampa Bay 55, at Rams 40
at Seattle 30, Rams 29
San Francisco 20, at Rams 7
Sunday 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
With their stadium being dominated by fans of the opposing team, the Chargers had to do something Sunday night to get the home crowd into the game.
Instead, they immediately fell behind by two touchdowns for the second consecutive week, were scoreless into the fourth quarter and ran out of time in trying to come back in a 24-17 loss to Pittsburgh.
The Steelers came to Carson with only one win but triumphed while using their third-string quarterback.
The Chargers fell to 2-4 as they again looked largely disjointed on offense and struggled to tackle the players wearing the opposing colors.
After doing little for three quarters, they did close to within one score with a 17-point fourth quarter. But their final possession ended when Philip Rivers was intercepted in the last minute.
All this unfolded on a night when Dignity Health Sports Park was packed with noisy Steelers fans waving yellow towels and chanting for “DEE-fence!”
The Chargers have struggled to establish themselves in Los Angeles since moving here from San Diego before the 2017 season.
But the atmosphere for this game was about as pro-visiting team as any Chargers home game yet.
Even worse, the whole thing was chronicled for the entire country to see by NBC and its “Sunday Night Football” crew, the Chargers’ woes on and off the field glaring.
The good news? The team now will go on the road for its next two games and plays only once in Carson until mid-December.
That game - on Nov. 3 - is against Green Bay, another opponent with feverish fans who could take over Dignity Health Sports Park.
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
Chargers 30, at Miami 10
Denver 20, at Chargers 13
Pittsburgh 24, at Chargers 17
Sunday 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
San Francisco 20, at Rams 7
Pittsburgh 24, at Chargers 17
Carolina 37, at Tampa Bay 26
Seattle 32, at Cleveland 28
Houston 31, at Kansas City 24
Washington 17, at Miami 16
at Minnesota 38, Philadelphia 20
New Orleans 13, at Jacksonville 6
at Baltimore 23, Cincinnati 17
at Arizona 34, Atlanta 33
at Denver 16, Tennessee 0
at NY Jets 24, Dallas 22
Bye week: Buffalo, Chicago, Indianapolis, Oakland
Detroit at Green Bay, 5:15 p.m. PT, ESPN
Paul Stastny scored twice on the power play, Max Pacioretty added a power-play goal and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Kings 5-2 on Sunday night.
Vegas was three for three on the power play after starting the season three for 17 with the man-advantage.
Jonathan Quick allowed five goals on 36 shots for the Kings. Quick has allowed 19 goals on 92 shots in his three appearances this season. He has allowed at least five goals in five of his last seven starts.
The Angels employee who reportedly provided opioids to Tyler Skaggs issued a statement Sunday saying that cooperating with federal authorities was “the right thing to do” and that “it’s time for everybody to stand up and take responsibility for their respective roles” in the pitcher’s drug-related death.
“Nothing anyone does will ever provide closure for the Skaggs family,” Eric Kay, who has worked in the team’s media relations department for 24 years, said in a statement issued by his attorney, Michael Molfetta of Newport Beach.
“I can’t, the Angels can’t, and the courts can’t, regardless of what happens there. But at least I can help them ‘know’ instead of ‘wonder.’ My hope is that there is some peace in that for them.”
Kay gave federal agents the names of five other players who he believed used opiates while they were Angels. Asked Sunday whether they were current or former players, Molfetta said, “It’s a combination.”
All times Pacific. All games on TBS
Game 1: Washington 2, at St. Louis 0
Game 2: Washington 3, at St. Louis 1
Game 3: Today, St. Louis at Washington, 1:30 p.m.
Game 4: Tuesday, St. Louis at Washington, 5 p.m.
Game 5*: Wednesday, St. Louis at Washington, 1 p.m.
Game 6*: Friday, Washington at St. Louis, 5 p.m.
Game 7*: Saturday, Washington at St. Louis, 5 p.m.
All times Pacific. All games on FS1
Game 1: New York 7, at Houston 0
Game 2: at Houston 3, New York 2 (11)
Game 3: Tuesday, Houston at New York, 1 p.m
Game 4: Wednesday, Houston at New York, 5 p.m.
Game 5: Thursday, Houston at New York, 5 p.m.
Game 6*: Saturday, New York at Houston
Game 7*: Oct. 20, New York at Houston
Vavae Malepeai, USC’s leading rusher, will have surgery to “clean out” his knee, coach Clay Helton announced on Sunday.
With six games left in the season, there is currently no timetable for his return.
“Vavae is a warrior,” Helton said. “[He was] dealing with a sore knee and really fighting through it for his team. It’s just gotten to the point where it’s gotten too sore, so we’re going to go ahead and take care of it now. What’s fortunate is we still have a lot of talented backs on this team.
NEW TOP 25 RANKINGS
(Last week’s rank in parentheses)
1. Alabama, 6-0, 1,503 points (1)
2. LSU, 6-0, 1,449 points (5)
3. Clemson, 6-0, 1,427 points (2)
4. Ohio State, 6-0, 1,404 points (3)
5. Oklahoma, 6-0, 1,333 points (6)
6. Wisconsin, 6-0, 1,245 points (8)
7. Penn State, 6-0, 1,129 points (10)
8. Notre Dame, 5-1, 1,042 points (9)
9. Florida, 6-1, 1,041 points (7)
10. Georgia, 5-1, 995 points (3)
11. Auburn, 5-1, 985 points, (12)
12. Oregon, 5-1, 906 points (13)
13. Utah, 5-1, 729 points (15)
14. Boise State, 6-0, 716 points (14)
15. Texas, 4-2, 672 points (11)
16. Michigan, 5-1, 648 points (16)
17. Arizona State, 5-1, 524 points (18)
18. Baylor, 6-0, 470 points (22)
19. SMU, 6-0, 398 points (21)
20. Minnesota, 6-0, 330 points (not ranked)
21. Cincinnati, 5-1, 308 points (25)
22. Missouri, 5-1, 233 points (not ranked)
23. Iowa, 4-2, 210 points (17)
24. Appalachian State, 5-0, 148 points (not ranked)
25. Washington, 5-2, 107 points (not ranked)
Dropped from rankings: Wake Forest (19), Virginia (20), Memphis (23) and Texas A&M (24).
TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE
All times Pacific
Ducks at Boston, 10 a.m., PRIME
BORN ON THIS DATE
1872: Tennis player Reggie Doherty (d. 1910)
1910: UCLA coach John Wooden (d. 2010)
1943: Former Ram Lance Rentzel
1946: Baseball player Al Oliver
1947: NFL player Charlie Joiner
1950: Speed skater Sheila Young
1956: Golfer Beth Daniel
1960: Runner Steve Cram
1963: NFL player Keith Byars
1964: Baseball player/manager Joe Girardi
1968: NBA player Dwayne Schintzius
1971: NFL player Frank Wycheck
1975: Cyclist Frank Wycheck
1984: NFL player LaRon Landry
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talks about John Wooden. Watch it here.
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