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The Sports Report: It’s a town full of losers (Rams, Chargers, Kings)

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It was a rough day for Jared Goff.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

RAMS

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.

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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?

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“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

Sam Farmer: Unbeaten 49ers soundly show the Rams they are real power in NFC West

49ers’ goal-line stand, fumble by Darrell Henderson led to downfall in Rams’ 20-7 loss

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Jared Goff’s erratic passing leads Rams to throws of defeat against 49ers

RAMS SCHEDULE

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

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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

CHARGERS

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.

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

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

Read all about them here

Tonight’s game

Detroit at Green Bay, 5:15 p.m. PT, ESPN

KINGS

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.

ANGELS

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.”

NLCS schedule

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.

ALCS schedule

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

*-if necessary

USC FOOTBALL

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

AND FINALLY

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talks about John Wooden. 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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