The Sports Report: Rams’ playoff chances take a hit against Steelers
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Why did he golfer wear two shirts? In case he got a hole in one.
The Terrible Towels were waving and a Heinz Field crowd was on its feet, imploring its defense to come up with another big play against the Rams.
Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick came through, intercepting a Jared Goff pass that once again put the Rams’ season on the verge of possible collapse.
The 17-12 defeat Sunday ended the Rams’ modest two-game winning streak and dropped their record to 5-4, ruining a homecoming for star defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
On a day when Goff had two passes intercepted and lost a fumble, the Rams put themselves in a tough spot in the NFC West and the race for an wild-card playoff spot.
Goff completed 22 of 41 passes for 243 yards and was sacked four times as the offense failed to score a touchdown. He was briefly knocked out of the game after sustaining a hit.
Fitzpatrick scored on a fumble return and sealed the Steelers’ fourth consecutive victory, improving their record to 5-4.
The Rams were behind 14-7 at halftime. They began the third quarter with a couple of Goff completions to receiver Robert Woods, but the positive vibe once again changed when cornerback Joe Haden intercepted a Goff pass.
Once the Rams got the ball back, it was more of the same struggle. On second down, Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton hit Goff, forcing him to the sideline. Blake Bortles came on and was stopped short of a first down on a keeper. On fourth down, punter Johnny Hekker attempted a pass that was intercepted by Trey Edmunds.
The NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers are undefeated going into Monday night’s game against the 7-2 Seattle Seahawks. The Rams might not catch either in the division, and they also could fall short in a competitive NFC wild-card race.
That would be a major – if perhaps not unexpected – face-plant for a team that played in the Super Bowl last season.
“We’re in a place where we’re still good,” Goff said. “We’ve got some time to make up some ground.”
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
Rams 37, at Atlanta 10
Rams 24, Cincinnati 10 (at London)
at Pittsburgh 17, Rams 12
Sunday 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
SUNDAY’S NFL SCOREBOARD
at Pittsburgh 17, Rams 12
Minnesota 28, at Dallas 24
at Chicago 20, Detroit 13
Baltimore 49, at Cincinnati 13
at Cleveland 19, Buffalo 16
at Tennessee 35, Kansas City 32
Atlanta 26, at New Orleans 9
at NY Jets 34, NY Giants 27
at Tampa Bay 30, Arizona 27
Miami 16, at Indianapolis 12
at Green Bay 24, Carolina 16
Bye week: Denver, Houston, Jacksonville, New England, Philadelphia, Washington.
Seattle at San Francisco, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
NFC West Standings
San Francisco, 9-0
AFC West Standings
Kansas City, 6-4
The Lakers (7-2) lost to the Toronto Raptors (7-2), 113-104, despite a triple-double from LeBron James and 27 points from Anthony Davis. Toronto was led by Pascal Siakam (24 points) and Fred VanVleet (23 points).
The Raptors are the defending NBA champions, but they entered this game looking very different from the team that toppled the Warriors in June. Kawhi Leonard left to play for the Clippers, Danny Green joined the Lakers, and on Friday both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka suffered long-term injuries.
Still, Toronto figured out a way, dominating the second half. The Lakers led by eight at halftime, and then were outscored by 18 points through the first few minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Raptors built a double-digit lead with as little as 3:50 left in the game, but then the Lakers seemed to snap back into form. A scoring drought for the Raptors, caused by staunch Lakers defense, allowed the Lakers to find themselves within striking distance.
Kyle Kuzma, who had two points in the first three quarters, hit back-to-back threes to bring the Lakers to within six.
Toronto then took advantage of missed threes by the Lakers to score on fast breaks and secure the win.
Coach Mick Cronin juggled his starting lineup, inserting forward Jalen Hill and guard Prince Ali, and they responded with productive outings during the Bruins’ 77-61 victory over UC Santa Barbara.
Hill scored a career-high 22 points amid a flurry of put-backs and dunks to go with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Ali triggered his team’s strong push to start the second half with back-to-back baskets after the Bruins trailed by two points at halftime. Ali finished with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Hill received a loud ovation when he was removed from the game with 53 seconds left after nearly doubling his previous career high in points (12).
UCLA guard Jules Bernard, one of the players displaced from the starting lineup, appeared to get the message. He tied a career high with 20 points for the Bruins (2-0), who outscored the Gauchos (1-1), 45-27, in the second half.
Max Heidegger scored a team-high 21 points for UCSB, which made just seven of 22 three-pointers (31.8%) and committed nine of its 14 turnovers in the second half.
Connor McDavid had a hat trick and became the eighth NHL player to record 400 points before his 23rd birthday as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Ducks 6-2 on Sunday night.
It is the fifth hat trick of McDavid’s career and his first since Feb. 18, 2018, against Colorado. Edmonton’s superstar center is the 13th player in league history to reach 400 points in 306 or fewer games.
Rickard Rakell and Max Jones scored for Anaheim and John Gibson stopped 25 shots.
Noah Eagle is only 22. And he’s the Clippers play-by-play man on the radio. Amazing.
It was only about a week after Noah Eagle’s graduation from Syracuse in May that he accepted the Clippers’ offer. The team finalized a decision to move Brian Sieman from radio to Prime Ticket’s TV platform as the successor to the retiring Ralph Lawler.
A month earlier, Eagle had taken two red-eye flights to make it back to Syracuse in time for classes. In one instance, he was returning from L.A. after calling a simulated game with potential broadcast partner Corey Maggette; in the other, he was returning from Seattle after a one-on-one with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
I said at the end of the interview: ‘Mr. Ballmer, if you give me this job, the Clippers will be my life.’ And he said, ‘OK,’ and we shook hands,” Eagle said.
And now Eagle is living in a Playa Vista apartment up the street from the Clippers’ training facility.
“Coming from college to this professional level, maybe just like a player would be, I’ve dreamed of all this, and everything is living up to what I dreamed about,” said Eagle, three weeks into calling every game solo on the Clippers’ KLAC-AM (570) flagship station.
Gillian Zucker, the Clippers’ president of business operations, said the team already had Eagle on its radar based on referrals from half a dozen independent sources and on Eagle’s work for NBA TV. Fox Sports was also interested in him.
“Fox having him on its list was another proof point that here was an incredibly talented rising star,” Zucker said. “It was only amplified when he blew everyone away in the interviews. We realized he would be part of the history of some NBA franchise. After we met him, we felt like it needed to be ours.”
COLLEGE FOOTBALL AP TOP 25
1. LSU (54 first-place votes), 9-0, 1,542 points (Ranked 1 last week)
2. Ohio State (5), 9-0, 1,480 (3)
3. Clemson (3), 10-0, 1,441 (4)
4. Alabama, 8-1, 1,312 (2)
5. Georgia, 8-1, 1,267 (6)
6. Oregon, 8-1, 1,224 (7)
7. Minnesota, 9-0, 1,164 (13)
8. Utah, 8-1, 1,099 (8)
9. Penn State, 8-1, 1,003 (5)
10. Oklahoma, 8-1, 1,000 (9)
11. Florida, 8-2, 934 (10)
12. Baylor, 9-0, 932 (11)
13. Auburn, 7-2, 871 (12)
14. Michigan, 7-2, 744 (14)
15. Wisconsin, 7-2, 657 (16)
16. Notre Dame, 7-2, 593 (15)
17. Cincinnati, 8-1, 567 (17)
18. Memphis, 8-1, 510 (19)
19. Boise State, 8-1, 371 (21)
20. SMU, 9-1, 346 (23)
21. Navy, 7-1, 228 (25)
22. Texas, 6-3, 199 (not ranked)
23. Iowa, 6-3, 197 (18)
24. Indiana, 7-2, 108 (not ranked)
25. Oklahoma State, 6-3, 77 (not ranked)
Dropped from rankings: Kansas State, Wake Forest, San Diego State
Others receiving votes: Appalachian State 73, Kansas State 67, Texas A&M 42, Wake Forest 38, Louisiana Tech 25, Virginia 12, San Diego State 7, Virginia Tech 4, Iowa State 4, Washington 3, Pittsburgh 2, Air Force 2, UCF 2, North Dakota State 1, USC 1, Illinois 1
Two horses died Sunday at Del Mar. In the third race on the turf course, a 3-year-old gelding named Ghost Street sustained a front leg injury, was vanned off the track and veterinarians determined he had to be euthanized.
Three races later, 3-year-old colt Prayer Warrior was pulled up on the far turn of the dirt track and appeared to have a serious front leg injury. He was vanned off and shortly after 3:30 p.m. the daughter of trainer Jeff Metz tweeted the injury was fatal.
The horse ambulance also was called out after the second race, when 5-year-old mare Princess Dorian was pulled up at the top of the stretch with an apparent front leg injury. Lead track veterinarian Dr. Dana Stead examined the horse, a leg splint was applied, and track officials announced that Princess Dorian was being transported to the equine hospital at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall.
The racing death is the first at Del Mar since the 2018 fall meet. In the 2019 summer meet, four horses died, all in training.
Del Mar was the safest major track in America last year, according to Jockey Club Equine Injury Database, but it has run its most recent meets under intense scrutiny after 37 horse deaths at Santa Anita since late December.
Ten years after helping change the scope of Major League Soccer, Seattle finally got to see its home team host the championship match. And it was rewarded with a second celebration in the past four years.
“The players and the fans deserve this,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said. “The players persevered because again it was a first-half we needed to make some adjustments and they never quit. And the fans never stopped believing. I’m very happy and proud for the city and the fans.”
Kelvin Leerdam settled the nerves of those home fans with his 57th minute goal off a deflection, Victor Rodríguez and Raul Ruidíaz added the cappers and the Sounders beat Toronto FC 3-1 on Sunday to claim the MLS Cup title.
TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE
All times Pacific
Toronto at Clippers, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570
BORN ON THIS DATE
1891: Baseball player Rabbit Maranville (d. 1954)
1899: Baseballl player Pie Traynor (d. 1972)
1951: Golfer Fuzzy Zoeller
1961: Wrestler Matt Ghaffari
1969: Former Angel Damion Easley
DIED ON THIS DATE
2008: Baseball player Herb Score, 75
Rams vs. Steelers highlights. Watch them here.
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