The New England Patriots are going to need a miracle to reach their goal of making the 2020 playoffs.
- Edert leads Saint Peter’s against Quinnipiac after 21-point performance
- Nun on mission to stop human trafficking
- Holmes lifts Clemson to 74-62 win over Georgia Tech
- The Latest: 3rd round a graduation party for Bengals’ Dunlap
- Daily Sports Smile: USWNT midfielder Crystal Dunn returns to action after delivering first child
After demolishing the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, the Patriots’ trip out West took a turn for the worst on Thursday night. As we’ve seen all year, this Patriots team has been about as consistent as the New England weather. That was evident Thursday at SoFi Stadium, a place where they looked like a potential playoff team four days earlier before being run over by the Los Angeles Rams, 24-3.
The Patriots defense couldn’t stop the run and the offense couldn’t score nearly enough points in this error-filled loss on Thursday night. The Pats drop to 6-7 with a playoff push looking more and more unlikely. Seven losses are the most by a Patriots team since 2002. They’ll finish out this disappointing season against Miami, Buffalo and the New York Jets.
More:Opinion: By bullying their old foes on national stage, Rams confirm how far the Patriots have fallen.
NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE:Steelers suffer first loss but retain No. 1 seed in AFC.
NFL STATS CENTRAL: The latest NFL scores, schedules, odds, stats and more.
New England’s defense contained Rams quarterback Jared Goff (117 yards with a touchdown and interception), but didn’t come close to stopping rookie running back Cam Akers, who led the way with 171 rushing yards. Even worse than the run defense was the Patriots offensive output. Cam Newton went 9 of 16 for 119 yards with an interception before being benched for Jarrett Stidham. He was sacked four times, which tied a season high. In the end, the Patriots had more three-and-outs (four) than points.
The Rams started hot, opening the game with a 7-0 lead. On the first play, Jared Goff hit Tyler Higbee for a 25-yard catch and run. The Rams followed up the big pass play with a big run with Cam Akers running for 35 yards. That set Los Angeles up with a first-and-goal. Four plays later, on fourth-and-1, Goff scored on a 1-yard touchdown run at 11:21 of the first quarter.
The start wasn’t much better for the offense as the group went three-and-out in their first drive.
The defense continued to struggle as the Rams extended their lead to 10-0 on their second drive. The Pats had no answers for Akers, who started the drive with gains of 14, nine and six yards. The running back amassed 83 rushing yards by the end of the series. Rams kicker Matt Guy put a stamp on it with a 35-yard field goal at 5:16 of the first quarter.
The offense matched the slow start with their second-straight three-and-out. The Pats had nine total yards after two series compared to the Rams’ 140.
The defense stepped up on the Rams’ third drive as undrafted rookie Myles Bryant intercepted Goff on a third-down play at 1:00 of the first quarter. That marked Bryant’s first NFL interception. Although the play was originally called as a Pick-6, Bryant was ruled down and the Patriots offense took over at the Los Angeles 32-yard.
The moment, however, was short lived. Three plays later, Newton was intercepted by linebacker Kenny Young, who ran back 79 yards for the touchdown. Newton was pressured and the throw was wildly inaccurate as the Rams took a 17-0 lead at 14:46 of the second quarter.
The Patriots’ offense continued to be demoralized. On the next drive, the Pats called 11 run plays compared to one pass. The offense found success as Damien Harris set up a first-and-goal from the 6-yard line. However, the Pats wouldn’t get any closer to the Rams. Instead, they failed to get in the end zone, stayed on the field for fourth down and Newton was dropped for a loss of two, resulting in a turnover on downs at 6:52 of the second quarter.
The Pats finally got on the board at the end of the second quarter. Newton made two big throws to Jakobi Meyers (31 yards) and N’Keal Harry (13 yards) to get the offense in field-goal range. They stalled at the 11-yard line, but Nick Folk hit a 29-yard field goal with 1:04 left in the half and the Rams led, 17-3.
The frustration continued to mount for the Patriots. The Rams went back to their run game in the third quarter and extended their lead to 24-3.
Once again, Akers ran over the Patriots front seven. The back had 149 rushing yards by the end of this series. Los Angeles succeeded twice on fourth down. After converting on their first fourth-and-1, the Rams stayed on the field for another fourth down, on the 4-yard line. This time, Patriots defensive tackle Akeem Spence was flagged for a neutral zone infraction. Goff hit Cooper Kupp for a 2-yard touchdown on the next play at 1:33 of the third quarter.
In the ensuing series, the Patriots offense then went three-and-out with Newton sacked on third down. The next time Newton took the field, it didn’t get better as the offense went three-and-out, again. That was it for Newton’s night.
With 10:12 left in the game, the quarterback was benched for Jarrett Stidham. He was sacked twice on nine drop backs and finished the game 5/7 for 27 yards. We’ll see if Stidham gets any more action this season.
If you enjoy talking football, we have the perfect spot for you. Join our Facebook Group, The Ruling Off the Field, to engage in friendly debate and conversation with fellow football fans and our NFL insiders. Do the right thing, sign up now!