LA Rams celebrate homecoming by shutting down Seahawks, 9-3
LOS ANGELES (AP) Alec Ogletree and Case Keenum figure they’ll always remember the passion and excitement of the Rams’ first home game back in Los Angeles.
Sure, the details of the Rams’ 9-3 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday might fade with time.
That’s probably fine for both teams, too.
Highlights were scarce while both teams failed to reach the end zones of the Coliseum, which welcomed back the NFL after a 21-season absence. Instead, the Rams’ defense decided it with an effort that showed Los Angeles (1-1) can win this season even without much of an offense.
Ogletree sealed it with 45 seconds to play, falling on a fumble by Christine Michael. The Rams’ new middle linebacker then took the ball to the far end of the Coliseum sideline, handing it to his family in the stands.
“It was an amazing feeling to be out there today,” said Ogletree, the replacement for franchise tackling leader James Laurinaitis. “It was a historical moment. Glad to be a part of it.”
A massive crowd of 91,046 officially welcomed the Rams back to Los Angeles, their home from 1946-94. The pregame festivities included a show by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the lighting of the Coliseum torch by six Rams Hall of Famers.
The Seahawks (1-1) turned out to be ideal guests for this party but not because they wanted to be.
Hobbling quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 254 yards, but the Seahawks reached the red zone once all day. Seattle’s defense was stout, but still gave up five drives longer than 45 yards leading to Greg Zuerlein’s three field goals.
“To come out and ptdplay like that, not give us a real shot to get ahead, was tough,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who returned to the stadium where he spent nearly a decade as USC’s head coach. “Tough day. I never thought we’d go the first couple weeks having scored one touchdown. I’m surprised at that.”
POINT DROUGHT: Both teams are having trouble on offense, but the Seahawks had their lowest-scoring performance since October 2011 while getting shut out for the final 44 minutes. Their problems seem clearly linked to a suspect offensive line with a slew of new starters, but nobody was proud of his effort afterward. “We still had a chance there at the end,” said Wilson, who hit Tyler Lockett with a 53-yard pass shortly before Michael’s fumble. “That’s all I’m looking for is a chance to win the game.”
MAKING A CASE: After a disastrous season opener at San Francisco, Keenum improved in his second start of the season, going 18 of 30 for 239 yards without an interception. With No. 1 pick Jared Goff watching from the sideline as his backup, Keenum made only a handful of mistakes and did nothing to conflict with his previous reputation as a game manager who gives his team a chance to win. “I think a lot of people will remember this day,” Keenum said.
RIVALRY RULES: The Rams haven’t made the playoffs since 2004, but they’ve beaten title-contending Seattle in four of the NFC West rivals’ last five meetings, including three straight. Wilson is just 4-5 against the Rams, while Carroll has no idea why the Rams have his number. “If I did, it wouldn’t have happened,” he said with a grimace. The next meeting isn’t until Dec. 16 in Seattle.
GURLEY GRIND: Todd Gurley managed just 51 yards for the Rams, averaging 2.7 yards per carry against another defense determined to stop him. The Rams showed play-action proficiency while moving the ball well, but coach Jeff Fisher still wants to get his star running back into the end zone soon. “We just have to get him some more touches,” Fisher said. “He ran well when he had the ball. … He’ll be fine. He’ll just be fresh at the end of the season.”
FOND FAREWELL?: Just when the Rams have established a bit of momentum with this big party in their hometown, they’re back on the road almost exclusively until November. Los Angeles plays away from the Coliseum for four of its next five games, including a “home” game against the New York Giants on a cricket ground in England. The Rams host Buffalo on Oct. 9 and then don’t play at the Coliseum again until Nov. 6.
AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL