By Dennis J. Freeman
The Los Angeles Rams handed their fans another treat with a 21-20 comeback win against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Aug. 20. After topping the Dallas Cowboys in their first official home game in over two decades, the Rams did just enough to pull out their second win of the pre-season.
Running back Todd Gurley’s legs looked fresh. Rookie quarterback Jared Goff showed flashes of what could be as he engineered the team’s drive to the eventual winning score in the fourth quarter. On the defensive side of things, the Rams kept quarterback Nick Foles, whom they released this summer, from walking out of the Coliseum with a victory.
As it was, Foles completed 18 passes for 133 yards in his backup role to Chiefs starter Alex Smith. All things considered, whatever the Rams may have wanted to get out of their top stars, they got. It was the debut of Gurley, who looked impressive on his only game of the series.
Gurley showed the speed and power that made him the “NFL Offensive Player of the Year” last season. Gurley scored the Rams’ first touchdown of the game, and then sailed over and stayed on the sidelines for the remainder of the game. Goff didn’t get that kind of break.
The first overall draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the onus is placed on the Rams to get Goff game-ready once the regular season starts. So this might explain why Goff played three quarters. Goff didn’t get off to a good start when he took over signal-calling duties in the second half, turning the ball over with a fumble.
But the upstart got himself together, leading the Rams to a fourth quarter touchdown for the go-ahead score with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Brown on a swing pass coming out of the backfield.
Actually, the Goff-to-Brown score almost became a misfire with the pass being thrown behind the wide open running back. Somehow, Brown used some magic grip and flipped the ball into his hands and ran untouched for the touchdown.
Aside from the miscue of the fumble, Goff looked pretty good, connecting on eight of 12 passes for 82 yards. Defensively, neither one of the teams could stop one another through the first two possessions of the game. The Chiefs got on the scoreboard first with a short touchdown run from Spencer Ware.
Well, the Rams gave it right back to the Chiefs, going the length of the field with Gurley culminating the drive with his own touchdown. The Rams took a brief lead when Case Keenum connected with Pharoh Cooper for a 11-yard touchdown pass, only to see Smith hit wide receiver Jeremy Macklin with a 20-yard strike to tie the ballgame.