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Rams’ offense has work to do despite road victory, 3-0 start – Los Angeles Rams Blog



CLEVELAND — The Los Angeles Rams spent the offseason adjusting their offense and adding new wrinkles after the high-scoring unit was brought to a screeching halt by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

On Sunday night, they escaped Cleveland with a 20-13 victory over the Browns inside a raucous FirstEnergy Stadium to improve to 3-0. But it is apparent the 2019 edition of coach Sean McVay’s offense has plenty of work to do to earn a return trip to the Super Bowl.

Defensive win: The Rams’ defense, for a third straight game, did all it could to slow explosive playmakers — this time in quarterback Baker Mayfield, receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and running back Nick Chubb. The pass rush kept Mayfield off balance, and the QB was sacked three times.

QB breakdown: For a third consecutive game, Jared Goff was unable to develop a rhythm and establish connections with his receivers in the first half. In several instances, passes were thrown behind or out of reach of his targets. In the second quarter, Goff was stripped, and the Browns converted the takeaway into a field goal. In the third quarter, Goff threw a pass that was intercepted by Browns defensive back T.J. Carrie. And in the fourth quarter, Goff was intercepted by Juston Burris. Goff completed 24 of 38 passes for 269 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Troubling Trend, Part I: For a third consecutive game, the Rams did not score a touchdown in the first quarter, and for a second time this season, they did not score a touchdown in the first half. Last season, they failed to score a first-half touchdown in only one regular-season game. The offense also had a slow start during a Week 1 win over the Carolina Panthers, as the Rams were held scoreless in the first quarter. In a victory over the New Orleans Saints last week, the Rams were held to a field goal in the first quarter.

Troubling Trend, Part II: The offensive line. The unit underwent a significant offseason makeover when left guard Rodger Saffold departed in free agency and the team declined the option on center John Sullivan’s contract. On Sunday, with right guard Austin Blythe sidelined because of an ankle sprain, the Rams had three first-year starters on the interior of their line with left guard Joe Noteboom, center Brian Allen and right guard Jamil Demby. The run-game suffered, as five players rushed for a combined 91 yards, and Goff was under duress throughout the game.

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Rams RB Todd Gurley (thigh) not sure about status for 49ers game



THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley expressed uncertainty Thursday about his availability for Sunday’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

“What’s today? Thursday?” asked Gurley, who is dealing with a thigh contusion suffered in a Week 5 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. “We’ve got Friday, Saturday. But just worrying about trying to get back right and make that decision when the time comes.”

The Rams did not practice Thursday due to wind gusts forecasted at 55 mph around their practice facility in Thousand Oaks, California, but instead held a walkthrough. Gurley was listed as a non-participant in a projected injury report.

Gurley rushed for 51 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in the Rams’ loss to the Seahawks.

If Gurley is unable to play Sunday, the Rams will turn to backup Malcolm Brown, who has rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns in five games, and rookie Darrell Henderson.

While Gurley’s game status remained uncertain Thursday, the fifth-year pro’s opinion on the NCAA appeared perfectly clear.

During his regularly-scheduled news conference with reporters, Gurley wore a white T-shirt that read, in bold print: “NCAA — Not. Concerned. About. Athletes.” He later tweeted a photo of himself in the shirt.

“I’ll just let my shirt speak for itself,” Gurley told reporters. “Just being a college athlete and obviously going through a suspension and all that stuff, so I just see both sides of it.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” which states that California colleges cannot punish their athletes for collecting endorsement money. Several other states are following suit.

The NCAA suspended Gurley in 2014 for four games after determining that he received $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia.

When asked how much Gurley’s college career would have been altered if a similar law was in effect, Gurley chuckled.

“I was fine,” he said. “That’s what I got suspended in the first place. I was OK. It’s cool, it’s cool. It is what it is. Most of us are kids that didn’t come from much, and most of us — this was the first time having our own bedroom or room, so it’s just one those things, it’s just — college, just having a good time like everybody else.”

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Tom Brady surpasses Peyton Manning for second on passing yardage list



FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady entered Thursday night’s game against the New York Giants needing 18 yards to pass his longtime rival, No. 18 Peyton Manning, and move into second place on the NFL’s all-time passing yardage list.

Brady did it quickly with a 19-yard completion to Sony Michel at 14:20 of the 1st quarter.

Entering Thursday’s game, Brady had totaled 71,923 passing yards in the regular season. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees holds the top spot, with 74,845 yards. Official NFL records account only for the regular season. When including the playoffs, Brady is No. 1.

Over the course of his 20-year career, Brady has regularly deflected praise on such milestones.

“I think having a lot of perspective on things like this is where I like to come from. I don’t believe football is an individual sport,” he said Monday in his weekly radio interview on Westwood One. “So any individual accomplishment, to me, is always a team accomplishment. There is nothing you can accomplish in football without everybody else doing their job. I think I’ve always taken to football because of that.”

Brady, 42, has posted 90 career games in which he’s thrown for 300 or more yards. Only Brees (116) and Manning (93) have more.

Furthermore, in 2018, Brady became just the fourth NFL player to reach 6,000 completions, joining Brees (6,621), Brett Favre (6,300) and Manning (6,125). He is also one of four quarterbacks to throw 35 or more touchdowns in a season four different times, along with Manning, Brees and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

Brady said he doesn’t play for such records.

“I’m not a golfer. I don’t play tennis. You look at some of these individual sports, and yeah, it’s amazing and there’s great accomplishments. But I think the joy in sports for me is the relationships I’ve built with my teammates, my coaches, and the organization I’ve represented,” Brady said in the radio interview this week. “Because I’ve been fortunate to play in the same place for 20 years, with great teammates, I’ve been able to pile up a lot of individual statistics. But the reality for me, all of those I share with all the guys I play with.”

Growing up in the Bay Area, Brady was a baseball fan and reflected on being interested in records as a fan, following which players might break the mark for most home runs in a season.

“I always enjoyed watching those great home-run battles. I remember being in college when it was Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. They had that great summer of home runs. And obviously, being a San Francisco Giants fan and Barry Bonds being at my high school, I was a huge fan of Barry and what he accomplished,” Brady said on the radio.

“I don’t know so many football ones. I didn’t think about those. There have really been some incredible ones. I’ve watched this show on ESPN+, with Peyton, called ‘Peyton’s Places’ and I watched one the other day, ‘Unbreakable Records.’ It was very cool to just see so many of these different records that are still standing. Emmitt Smith’s career rushing yards. Jerry Rice’s career receiving yards. Some of these things, I don’t think will be broken for a very, very long time, if ever.”

Asked by host Jim Gray on Westwood One the best record to have in football, Brady said, “If you look at individual seasons, those are pretty unique because it’s just one snapshot. I think when you look at career yards, it’s totally different. Peyton Manning’s 55 touchdowns in one year – that was incredible. I remember watching that. I had held the record at that point, at 50. … They just had a prolific offense. It’s pretty amazing when you have seasons like that.”

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Colin Kaepernick’s representatives — ‘Little to no response’ from all 32 NFL teams



Representatives for Colin Kaepernick say they have reached out to all 32 NFL teams about possible opportunities for the free-agent quarterback but have received “little to no response.”

This update was part of a lengthy statement released Thursday by agents Jeff Nalley and Jasmine Windham, with the headline “Facts to Address the False Narratives Regarding Colin Kaepernick.”

Kaepernick’s representatives say he has not demanded a specific salary and that he still wants to play in the NFL.

“Not a single team has brought Colin in for a workout,” the statement said. “Seattle brought Colin in for a visit but did not work him out. … No other NFL team has interviewed or worked out Colin in the past three seasons, despite other false statements to the media to the contrary.

“… In 25 years, I have never seen anything like it.”

Kaepernick, who turns 32 on Nov. 3, has not played in the NFL since 2016, when he began protesting police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. He opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March 2017.

Within the past two years, Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid filed grievances against the league through the National Football League Players Association, alleging collusion among league owners to deny them jobs.

In February, it was announced that both players had reached a settlement with the NFL. Terms were not disclosed.

Reid has since landed a job with the Carolina Panthers.

Kaepernick’s representatives said he has been “working out five days a week, for three years, in preparation to play again” but that the opportunity hasn’t presented itself.

“The idea he doesn’t fit a team’s system does not mesh with how teams have adjusted their offensive schemes to fit the skill set of their quarterbacks,” the statement said. “Colin has the same skill set as many of the young mobile quarterbacks flourishing in the NFL right now.

“… It is difficult to think of another young player in NFL history with statistics and character as impressive as Colin’s not being given an opportunity to earn a spot on an NFL roster after what he’s accomplished.”

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