INGLEWOOD, Calif.—The Jacksonville Jaguars were the cure for just about everything that ailed the Los Angeles Rams throughout November.
Matthew Stafford and the Rams hope they can stay up at this level when their stretch run gets a whole lot tougher.
Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr. caught touchdown passes from Stafford, and the Rams snapped their three-game losing streak with a 37-7 victory over Jacksonville on Dec. 5.
Stafford passed for 295 yards while Sony Michel rushed for 121 yards and a score for the Rams (8-4), who rebounded from a winless month with a solid all-around effort against a struggling opponent. Kupp had his 100th reception of a remarkable season among his eight catches for 129 yards.
“It’s nice to get a win after three subpar performances,” Stafford said.
Stafford snapped back into his early-season form, playing turnover-free football after giving the ball away six times during the three-game skid that threatened to derail the Rams’ playoff plans. Los Angeles still has never lost four straight in coach Sean McVay’s half-decade in charge.
“We really need to find a way to start playing our best ball in December,” McVay said. “Our guys did a great job just staying steady and trusting the process. … You don’t take any wins for granted in this league. This is good for our team, and now we’ve just got to start stacking blocks.”
Jalen Ramsey made three tackles against his former team and recovered a fumble forced by Aaron Donald on the opening drive for the Rams, who comfortably won what appeared to be the least daunting game remaining on a tough schedule. Los Angeles still must make trips to Arizona, Baltimore and Minnesota along with two NFC West games at home.
“When you get turnovers, you tend to win games,” Donald said. “We need to build off this type of win we had today. … We can’t be satisfied. Got to stay hungry.”
Rookie Trevor Lawrence passed for 145 yards for the Jaguars (2-10), who have lost four straight. With their 16th consecutive loss to NFC teams since September 2018, the Jaguars have lost 10 games for the 10th time in the last 11 years.
“There are some times when you’re at a loss for words, especially in a game like this where we were moving the ball earlier and then can’t get anything going,” said Lawrence, who went 16 for 28. “The turnovers hurt, and when you’re not moving the ball consistently it is pretty much impossible to come back.”
Jacksonville turned the ball over twice and struggled to get anything going offensively against LA’s star-studded defense, managing just 197 total yards. This defeat means Urban Meyer will lose at least twice as many games in his rookie NFL season as he ever did in any of his 17 seasons as a head coach at the college level.
“I don’t mean to be redundant and go into coachspeak, but there’s nothing else I can tell you,” Meyer said. “Is it frustrating for everybody involved? Absolutely. Are we better than that? Absolutely. We have better players and coaches than that. So now it’s time to go produce.”
Michel was the Rams’ featured back with Darrell Henderson in uniform but limited by a thigh injury. Michel capped the Rams’ only TD drive of the first half with a 5-yard run before finishing with the Rams’ first 100-yard rushing performance all season.
Jacksonville’s defense hung in throughout the first half, preventing the Rams from converting any of their six third downs and forcing LA’s Matt Gay to kick three field goals.
“We’re playing excellent pass defense, field position and complementary football there,” Meyer said. “That’s kind of where you want to be on the road against a good team, and then we couldn’t move the ball.”
The Rams’ defense dominated Lawrence’s offense in the first half except for one 73-yard scoring drive culminating in Carlos Hyde’s 1-yard TD run.
The Rams took control after halftime with two long touchdown drives capped by Kupp’s 29-yard TD grab and Jefferson’s 2-yard, toe-tap scoring catch.
The Rams’ two prized midseason acquisitions finally got to play at SoFi Stadium for the first time, and both made contributions to the victory.
Beckham made an early 27-yard reception before his 1-yard TD grab early in the fourth quarter, outfighting Nevin Lawson for a jump ball.
Linebacker Von Miller had just one tackle for loss, but he was active in drawing blockers while the Rams’ pass rush kept Lawrence uncomfortable for most of the day.
Stafford left for one play after a hard tackle, but returned quickly. “Just a chest shot,” Stafford said. “I feel good now.” … Rams center Brian Allen injured his knee on their first snap from scrimmage and didn’t return. Coleman Shelton took over and played well in the Los Angeles native’s first significant NFL action in two years. … Rams left guard David Edwards injured his foot later in their opening drive, but eventually returned. … Jaguars C Brandon Linder injured his back. … Jags rookie CB Tyson Campbell incurred an abdominal injury in the third quarter.
Jaguars: at Tennessee next Sunday.
Rams: at Arizona for Monday night game on Dec. 13.
By Greg Beacham