Rams stay undefeated, defeat Chargers in first-ever "Battle for L.A."
LOS ANGELES, CA- For the first time since 1994, NFL football is finally back in the city of angels. The inaugural “Battle for L.A.” featured third-year Rams star quarterback Jared Goff torching the Chargers defense, in a 35-23 victory.
Goff completed 29 of his 36 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns, while Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley led the Rams ground attack with 105 yards and one score. Leading 21 to 13 early in the third quarter, Goff tossed a 53-yard bomb to Cooper Kupp. Quarterback Philip Rivers responded nearly four minutes later for the Chargers, completing a 20-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams.
Leading by eight points, an 11 play, 77-yard drive capped off by Robert Woods’ second touchdown catch of the day sealed the Rams third straight win. “Tough, hard-earned win today against a great football team,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “[The] defense ended up having to have some tough stops against what we know is a great offense.”
Rivers threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns, including a 42-yard first quarter dart to Williams. Two of Williams’ four receptions (81 yards) were touchdowns. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon gained 80 yards and one score on 15 carries. “It’s not an every Sunday occurrence (that) you see the ball going up and down on that defense, like we were able to do,” Rivers said. “I leave this game encouraged,” he added.
Since moving from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2016, the Chargers have compiled a 10-9 record in their 2017 season, and are 1-2 overall this season. San Diego’s only NFL team spent 56 years in the city before departing for the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The Chargers current home only seats 27,000 people, but a new stadium is currently being constructed in Hollywood Park that will house both the Chargers and Rams. The Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park (LASED) will span nearly 300 acres and hold more than 70,000 people.
The Rams called Cleveland home for nine years in the 1930’s and 40’s, before moving to Los Angeles in 1946. Fourty-eight years of Los Angeles football ended in 1994, when the Rams traveled to St. Louis, Missouri. A 2016 return to Los Angeles brought excitement back to the franchise, but few wins. After a 4-9 start, the Rams fired coach Jeff Fisher and hired Sean McVay.
Just 32 years-old, McVay has brought a resurgence to the organization. His first season at the helm saw the Rams grab their first NFC West division title since 2003 and a 11-5 record. The Rams acquired several big-name talents throughout the offseason, including cornerback Marcus Peters and deep threat Brandin Cooks. A perfect 3-0 start to 2018 has brought Super Bowl level expectations to the Rams, as the franchise tries to capture their first championship since 2000.