Final, Rams 24-3: Four days after throttling the Los Angeles Chargers 45-0 at SoFi Stadium, the New England Patriots were run out of the same building by the Los Angeles Rams, losing 24-3 to effectively crush their playoff hopes.
The three points were a season low for New England. Starting quarterback Cam Newton completed 9 of 16 passes for 119 yards and a pick-six before being benched early in the fourth quarter. Jarrett Stidham went 5-for-7 for 27 yards in relief.
The Patriots reached the red zone four times and emerged from those drives with just three points. They also lost lead back Damien Harris to a back injury, the severity of which was not immediately clear.
New England’s defense held up well for stretches but couldn’t escape an early 10-0 hole. Rookie running back Cam Akers racked up 171 rushing yards for L.A., and a 16-play, 88-yard Rams touchdown drive in the third quarter put the game out of reach.
Now 6-7 on the season — their first seven-loss season since 2002 –the Patriots will visit Brian Flores’ Miami Dolphins next Sunday.
Fourth quarter, 7:15, Rams 24-3: Jarrett Stidham drove the Patriots into the red zone after a 21-yard Gunner Olszewski set them up with solid field position. They again came up empty, however, with Troy Hill breaking up a pass intended for Devin Asiasi on fourth down.
That was the first target of Asiasi’s NFL career — and a good ball by Stidham.
Joe Thuney also surrendered a rare sack earlier in the drive. This has been a tough night for New England’s usually stout O-line.
Fourth quarter, 10:12, Rams 24-3: Now in at quarterback for the Patriots: Jarrett Stidham.
Cam Newton has been benched. His final line: 9-for-16, 119 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, four sacks.
Fourth quarter, 11:53, Rams 24-3: The Patriots went three-and-out again, and they might have lost Damien Harris.
The standout running back suffered an injury during New England’s most recent drive, then was able to walk off the field with team trainers.
That’s the last thing this sputtering offense needs.
Fourth quarter, 14:51, Rams 24-3: Three plays, 5 yards, punt.
Third quarter, 1:33, Rams 24-3: The Rams added to their lead while draining nearly 10 minutes off the clock.
This was a reversion to L.A.’s early-game offensive success, with Cam Akers gobbling up yards in a run game. The Patriots are missing tackles, their front-seven players are getting blasted off the line, and their defensive backs are getting bullied by the Rams’ wideouts, all of whom have been willing blockers.
An inexcusable neutral zone infraction by Akeem Spence on fourth-and-1 inside the 5 extended the 16-play, 88-yard drive, which Jared Goff capped one play later with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp.
This one might be out of reach for the Patriots. That marathon drive felt like a backbreaker.
Third quarter, 11:15, Rams 17-3: The opening possession of the second half featured another impressive contested catch by N’Keal Harry and some solid running by Damien Harris, but it ended in a punt after Cam Newton and Harry couldn’t connect on a third-down deep ball.
Cornerback Troy Hill might’ve gotten away with a hold on the play.
Left tackle Jermaine Eluemunor had a rough go, allowing sacks to Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald in a five-play span.
The Patriots’ defense will need to deliver another stop here.
Halftime, Rams 17-3: That’ll do it for the first half.
After a brutal start on both sides of the ball, the Patriots found their footing in the second quarter. They drove into the red zone twice on offense, and their defense’s final three drives went interception, punt, punt.
The Patriots still have a 14-point gap to close, however. They’ll get the ball first after halftime.
Second quarter, 1:04, Rams 17-3: Helped along by a lunging contested catch by N’Keal Harry on third down, the Patriots drove into the red zone again before having to settle for a field goal.
They’ve come away from their consecutive red-zone trips with just three points, but these last two drives have been a positive step forward after the way this game started. The Patriots also will receive the second-half kickoff.
Second quarter, 6:48, Rams 17-0: Even down 17, the Patriots aren’t straying from their run-heavy game plan.
Their latest drive featured 13 snaps (including one penalty) and 11 running plays. They did find some success on the ground, but Cam Newton was stuffed while running an option on fourth-and-goal from the 2, resulting in a turnover on downs.
Erasing this 17-point deficit is going to be very difficult unless New England can manufacture some semblance of a passing game.
Second quarter, 14:46, Rams 17-0: So much for a momentum shift.
Three plays after Bryant’s interception, Cam Newton overthrew a screen pass. The result: a 79-yard pick-six for Kenny Young.
First quarter, 0:45, Rams 10-0: The first interception of Myles Bryant’s young career set the Patriots up with prime field position in Rams territory.
The undrafted rookie defensive back wrestled the ball away from veteran receiver Robert Woods.
Bryant, who started the season on the practice squad, quietly has taken on a significant role in New England’s secondary over the last four or five games.
The interception initially was ruled a pick-six, but Bryant was ruled down upon video review.
First quarter, 3:48, Rams 10-0: New England’s first two possessions: six plays, 9 yards, two punts.
The Patriots have had zero success moving the ball against this formidable Rams defense.
First quarter, 5:16, Rams 10-0: The Patriots were fortunate to surrender just a field goal on the Rams’ second possession.
Cam Akers continues to chew them up on the ground — he’s already up to 83 yards on just eight carries — but an intentional grounding penalty on Jared Goff forced L.A. into a second-and-20 that it could not escape.
On the positive side, impressive rookie Josh Uche made a few nice plays on that latest drive, hitting Goff once and dropping Akers for a short gain.
First quarter, 9:47, Rams 7-0: The Rams ripped off big plays on each of their first two snaps: a 25-yard catch-and-run by Tyler Higbee followed by a 35-yard run by Cam Akers.
Akers reached the 10-yard line before being dragged down. The Patriots’ defense stiffened in the red zone — Jonathan Jones and J.C. Jackson had a great double-team tackle of Cooper Kupp at the 6-inch line on third-and-goal — but Jared Goff scored on a fourth-down QB sneak to open the scoring.
Goff and Sean McVay exploited a personnel mismatch on that scoring play:
The Patriots’ offense followed with a three-and-out.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Patriots won the coin toss and deferred. It’ll be Rams ball as they get underway at SoFi Stadium.
8:10 p.m.: FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer shared an update on Cam Newton’s abdomen injury during the network’s pregame show.
?Cam Newton?s been on the injury list the last couple of weeks with an abdominal strain,” Glazer said. “A lot of time when Bill Belichick puts somebody on the injury list, you?re like, ?That?s just him trying to be Bill Belichick.? But that actually has not been the case with Cam.
“I?m told that, in fact, he has been struggling with that abdominal injury. It?s caused him an awful lot of pain for the last couple of weeks here, but because (the Patriots) have the short week, they forced him to rest. And as a result, today, he felt better than he has the last three weeks.”
Newton is active tonight.
7:10 p.m.: Here are tonight’s Patriots inactives:
— Cornerback J.C. Jackson and corner/safety Jonathan Jones both are active after leaving last week’s game with injuries. That’s a big boost for New England’s secondary against L.A.’s deep pool of offensive weapons.
— With Jordan Thomas sitting out as a healthy scratch, the Patriots will roll with their rookies at tight end. Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene are active together for the first time this season. Usual starter Ryan Izzo was placed on IR this afternoon.
— Terrence Brooks is a healthy scratch for the second consecutive week. Kyle Dugger’s emergence has pushed the veteran safety out of the rotation.
— Outside linebacker Tashawn Bower is active after sitting out last week with an illness.
Kicker Matt Gay (questionable, shoulder) was the only Rams player listed on their final injury report of the week. He’s active.
6 p.m. ET: Who’s ready for some Thursday night football?
In just under 2 1/2 hours, the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will square off in a rematch of Super Bowl LIII, which New England won 13-3 in an unforgettable defensive performance.
Tonight’s game is a must-win for the 6-6 Patriots, who likely need to finish no worse than 10-6 to have a chance at a playoff spot in the competitive AFC. The 8-4 Rams, who are five-point favorites, lead the NFC West and sit third in the NFC standings.
In a notable pregame roster move, the Patriots placed starting tight end Ryan Izzo on injured reserve and activated rookie Devin Asiasi, who has not played since Week 6. Izzo had been listed as questionable with hamstring, hand and neck injuries, the latter of which he suffered during last week’s 45-0 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
New England’s stable of available tight ends now features Asiasi, fellow 2020 third-round draft pick Dalton Keene and third-year pro Jordan Thomas. Their combined receiving totals for the Patriots this season: one catch, one target, 8 yards (by Keene in Week 7).
Thirteen other Patriots players were listed as questionable, including cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones. Inactives will be announced at 6:50 p.m. ET.
Click the link below to read our full game preview, and follow along here throughout the night for up-to-the-minute coverage. Kickoff at SoFi Stadium is set for 8:20 p.m. ET.