So much for momentum.
So, what went wrong in the disheartening loss?
ANEMIC OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE
Quarterback Cam Newton went just 9-of-16 for 119 yards with an interception in his third straight inefficient and unproductive performance before being replaced by Jarrett Stidham (5-7, 27 yards, two sacks). Newton also carried the ball seven times for just 16 yards and was sacked four times.
Running back Damien Harris moved the ball pretty well on the ground, gaining 50 yards on 11 carries before leaving with a back injury. Wide receivers Jakobi Meyers (four catches, 47 yards), Damiere Byrd (five catches, 48 yards) and N’Keal Harry (three catches, 49 yards) also had some moments, but it mostly was ugly for a Patriots’ offense that never hit its stride this season with a serious lack of firepower in the skill positions.
Now 6-7 on the season and serious long shots for the postseason, it’s probably too late to find a real identity.
COMPLETE INABILITY TO STOP THE RUN
Rams rookie running back Cam Akers had acres of space to run against a well-blocked Patriots defensive front. Akers gained 171 yards on 29 carries. The Rams totaled 187 yards on 35 carries with a rushing touchdown by quarterback Jared Goff.
Goff went just 16-of-25 for 138 yards with a touchdown and interception. Rams head coach Sean McVay seemed hesitant to let Goff throw, and there was no need to risk any more turnovers from the QB. The Rams’ ground game was working, and LA got off to a hot start, leading 17-0 at the start of the second quarter.
The Patriots’ defense did settle down, and they only let up 17 of the Rams’ 24 points. But the Rams’ rushing attack was able to eat up clock, especially on a nine-minute, 42-second series in the third quarter.