INGLEWOOD, California – With newcomer Cam Akers running wild through the Rams and his defensive teammates completely choking the Patriots, Los Angeles had a small reward for his embarrassment in the Super Bowl two years ago.
These Rams even looked good enough to fight for a chance for real Super Bowl redemption later this season.
Akers ran for 171 yards in a breakout performance, Kenny Young returned a 79-yard touchdown interception and the Rams won their fourth straight winning streak with a 24-3 win over the New England Patriots on Thursday night .
Jared Goff ran for a touchdown and gave Cooper Kupp a TD pass while NFC West-leader Rams (9-4) achieved a one-sided victory in a rematch of his 13-3 loss in the Super Bowl in February 2019.
“We have a lot of respect for them, but it’s a totally different year,” said Rams coach Sean McVay. “ It has nothing to do with what happened a few years ago. ”
While the Rams’ attack seemed sharp, their defense pushed the Patriots (6-7) dangerously close to disorder. New England managed just 220 yards in total – only 62 in the second half, with a series of wrong shots.
Cam Newton hit 9 out of 16 for 119 yards and was fired four times before the 2015 NFL MVP was replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the last three series in the fourth quarter.
“We knew exactly what they were going to do,” said Newton. “ We have to be better, and it starts with me personally. I have to make more moves. ”
Five days after the Patriots scored 45 points at the SoFi Stadium against the Chargers, New England jeopardized their attempt to get their 12th consecutive playoff berth with just a second defeat in six games.
When asked if he expected to start next week, Newton replied, “ It’s not my decision. ”
Bill Belichick erased the understandable speculation moments later: “ Cam is our quarterback. ”
The Rams had an excellent game of Akers, the second-round pick from the state of Florida, who played an important role in their attack in the past three weeks. Akers’ yards came largely during an NFL rookie’s biggest racing game this season and just the ninth 150-yard game against a Belichick-trained defense since 2000.
“ It’s just (great) to watch that guy really assert himself as a great player for us, ” said McVay. “ You can see that this guy is going to be a very special player for us, and this was a great night for him. ”
Aaron Donald had 1 1/2 sacks to move to the overall NFL leadership with 12 1/2 this season, while leading another strong game of the Los Angeles elite defense, which recorded six sacks and also scored a touchdown in his third game consecutive. The hurried attack by the Pats’ third-placed man only managed 3.7 yards per load.
“We knew they had a great racing game, that they beat people physically, and we took that personally,” said defender Rams’ Michael Brockers, who had two sacks. “ If they came here and ran the ball, we would stop them. ”
New England again struggled to move the ball through the air, and Newton launched his first pick-six of the season to Young, who also had a sack and led the Rams with eight tackles. Stidham scored 5 out of 7 and was fired twice after taking charge at the start of the fourth period.
Despite their recent strong game, the Patriots had seven losses for the first time since 2002, officially ending their NFL record streak of 17 consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins.
The Rams’ first 75-yard TD at SoFi Stadium looked better than anything they did in the Super Bowl. Tyler Higbee and Akers had long wins before Goff leaned over the line in the fourth goal for his fourth touchdown of the season.
An intentional penalty on the ground at Goff and a poorly shot pass intercepted by Myles Bryant of New England kept the Pats deficit manageable from the start. But Young opened the second quarter with an interception by Donald’s interruption in the lead, taking everything back to the first touchdown of the third year linebacker in the NFL.
Kupp’s 2-yard TD catch at the end of the third quarter culminated in a dominant 16-game, 90-yard move by the Rams that included two fourth-down conversions.
“ It really didn’t matter anymore what happened, ” Patriots security Devin McCourty said. “ They were able to run it continuously and get the first descents. It takes you out of the calling game. We managed to do well on the third descents, but it didn’t matter because they did well in the racing game. They took the entire third quarter with the long trip, and we can’t play like that. ”
The Rams will set four consecutive records for victories under McVay, something the franchise hasn’t done since 1983-86 with Eric Dickerson and coach John Robinson. Los Angeles has yet to win McVay’s third playoff spot, but his team will remain at the top of the division with three games to play.
Los Angeles also improved to 33-0 with an advantage at halftime under McVay.
Patriots: S Adrian Phillips injured his hand near the break, but returned in the second half. … RB Damien Harris left the field cautiously in the fourth period.
Rams: K Matt Gay played and didn’t miss a kick, despite a shoulder injury.
Patriots: Visit the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 20.
Rams: Stay home to receive the New York Jets on Sunday, December 20th.