The Los Angeles Rams could not overcome their first half mistakes and fell to the AFC leading Tennessee Titans on Sunday Night Football with a score of 16-28. Despite not having Derrick Henry the Titans defense played lights out and absolutely stunned LA’s high-powered offense. In just the first half alone the Titans already had four sacks and two interceptions as Stafford looked uncomfortable all night. Here is how it all went down.
LA got the ball to start the game and began their first drive of the night on the 25-yard line after a touchback. Stafford’s first throw of the game went eight yards to Cooper Kupp and his second went 14 yards to Robert Woods but following the completions the usually impenetrable Rams offensive line allowed two sacks in a row that derailed LA’s first opportunity for points.
Though the Titans defense looked strong in their first action on the field the Rams defense would not be outclassed. On Tannehill’s second pass of the night Jalen Ramsey came away with his third pick of the season.
Following the interception Stafford led his team to the 20 yard line with not only his arm but also his legs. On a third-and-6 the Titans showed great coverage downfield and Stafford found a hole for a 13 yard gain. Tennessee’s defensive line continued to give the Rams issues when Denico Autry batted down a Stafford pass in the red zone. Matt Gay got his first points of the game to give LA the first lead of the match by three.
Score: Rams 3, Titans 0
After great play from both defenses it was the Rams offense that made the first big mistake of the game. Backed up in their own endzone Stafford got caught off guard by a delayed rusher who came through the middle. As the Rams veteran QB was falling to the field he attempted to throw the ball away but instead found a wide open Tennessee defender. On the next play Tannehill connected with Geoff Swaim who was on his own personal island in the end zone for the touchdown.
Then the second big mistake happened. On the first play of LA’s next drive Stafford got fooled by Tennessee’s coverage and Kevin Byard snagged the ball out of the air and took it to the house for the pick-six.
A smothering Titan defense kept punter Johnny Hekker busy during the first half. After forcing yet another punt Tennessee put together a methodical 16 play series with some help from Ram penalties. On fourth-and-1 at the one yard line Tannehill walked into the end zone to put the Titans up by 18 points.
Score: Rams 3, Titans 21
Down 18-points and Tennessee receiving the kick to start the half the Rams would need their defense to come to life to keep the game within reach. They got just that as LA forced Tannehill and company off the field. LA’s offense finally got some momentum due to some heavy play-action play calls from head coach Sean McVay.
At the Titans four yard line on third-and-4 Stafford found tight end Tyler Higbee in the back of the endzone for the touchdown... which was then called back because of an illegal touching call. McVay played the fourth down safe and Gay’s second kick of the game was good from 22-yards out.
Score: Rams 6, Titans 21
It would be a slow climb up for the Rams to attempt the comeback. Unable to punch the ball in the end zone on any of their red zone trips the home team settled for field goals. To start the fourth quarter Gay hit a 54-yard field goal, his third on the night.
The defense would continue to keep their team in the game as the Titans offense struggled to get anything going in the second half. With 8:48 left in the game LA’s offense took the field in hopes of getting their first touchdown of the game to make it a 12-point game. The Titans had other plans. Stafford was able to convert a third-and-11 to keep the drive alive but on a fourth-and-1 could not convert due more pressure from Tennessee.
Following the turnover-on-downs Los Angeles got called for two roughing the passer penalties that kept the Titans drive alive. After a Julio Jones connection that got the Titans in the red zone Adrian Peterson got his first touchdown in a Tennessee uniform that effectively put the game out of reach.
It would not be until the last minute of the game for one of the best offenses in the NFL to score their only touchdown of the game. Stafford found Sony Michel in the middle of the end zone for the score.
Final Score: Titans 28, Rams 16