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2020 Rams Recall: A Week 3 loss to the Bills

The comeback that wasn’t

Los Angeles Rams v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

It was one of the most exciting games of 2020, but not a day that the LA Rams want to remember unless they’re correcting their mistakes of how it started and how it ended. The Rams did a lot of things well in Week 3 — the 478 yards of total offense turned out to be a season-high and Darrell Henderson had a career-high in rushing yards — but also a lot of things wrong. Especially on third-and-long.

It’s hard to remember everything that happened last season, so that’s what we’re doing in Rams Recall. Onto Week 3.

Week 1 - Win over the Cowboys

Week 2 - Win over the Eagles

Week 3 - LA Rams at Buffalo Bills

Important Personnel Notes:

  • David Edwards is now starter at left guard.
  • Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson split reps at 34 snaps each.
  • Jordan Fuller goes OUT early and is replaced by Taylor Rapp.

The comeback that didn’t stayahead.

Despite forcing a three-and-out to start the game, then Darrell Henderson and Jared Goff driving well into Buffalo territory, back-to-back sacks and a missed Sam Sloman field goal set off a furious run that gave the Bills a 21-3 lead at halftime. Josh Allen had two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown in the first half, while Goff was intercepted early in the second quarterback Levi Wallace, erasing good field position.

The barely two-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter, Sean McVay decides to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Bills 48 and Goff’s pass goes incomplete for the third play in a row. Allen added his fourth touchdown of the game five minutes later, throwing a four-yard score to Stefon Diggs to put Buffalo ahead 28-3.

But then Goff ran for a touchdown, Allen was intercepted by John Johnson, and Robert Woods caught a 25-yard score a minute later. Woods and Cooper Kupp came up big again on the next drive, with Woods hauling in a 31-yard grab on third-and-8, and Kupp gaining 17 yards on third-and-11, also finishing the drive with a 16-yard touchdown.

After an Aaron Donald strip-sack and recovery, the Rams were setup in Buffalo territory on their next drive, and that series ended on a Henderson run into the end zone from one-yard out.

At that moment, the Rams took a 32-28 lead with only 4:30 remaining.

Key Play:

LA has a 32-28 lead, there’s 3:20 remaining, and the Bills are facing third-and-22 from their own 31. It seems like the Rams are a moment away from forcing a punt and putting Buffalo in a position to burn all their timeouts while on defense. Instead, Josh Allen shows why he’d become a popular MVP candidate in 2020, finding Cole Beasley for a 22-yard gain just when they needed it.

That wasn’t the official Rams killer though. The Bills also faced third-and-25 later on the drive, but Allen hit Stefon Diggs for a 17-yard gain, then Darious Williams was called for pass interference on fourth-and-8. That penalty gave Buffalo the ball on the Rams 3 and unsurprisingly, Allen is able to score from there on a pass to a tight end.

There were nine touchdowns in this game and seven of them were from four yards out or less. The two plays longer both came via Jared Goff passes.

Goff was still playing well at this point in the season and his 10 yards per pass attempt would be the second-highest mark of any game he had in 2020. He finished 23-of-32 for 321 yards with two touchdowns in the air, plus a third on the ground. Darrell Henderson rushed for a career-high 114 yards and it remains his only game with at least 90. This was the first of three 100-yard games by Kupp. Donald had two sacks.

LA’s 478 total yards of offense was a season-high, but it was the only time during the regular season in which the Rams gave up more than 28 points. Allen finished with five total touchdowns.

Final Score: Bills 32, Rams 28

Up next: 2-1 Rams vs 0-3 NY Giants