Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher started his post-game press conference by saying, “That was a great win for us for all of those obvious reasons.”
The most obvious being this was the team’s first regular season game back in Los Angeles since 1995. The other obvious reason: their season opener in Santa Clara against the San Francisco 49ers was, in their words, “embarrassing.”
Sunday afternoon, in the hot Southern California sun, after a scorching musical display by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and a soaring rendition of the National Anthem by CeeLo Green, the Los Angeles Rams wanted to get their home, temporary as it is, kicked off in the right direction. Over 91,000 fans jammed into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to cheer for their home team. The Seattle Seahawks are a team that travels well, as the saying goes. Wherever they play there will be a lot of supporters wearing Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman jerseys — and even the occasional Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones jerseys.
But the vast majority of people assembled at the Coliseum were Rams fans, many of them old enough to remember when they Rams played at the Coliseum over 36 years ago. Jeff Fisher remembers when the Rams played at the Coliseum. He grew up in the area, watching players like Deacon Jones, Roman Gabriel, Merlin Olsen and Jack Youngblood, who was still playing when Fisher joined the NFL.
So it was no surprise to see jerseys in the tailgate parties before the game with those old school names on them. As well as the names of Eric Dickerson, Orlando Pace, Marshall Faulk — who attended college at San Diego State University just 125 miles south of the Coliseum.
In the post-game interviews most, if not all, the players and coaches said they did not want to disappoint this fan base, that they deserved to see their team win at home.
Coach Fisher said, “Our first game back here the fans were incredible. It made this a tough place to play starting day one, which was really impressive.”
Quarterback Case Keenum said, “It was good. I thought the crowd was good, it was loud..” he went on to say, “I loved it. The fans — it was awesome. That was really, really cool. I made sure right before I went out in the tunnel, and as I’m running out, just to look around and just to savor that moment and remember. I am going to write that stuff down because I want to remember that forever, It was cool. It was really cool. It may not have been the prettiest game but it was a lot of fun.”
Running back Todd Gurley said, “It was great. They (the fans) had high energy all game. They did a great job.”
Tight end Lance Kendricks said having the crowd in the Coliseum was important. “Having that energy behind us, it helped immensely. When we go three-and-out, hearing them yell when our defense makes a sack, or something, that gives us energy, and that helps us out.”
Linebacker Alec Ogletree told the media, “Really proud of the guys in the locker room, proud of our fans. It was an amazing feeling to be out there today –— it was a historical moment, glad to be a part of it.”
The interesting fact about the two teams, the Seahawks and Rams, is that neither team has scored a touchdown this season. Even more remarkable: the Rams have only scored nine points in two games.
After the game Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll told the media, “I never could have thought that we would go the first couple of weeks and not score one touchdown. I’m just surprised at that and we’re better than that.”
Jeff Fisher had similar sentiments about his team, “You know, there are some realities to where we are right now. We’re 1-1 in the Division and we haven’t scored a touchdown yet. We need to score some touchdowns, so we’ll keep working on that.”
Once again Tavon Austin wasn’t the game-changing element of the offense he is capable of and running back Todd Gurley had a slow game as well. He had 19 carries for 51 yards. Austin had two carries for six yards. But the wide receiver had five catches for 50 yards, one catch gaining 27 yards.
Gurley had one catch for 19 yards, a big play in the second half.
Case Keenum’s most productive target was wide receiver Kenny Britt. They connected on six passes for 94 yards. Britt’s longest play was 36 yards.
The Rams can move the ball in the air. They had a total of 239 passing yards. But the Seahawks, with Russell Wilson under center, passed for 254 yards. He had some big plays with wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who was briefly knocked out of the game. Lockett finished with four receptions and 99 yards.
After the game Wilson told the media, “I told you guys I was going to be ready to roll, I was going to be ready to roll. I had a few runs in there, but like I always tell you guys, I’m not trying to run the ball, I’m just trying to throw the ball at the right timing. You scramble plays, you look forward to see what you can get. They’re a swarming defense, they get to the ball really well, and just got down like I normally do. It was one of those games where I felt really confident. Unfortunately we didn’t come up with a win.”
One of the highlights for the fans was the Rams’ throwback uniforms in the royal blue and yellow. Everyone at the Coliseum appeared to love the look. Case Keenum said, ““I love the throwbacks, I really do. Everybody in the locker rooms loves the throwbacks. Something about that blue and yellow that go together and it was cool. It was cool to see.” He added, “You kept looking up at the scoreboard and there would be somebody else at the game, that you knew and were there and a part of it. I think a lot of people will remember this day. I’ll look back one day to think about how cool it is, but I think it was good to get a win.”
The final score of the game was 9-3, Rams.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.