Rams Chargers Start Off Season Strong with Wins
Written by Andrew Goldberg
After a disappointing year of football in 2019, both the Rams and Chargers were hoping to put the past in the rearview mirror as their seasons kicked off this past Sunday. When the dust settled at the end of the night, both teams were able to collect a victory, earning a 1-0 record in what is sure to be an extremely competitive football season.
While many Angelinos many have been reeling at the Clippers second half collapse Sunday afternoon, head coach Anthony Lynn made sure the Chargers were ready to play in their road matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. All eyes were focused on Cincinnati’s number one draft pick Joe Burrow making his first start, but it was the Chargers veteran Tyrod Taylor that would win the day as he marched the Chargers down the field for 10 crucial points in the fourth quarter.
Bolstering Taylor’s solid performance were running backs Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelly, who’s combined 144 rushing yards helped beat back an aggressive Bengals defense. Also making a major impact were pro bowl defensive lineman Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who kept Burrow under pressure all day and finished with a sack and an interception, respectively.
Still, the game was nearly snatched out of the Chargers grasp in the final moments. Left with one last chance, Burrow quickly moved the Bengals down the field and into field goal range with only seconds remaining. On his final attempt of the game, Burrow appeared to connect with wide receiver AJ Green for the game-winning touchdown, only for the score to be taken off the board due to a pass interference penalty.
Down by three, the Bengals sent out kicker Randy Bullock to try and send the game to overtime with a field goal. Despite the short distance, Bullock missed the kick wide right, and appeared to have injured his leg on the attempt. The miss left the Bengals stunned, and the Chargers victorious for the first time in 2020.
A couple hours later, the Rams would begin their quest to earn win number one against a talented Dallas Cowboys squad. It would be an important game for LA, who fell short of expectations last season after reaching the Super Bowl in 2018. The matchup also marked the first ever game played in the beautiful new SoFi Stadium, which will host the Rams and Chargers for years to come. Built at the exorbitant price of $5 billion, the stadium is set to hold Super Bowls and even the Olympics in the coming decade, though it will not be open to fans this season.
As for the on-field action, it was back to business for head coach Sean McVay and company. The former coach of the year had quarterback Jared Goff clicking the entire night, with the Rams taking the ball into the red zone five total times. Goff also benefited from a strong running game. Malcolm Brown, who was tasked with replacing former all-pro running back Todd Gurley, led the charge with 79 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns for LA.
This game also came down to the final moments. Down 20-17, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott completed a long pass downfield to wide receiver Michael Gallup to set the Cowboys up in field goal range with under a minute remaining. Like in the Chargers game, however, a flag was down on the field, and the play was called back due to pass interference. The call was controversial, with the referee’s decision being scrutinized by many fans and the media after the game.
Though not without their flaws, both Los Angeles team’s can feel confident in their ability after a solid debut. Now the test will be to sustain that level of play. The Rams will fly east and face off against the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday, while the Chargers battle the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in their home opener.
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