Rams lose time battle against Eagles

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (News4usonline) – Los Angeles Rams linebacker Ernest Jones had a monster game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5. For the game, Jones accounted for 15 tackles as he led the Rams in tackles.

Unfortunately, the defensive prowess that Jones displayed against the Eagles was not enough for the Rams to come away with their third win (2-3) of the season. Using a ball-controlled offense, the Eagles peeled away 37 minutes and 55 seconds in time possession to dominate the clock and play keep away from the Rams offense.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) goes back to pass against the defense of the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 8, 2023. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline

Los Angeles only had the ball for a little over 22 minutes. The time differential played into Philadelphia’s favor and the Eagles walked into SoFi Stadium and came away with a 23-14 win. While Philadelphia ramped up 454 yards in total offense, the Rams’ defense held the Eagles to just 33 percent efficiency (2 out of 6) in the red zone.

“I feel like we played well. We just didn’t do enough out in the field…third down we’ve got to keep containment, get after Jalen (Hurts) a little bit more, and tackle. That’s the biggest thing,” Jones said after the game.

The matchup between the Rams and the Eagles represented the last two NFC Conference champions being pitted against one another. The Rams took the conference crown two years ago on their way to winning Super Bowl LVI. The Eagles claimed the conference title last season before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII.

Coming into Week 5, the Eagles were undefeated. The Rams were coming off the highs of beating an Indianapolis Colts team in overtime on the road in Week 4 to even their record at 2-2. The Eagles are still undefeated. But the Rams didn’t make it easy for Hurts and the Eagles.

After giving up 17 points in the first half, the Rams held the Eagles to just two field goals in the fourth quarter. For Jones, there was not anything positive he could take from playing the Eagles close.

“Nah, not for me,” Jones said. “We lost. It was just…we lost. We didn’t play well defensively to help the team enough…can’t allow a team to go down in 37, or 38 seconds and score a touchdown right before the half. Got to execute a lot better.”

The pivotal sequence of plays of the game took place right before the second quarter expired. With 32 seconds left in the period, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford hit rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Instead of walking into their locker room and preparing for the second half, the Eagles had scoring on their mind.

With the Rams up 14-10, and with just 32 seconds left on the clock, Hurts and the Eagles, aided by two defensive penalties moved into scoring position with two seconds left in the second period. Behind his massive offensive line, Hurts pushed himself into the endzone, giving the Eagles a 17-14 advantage.

Instead of riding the momentum in their favor coming out for the third quarter, the Rams had to wonder what the heck happened.

Los Angeles Rams running back Tyren Williams (23) eludes a Philadelphia Eagles defender during an NFL game played by the two teams on Oct. 8, 2023. Williams rushed for 53 yards on 13 carries in the Rams’ 23-14 defeat to the Eagles. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline

“That was tough and those will be things that we’ve got to be able to look at and it was almost identical to the way that things played out against the 49ers,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “It was, in some instances, déjà vu. We got to figure out, alright, how can we be better in some of those situations? Like I said, you got to play four quarters. No matter what the heck happened in the first half, it’s alright, well how do we figure out how to sustain a drive, score points offensively when we get the ball coming out in the second half? How do we play off one another?” 

There were opportunities for the Rams’ defense to come up with the big play by putting the Eagles in third-and-long situations but Hurts and his Philadelphia team made more plays than not. Philadelphia wound up converting 13 of 18 third-down tries (72 percent). Those third-down conversions allowed the Eagles to control the clock with long, time-consuming drives.

“They prolonged a lot of drives,” defensive lineman Kobie Turner said. “We had them where we wanted them. We got a lot of third and longs, but one (Hurts) is elusive back there and we got to do a better job tackling. Personally, I’ve got to do a better job getting to the quarterback in the first place. We got him off the spot a little bit, but we got to get him down, and capitalize on those third-and-long situations.”