Battle of L.A. goes to Rams, but injuries to Peters, Talib mar another offensive onslaught

September 24, 2018

The Los Angeles’ Rams offense had it all working again in Week 3, with Jared Goff and Co. taking Round 1 of the battle for L.A., 35-23 over the Chargers, after racking up 521 yards — the franchise’s most since 2006.

Though mounting injuries on ‘D,’ where L.A.’s new lockdown corners, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, departed early with ankle injuries, initially marred the win, the early tests show that Peters avoided serious injury. After initial concern regarding a ruptured Achilles, Peters has been diagnosed with a strained calf and will undergo an MRI on Monday, Pro Football Talk first reported.

Talib was able to get off the field under his own power after having his ankle rolled up late in the third quarter. The Rams also played the second half without OLB Dominique Easley, who suffered a knee injury and has multiple torn ACLs in his medical history.

For now, the Rams will relish moving to 3-0 after Goff tossed three touchdowns — including two to Robert Woods — and responded following an interception in the second quarter and missed FG attempt by Sam Ficken in his first game since replacing injured PK Greg Zuerlein. Goff had a career-high 29 completions on 36 attempts, good for 354 yards and a 123.8 rating. Todd Gurley had 156 yards from scrimmage, including 23-105-1 on the ground in his 14th career 100-rushing yard day.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers and second-year wide receiver Mike Williams had success on the Rams’ secondary even prior to both corners going down. Williams had his first two-TD outing, including a 20-yarder on fourth-and-2 late in the third quarter, which briefly made it a one-score game; Rivers finished 18-of-30 for 226 yards, including the two scoring strikes to Williams.

However, the Chargers had plenty of self-inflicted wounds, including a missed PAT by new PK Caleb Sturgis and a key lost fumble by Keenan Allen on the opening possession of the second half of a 21-13 game. The Rams capitalized three plays later, when Goff hit Cooper Kupp on a 53-yard touchdown, and never looked back.

Now Sean McVay’s club looks ahead to a short week before hosting the Minnesota Vikings, coming off the day’s most stunning upset, on “Thursday Night Football,” perhaps without Peters and Talib. The CB depth rose up Sunday with Sam Shields making a key late pass breakup in the end zone with the Chargers trying to rally. But even Allen and ascending Mike Williams don’t form quite the tandem that Minnesota will bring to town in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.

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