Nov 20, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is grabbed by New Orleans Saints linebacker Kaden Elliss (55) in the second quarter at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Rams QB Matthew Stafford ruled out for Week 12

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford will miss his second game in three weeks after he was returned to concussion protocol.

Stafford, 34, originally was placed in concussion protocol after a 16-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 6 and ended up missing a 27-17 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 13.

The 14-year veteran, who guided the Rams to the Super Bowl title last season, returned to the field last week but left early in a 27-20 road defeat to the New Orleans Saints.

Changes and injury issues on the offensive line have led to Los Angeles’ disappointing 3-7 record this season. Stafford has passed for 2,087 yards in nine games with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also has been sacked 29 times, one less than he was sacked in 17 games last season.

The Rams started John Wolford in the defeat to the Cardinals, but he struggled by going 24 of 36 for 212 yards and one TD with one interception. Wolford was not active last week with a neck injury.

Undrafted quarterback Bryce Perkins is expected to make his first NFL start in the Rams’ road game Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Perkins, 25, is 6 of 11 for 61 yards in two appearances this season.

Perkins threw for 3,530 yards with 22 TDs and 12 interceptions as a senior at Virginia in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2022; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (3) moves the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.

Nfl Los Angeles Rams At Arizona Cardinals

Rams activate Cam Akers as one of four running backs

The Los Angeles Rams activated running back Cam Akers for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he missed the past two games while in a dispute with the coaching staff.

Akers returns to Tampa Bay where he had a pair of fumbles for the Rams in a divisional-round playoff game last season, won by Los Angeles 30-27.

Akers has 151 yards on 51 carries and one touchdown this season. For his career, he’s recorded 779 yards, three rushing touchdowns and a receiving score.

The Rams selected Akers, 23, in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

“We’re a better team when (Akers) ends up being the guy that we know,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said during the week. “Sometimes you got to be able to work through things and have good conversations. … The most important thing for us is he’s back.”

The Rams also activated running back Ronnie Rivers from the practice squad, as well as tight end Jared Pinkney. Rivers and Akers will be half of the Rams’ four-RB arsenal Sunday with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown also active.

In other moves by Los Angeles, linebacker Travin Howard was activated from injured reserve and tackle Chandler Brewer was elevated from the practice squad.

On Friday, the Buccaneers ruled out safety Antoine Winfield (concussion), receiver Russell Gage (hamstring), guard Luke Goedeke (foot) and tight end Cameron Brate (neck).

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA;  Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (3) carries the ball for a first down before he is forced out of bounds by Atlanta Falcons safety Erik Harris (23) in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Rams RB Cam Akers out Sunday amid personal issue

Running back Cam Akers will not play for the Los Angeles Rams Sunday because of personal reasons, while his future with the team suddenly is clouded.

The third-year back out of Florida State did not practice Thursday and on Friday. Head coach Sean McVay pronounced Akers out of the upcoming home game against the Carolina Panthers.

McVay was asked if team still has plans for Akers down the road.

“We’re working through some different stuff, and we want to keep that in house,” McVay said. “I’ll leave that where it’s at right now as it relates to Cam.”

The Rams’ rushing attack has been nearly non-existent this season following their championship run that culminated in the 2022 Super Bowl. The Rams enter the week last in the NFL with 62.4 yards per game behind Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr.

Akers, 23, has 151 yards rushing on 51 carries with one touchdown in five games (two starts) this season. The minimal production comes a year after Akers missed the first 16 games last season because of a torn Achilles tendon. He was able to contribute 35 all-purpose yards in the Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

In 19 career games (seven starts), Akers has 779 yards rushing on 201 carries with three touchdowns and 16 receptions for 151 yards. As the 52nd overall selection by the Rams in 2020, he was the team’s highest draft pick in the last five years.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) breaks away from Los Angeles Rams cornerback Grant Haley (36) for a touchdown run in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Defense leads the way as Cowboys top Rams

DeMarcus Lawrence returned a fumble for a touchdown as the Dallas Cowboys’ defense led the way in a 22-10 road victory against the host Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

The Cowboys (4-1) won their fourth consecutive game with their defense doing the heavy lifting again.

Running backs Tony Pollard, who gained 86 yards on eight carries, and Ezekiel Elliott, who added 78 yards on 22 attempts, did their parts. That ground attack supported quarterback Cooper Rush, who was 10 of 16 for 102 yards in the air.

Dallas won despite managing only 239 yards of total offense and 10 first downs.

The Rams (2-3) — the reigning Super Bowl champs — have posted just one touchdown between their last two games, dropping both of them. They had 323 yards of offense against Dallas, with only 38 on the ground compared to Dallas’ 163 rushing yards.

Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford was 28 of 42 for 308 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also lost two fumbles, with those coming on the Rams’ first and final possessions of the game.

Brett Maher made field goals of 33, 40 and 36 yards for the Cowboys. His final attempt came with 5:32 left at the end of a drive that chewed nearly six minutes off the clock.

Dallas scored the game’s first nine points off Rams’ miscues. Lawrence had the fumble return after Stafford was sacked. The next Los Angeles possession ended in a blocked punt, with the Cowboys converting that into the first Maher field goal.

The Rams went ahead 10-9 in the second quarter by taking advantage of a rare defensive breakdown by Dallas. Receiver Cooper Kupp turned Stafford’s pass into a 75-yard touchdown play.

Less than two minutes later, the Cowboys were back ahead on Pollard’s 57-yard run.

Trailing 19-10, the Rams could have trimmed the deficit to a single possession, but kicker Matt Gay missed from 51 yards out.

Cowboys starting tight end Dalton Schultz exited the game with an apparent knee injury.

–Field Level Media

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen (55) and offensive tackle David Edwards (73) against the Cincinnati Bengals during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rams to be short two on offensive line vs. 49ers

The Los Angeles Rams will be without center Brian Allen for a third consecutive game on Monday night, while offensive lineman David Edwards also will be out for the road game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cornerbacks David Long Jr. and Cobie Durant will not play either, according to head coach Sean McVay.

Allen (knee) last played in the season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills. Edwards (concussion) will be missing his first game in four seasons with the Rams after starting all 17 regular-season games last season as well as all four in the team’s run to the Super Bowl.

Allen, 26, started 16 games for the Rams last season as well as all four playoff games. In his fifth season out of Michigan State, Allen has started 26 of the 39 regular-season games he has played.

Edwards, 25, has started in 44 of his 52 games with the Rams since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2019 out of Wisconsin.

Long, 24, also missed the Week 3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals with a groin injury and has started in six of his 42 games over four seasons.

Durant, 24, has a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the Arizona game. The rookie out of South Carolina State has seen limited action in the secondary and on special teams in two games this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 8, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws the ball in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rams, Falcons search for answers to avoid 0-2 start

Teams that are coming off losses in different fashions meet on Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams host the Atlanta Falcons at Inglewood, Calif.

The Rams were outscored by 21 in the second half and were dominated by the visiting Buffalo Bills 31-10 in the NFL opener last week. The Falcons squandered a 16-point lead with less than 13 minutes remaining Sunday and fell to the visiting New Orleans Saints, 27-26, on a 51-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining.

Rams coach Sean McVay and Falcons coach Arthur Smith offered different perspectives on their season-opening losses.

“It can be a blessing in disguise when it’s handled the right way,” McVay said. “Adversity is inevitable at some point in the season especially when you play 17 games. For us, it happened in Week 1.”

Smith told reporters: “You’ll continue to write our obituary. Who cares? We have 16 games. You buried us in May. Bury us again. We don’t care. We’ll get back to work.”

The Rams and Falcons have key areas to address in order to prevent an 0-2 start.

The Rams allowed the Bills to average a whopping 7.1 yards per play en route to yielding 413 yards to Buffalo’s high-powered offense. The Rams rushed for 52 yards and quarterback Matt Stafford threw three interceptions on 29-of-41 passing for 240 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked seven times.

The score would have been more lopsided had it not been for Cooper Kupp, who tied a career-high with 13 receptions for 128 yards and scored the Rams’ lone touchdown.

“I’m excited about the opportunity for this team to respond right away,” McVay said. “That was definitely a humbling night, a humbling experience for us. … You know that humility is only a day away in this league.”

Atlanta had a win in its grasp. leading 23-10 and had a third-and-5 from New Orleans’ 14-yard line with about three minutes left in the third quarter. Quarterback Marcus Mariota scrambled and picked up the first down before he was hit by safety Marcus Maye, who jarred the ball loose at the 5-yard line. Tyrann Mathieu recovered for New Orleans.

With the Falcons leading 26-24 with 1:40 left in the game and facing a third-and-1 from the Saints’ 42-yard line, Mariota fumbled the snap and was swarmed. If Mariota would have picked up the first down, the Falcons could’ve taken a knee since the Saints exhausted all timeouts.

Five plays and 47 yards later, Will Lutz hit a 51-yard field goal with 19 seconds left that ultimately lifted the Saints to a 27-26 win. The Falcons had one last-gasp chance at victory but Younghoe Koo’s 63-yard field goal was blocked by Payton Turner as time expired.

Since 2020, Atlanta has lost three times in eight games in which it led by more than 15 points in the fourth quarter. The rest of the league is a combined 245-2-1 in the same situation, according to si.com.

Mariota went 20-of-33 passing for 215 yards in his Falcons debut, while Cordarrelle Patterson rushed for a career-high 120 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. He also had three catches for 16 yards.

Rookie first-round draft pick Drake London caught a team-high five passes – on seven targets – for 74 yards.

“We can’t let this one game define us,” Patterson said. “We didn’t get the ‘W’ that we wanted, but we have to keep working hard.”

Rams center Bryan Allen came away with a knee injury against Buffalo and is expected to miss two-to-four weeks. He will be replaced by right guard Coleman Shelton, with Tremayne Anchrum taking Shelton’s spot.

Rams receiver Van Jefferson, who missed Week 1 recovering from offseason procedures to his left knee, is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

–Field Level Media

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) cannot catch a pass against Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple (20) in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rams WR Van Jefferson ruled out for opener vs. Bills

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson has been ruled out of Thursday night’s season-opening game against the Buffalo Bills as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery.

Jefferson, 26, had 50 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns last season, then added nine receptions for 102 yards in four playoff games. He caught four passes for 23 yards in the 23-20 Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jefferson had surgery in the offseason to repair a nagging injury from the 2021 season and then aggravated the issue in training camp, necessitating a second procedure in early August.

Jefferson is expected to be Los Angeles’ No. 3 wide receiver this season behind Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson.

Jefferson was the only Rams player listed on the Week 1 injury report.

–Field Level Media

Rams defensive tackle Jonah Williams attempts to hold back Aaron Donald during a brawl during the joint practice against the Bengals.

Syndication The Enquirer

Rams DT Aaron Donald turning focus toward season opener

A week and a half after he was at the center of a helmet-swinging fiasco at practice, Los Angeles Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald is trying to keep his focus forward on a season-opening matchup against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday.

Donald, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, spoke to the assembled media for the first time since the incident at an Aug. 25 joint practice with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Video and photos of the incidents showed Donald holding Bengals helmets in both hands and repeatedly swinging one of them during a scrum before getting knocked to the ground.

“I’m happy nobody got hurt in the practice and whatever, but my main focus is Thursday night against Buffalo,” Donald said.

No fines or suspensions were announced from the NFL and the Rams said they would handle their discipline internally. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris confirmed that the team did discipline Donald, but offered no details.

“You don’t want to swing a helmet at anybody; you don’t want that on your resume,” Morris said. “But those things happen in practices. They’re mistakes, they’re errors and they’re correctable.”

Since helping the Rams to a Super Bowl title in February in a 23-20 victory, Donald received a $40 million raise to make him the highest paid non-quarterback in the NFL. He will receive a guaranteed $65 million over the next two seasons.

Even with the healthy raise and his first Super Bowl title, Donald showed in the incident with the Bengals he has not lost any of his famed intensity.

“Everybody protected each other, everybody got out of the situation clean, healthy,” said Donald, who had a career-best 84 tackles last season to go along with 12.5 sacks. That’s what mattered.”

Donald’s three Defensive Player of the Year awards are tied for most in NFL history. He was also the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 after the Rams made him the 13th overall draft pick out of Pitt. In the seven years that followed, he was named a first-team All-Pro seven times.

Donald has 98 sacks in his eight NFL seasons and has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his eight NFL seasons.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) is assisted to the sideline by free safety Quandre Diggs (6) following an injury against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Lumen Field. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) follows behind Wagner and Diggs. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Rams sign LB Bobby Wagner to 5-year, $50M deal

Free agent linebacker Bobby Wagner agreed to a five-year, $50 million contract with the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, ESPN reported Thursday.

The deal, which keeps the longtime Seattle Seahawks star in the NFC West, can be worth up to $65 million with incentives, per the report.

The NFL Network said that Wagner, who acts as his own agent, confirmed the signing.

Wagner was released by the Seahawks on March 9, the same date the franchise agreed to trade Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos

The eight-time Pro Bowl selection and defensive captain spent his entire career with the Seahawks and had a career-high 170 tackles in 2021 despite missing time with a knee injury. The 10-year veteran added one sack, one interception and one forced fumble in 16 starts.

Wagner, who will turn 32 this summer, made his initial voyage into free agency on the heels of suffering MCL and PCL sprains in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions, although he is expected to be healthy for the 2022 regular season.

The Seahawks drafted the Utah State product in the second round in 2012, one round ahead of Wilson, ushering in a successful run of nine straight winning seasons until Seattle fell to 7-10 in 2021.

Wagner flourished as part of the “Legion of Boom” defense in Seattle, leading the league in tackles twice (2016, 2019) and compiling 161 more tackles than any other NFL player over the past 10 seasons.

In his career, Wagner owns 1,383 tackles, 23.5 sacks, 11 interceptions and four defensive touchdowns in 151 games (150 starts).

–Field Level Media