LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff had plenty of reps Saturday in the second preseason game, struggling initially with the first-team offense but seemingly getting comfortable as the night went on in the Rams’ 21-20 comeback victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Rams’ secondary struggled in the first half, but the defense held Kansas City’s reserves scoreless in the second. Star running back Todd Gurley played in his first NFL preseason game and scored a touchdown in his only possession, and Goff threw his first career touchdown pass for the winning score with a little over 10 minutes left in the game.
The Chiefs had the ball for 13 more minutes than the Rams.
“Not enough snaps,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “But we got a lot done offensively, especially in the run game.”
QB depth chart: Case Keenum — yes, he is still the starter — had another solid night, completing 4-of-5 passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Goff finished 8-for-12 for 82 yards and a touchdown of his own — a 10-yard strike to Malcolm Brown, culminating a fourth-quarter possession that saw Goff go 3-for-3 for 34 yards. But Goff struggled with the first team, taking a couple of sacks and losing a key fumble.
Maybe that dude could start: Rookie wide receiver Pharoh Cooper might have already solidified himself as the No. 3 receiver. The fourth-round pick was used in early three-receiver sets, alongside Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin. On the Rams’ second possession, Cooper ran out to the flat, caught a pass from Keenum and stretched to the pylon for an 11-yard touchdown. Cooper is only listed at 5-foot-11, 207 pounds, but he is fearless and physical, and potentially great after the catch.
Who got hurt? Second-year wide receiver Bradley Marquez was helped off the field in the Rams’ first possession of the second half, hurting himself after catching a short pass from Goff, and was wearing a brace after the game. He was scheduled to undergo further testing. Less than two minutes later, defensive end Ethan Westbrooks was hurt on a chop block by the Chiefs but was able to walk off on his own power.
A surprise player who impressed: With Robert Quinn out, Matt Longacre initially rotated with Westbrooks at defensive end and looked good, consistently bringing pressure on Chiefs starting quarterback Alex Smith. The Rams’ defensive line is loaded, but Longacre — who played in five games for the Rams as an undrafted free agent last season — could crack the rotation if he continues to play well.
When it was starters vs. starters, the Rams looked …: Efficient on offense, dangerous on the defensive lane, and shaky in the secondary. Gurley played in only one possession, but it was a good one, rushing four times for 20 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown run. Star defensive tackle Aaron Donald consistently beat double teams, and Michael Brockers, Cam Thomas and Quinton Coples each recorded sacks. But Smith went 9-for-12 for 137 yards. On one possession, top cornerback Trumaine Johnson got beat downfield by Chris Conley for a 37-yard pass play and Jeremy Maclin easily caught a 20-yard touchdown pass across the middle, with a mix-up in zone coverage by the secondary.
One reason to be concerned: Goff did not look comfortable while playing with the first team. The 21-year-old fumbled on his first possession, tripping while trying to step out of the pocket and giving the Chiefs the ball at the Rams’ 16-yard line. On his second, he took a sack on third down. On his third, he scrambled to his left, was late throwing the ball out of bounds and instead took an awkward sack in which he also lost the football. Goff entered halftime with zero net yards.
Penalty woes: Fisher raved about the limited amount of penalties in Week 1 of the preseason. But the Rams — ranked in the bottom eight in penalty yards per game in each of Fisher’s four seasons as coach — committed nine of them in Week 2, the same as the Chiefs. At one point, Maclin and Rams cornerback Lamarcus Joyner
were ejected for fighting.
Ground and pound: The Rams’ depth at running back showed once again, with Gurley, Brown and Benjamin Cunningham combining for 126 yards on 20 carries. They seem to be in good shape even without Tre Mason, who had several run-ins with police throughout the offseason and hasn’t been around the team all year.
Familiar faces: Nick Foles, who started 11 games for the Rams last season and was cut in late July, had a nice night, going 18-for-22 with 133 yards. Foles methodically led the Chiefs down field toward the end of the first half, going 85 yards on 16 plays before a field goal.