Ram it home: Los Angeles complete triumphant return to Memorial Stadium against Seattle Seahawks
Greg Zuerlein kicks three field goals as the LA Rams beat the Seahawks 9-3 in their 2016 home opener
Greg Zuerlein kicked three field goals as the Los Angeles Rams made a triumphant return to Memorial Coliseum on Sunday by beating the Seattle Seahawks 9-3 in their 2016 home opener.
The Rams rebounded from a humiliating season-opening loss on the road to San Francisco by winning a defensive battle over the 2014 Super Bowl champion Seahawks in the first NFL game in Los Angeles since 1994.
Zuerlein went three-for-three, kicking field goals of 47, 39 and 28 yards for the Rams.
The low-scoring contest is the latest milestone in a homecoming that was only confirmed in January, when NFL owners voted 30-2 to approve the Rams’ return to Los Angeles from St. Louis.
Quarterback Case Keenum completed 18-of-30 passes for 239 yards for the Rams, who were shut out in their season opener 28-0 by the San Francisco 49ers.
“You know, I like touchdowns, but I love winning,” said Keenum, whose offence has averaged just 4.5 points over the first two games of the season.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed 22-of-35 passes for 253 yards, including a precision 53 yarder to Tyler Lockett which got Seattle to the Rams’ 35 yard line with 1:49 remaining.
But less than a minute later linebacker Alec Ogletree recovered a Seahawk fumble and the Rams held on for the victory.
“It kind of happened all so fast,” said Ogletree of the fumble recovery. “I just ran it down. We were able to get the ball out and give our offence back the ball to get in victory formation.”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers got festivities started on Sunday in front of the announced crowd of 91,046 at the Memorial Coliseum with a pre-game concert followed by singer CeeLo Green singing the Star-Spangled Banner.
Those lucky enough to snag tickets had to dig deep into their pockets for the privilege with the average ticket selling for $245 according to seatgeek.com.
A can of beer at the concession cost $14, a bottle of water $7 and parking next to the stadium $80.
The Rams will play their next three seasons out of one of North America’s most iconic sporting venues. The 93-year-old Coliseum has hosted two Olympic opening ceremonies in 1932 and 1984.
The Rams will eventually move into a gleaming 70,000-seat stadium being built in the nearby suburb of Inglewood.
“I love the fact they are playing this game at the Coliseum,” said long-time Rams fan Ted Sams, as he made his way to his seat. “I am going to hate it when they move to the new stadium.”
The Rams wore their throwback blue and gold uniforms. Although they have five decades of history in southern California there is a generation of NFL fans in Los Angeles who have no connection to the team that spent 21 seasons playing in St. Louis.
It was just the second time the Rams and Seahawks have faced off in the Coliseum, with the other meeting coming in 1976 in a game that was won by the Rams 45-6.
The game also marked the return to the Coliseum of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, a beloved individual in the city because of the time he spent coaching the University of Southern California team that plays in the same historic stadium.
Despite an inconsistent offence, the Rams got a solid effort from their defence to beat the Seahawks for the third straight time.
“The guys just rose up, never panicked, stayed level headed and were able to come out with the victory that ended on a turnover,” said defensive end Robert Quinn.
After getting shutout by the 49ers on Monday Night Football, the Rams scored on their opening drive on Sunday. A 39-yard field goal by Zuerlein gave the Rams a 3-0 lead at 10:38 of the first quarter.
Zuerlein’s longest of the night was a 47-yarder with 14:45 left in the fourth quarter.