(ST. LOUIS, MO) After going three straight games without surrendering a touchdown, the St. Louis Rams surrendered four, and 514 yards overall, in a 37-27 setback to the New York Giants Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
With the ten-point, home finale loss, St. Louis (6-9) dropped its second straight.
“I guess I’ll say I’m extremely disappointed in a number of areas,” said Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher afterwards. “Defensively, we just gave up too many big plays, didn’t get the turnovers. There were way too many rushing yards, in my opinion.”
New York posted ten straight points to grab the early advantage. Following former Ram Josh Brown’s 29-yard field goal four minutes in, Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning connected with rookie receiver Odell Beckham for a nine-yard touchdown pass with 8:28 left in the first quarter. Brown’s kick afterwards pushed New York’s lead to 10-0.
The Rams responded with a six-play scoring drive, capped by Greg Zuerline’s 51-yard field goal with 4:48 left in the quarter to cut the deficit to 10-3.
New York stretched its lead with a pair of scoring strikes in the second quarter. Brown’s second field goal of the half, a 37-yarder, extended the Giants’ lead back to double digits, 13-3, with 12:44 left in the frame.
New York’s momentum continued with a 10-play, 80-yard drive. With 4:55 left, running back Orleans Darkwa, another Giants’ rookie, scampered a dozen yards for his first NFL career touchdown. Brown successfully added the PAT to extend the lead to 20-3.
The Rams surged offensively deep in the half. Trey Mason’s 10-yard TD run capped a 74-yard scoring drive. Zuerline’s PAT sliced the Giants’ lead to a 2-1 ratio, 20-10, with 2:25 left in half.
Zuerline added a 20-yard field goal with :04 left, and the Rams were knocking on the door, trailing 20-13 at halftime.
New York stretched open the differential in the third quarter as Manning connected with a pair of touchdown passes, a seven-yard strike to Rueben Randle with 7:35 left and an 80-yard strike to Beckham under six minutes later. Manning’s third scoring pass of the game extended the visitors’ lead to 33-20 with :55 left in the third.
Trailing 37-20 in the fourth, Rams’ quarterback Shaun Hill netted his second touchdown strike with 4:00 left in the game, a 47-yard pass to Corey Givens.
The Giants outscored the Rams 17-14 in the second half to pick up the 37-27 win and spoil the Rams’ final game at home in 2014.
Manning finished the game completing 25 of 32 passing attempts for 391 yards and three touchdowns.
“We were concerned about him getting the hot-hand and he did an outstanding job today under center,” said Fisher in assessing Manning. “Put him in position to take advantage of some of the things we were doing.”
Triple-digit performances from Beckham (148 yards/ 2 TDs) and Randle (132/1 TD) topped the Giants’ receiving ledger while Williams paced the ground game with 110 yards off 26 carries.
And for the Rams defense, the one that had been so stingy the last three weeks, the over 500 yards surrendered was a tough stat to swallow.
“Very uncharacteristic of our football team and really of our defense,” said Rams’ linebacker James Laurinaitis afterwards. “That’s the most disappointing thing to me, just that this is embarrassing to me to be honest. Especially at home, last home game of the year. To give up that many rushing yards and they didn’t do anything really fancy. It was just self-inflicted wounds.”
For the Rams’ stat sheet, Hill completed 24 of 32 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns, Kenny Britt caught nine passes for 103 yards and Mason rushed 13 times for 76 yards.
“Mediocre,” said Rams’ running back Tre Mason of team’s offensive output. “That’s not our best performance we put out on the field, period. We just know we need to come back next week (at Seattle) and put out a better performance and go into the offseason knowing that we left a message and that we have a new team coming.”
St. Louis finishes its home campaign 3-5, arguably a disappointment for the over 55,000 announced in attendance Sunday.
“We like to give them what they pay good money to come see,” said Hill of the Rams’ efforts Sunday. “At the same time, there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears on our end, I can promise you that. It’s equally frustrating for us to go out there and put something like that on the field. We share in their frustration today, for sure.”
The Rams conclude its season at Seattle (10-4) next Sunday at 3:15 pm. The Rams topped its NFC West rival, 28-26, at home October 19.