On Sunday, Los Angeles hosted two NFL games on the same day for the first time since 1995, but someone forgot to tell the fans. The Chargers and Rams both lost before large swaths of empty seats, and questions swirl about the future of pro football in Southern California
The NFL may want to look into the cost of Hollywood extras. The league played two games in Los Angeles on Sunday for the first time since 1995, but someone forgot to tell the fans. The Chargers failed to sell out their 27,000-seat StubHub Center. Across town, the Rams didn’t fare much better. Official attendance at the Coliseum was 56,612. Worst of all: the teams combined to attract fewer fans than USC did the night before for its Coliseum showdown with Texas (84,714).
So far the NFL’s script is playing out like a comedy of errors.
The Chargers had a chance to win as time expired—and for a moment it seemed like they did. Down 19-17 with a minute to go, Philip Rivers led his team 54 yards over six plays, giving Younghoe Koo a chance to kick a 44-yard game-winning field goal. As the ball sailed through the end zone, a stadium cannon was fired and the “crowd” went wild. Just one small detail: the ball sailed wide right. And the screaming crowd? It was largely comprised of Dolphins fans. But don’t blame the cannon operator; Rivers was similarly confused in his new home. “I heard the roar before I saw the official’s signal,” he said. “I wasn’t sure which roar it was.”
Meanwhile, across town . . .
With just under two minutes remaining and his team trailing by seven, Jared Goff got the ball back and had a chance to make a statement. The Rams QB did exactly that . . . by throwing an interception on the first snap of the drive, sealing a 27-20 loss.
Whether L.A. fans were dissuaded by the $100 parking prices, or the negative billboards and flying banners, all those who stayed home can’t regret their choice after seeing how the games unfolded. The Chargers and Rams now limp into Week 3 a combined 1-3. The moral to this story? Hollywood loves winners.
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LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: Jenny Vrentas covers tonight's Lions-Giants game ... The 10 Things podcast discusses Week 2 ... and more. Stay tuned.
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1. Falcons 34, Packers 23. What was supposed to be the best game of the week was pretty much over at halftime. Atlanta jumped out to a 24-7 lead in its new stadium, though Aaron Rodgers managed to make it interesting in the fourth quarter.
2. Broncos 42, Cowboys 17. Here's a prediction: Denver will rise the most in this week's The MMQB Power Poll after Trevor Siemian, unfazed by a lengthy weather delay, threw four touchdowns, and C.J. Anderson rumbled for 118 yards. Maybe most encouraging was the Broncos’ run defense, which took its lumps last year but held Ezekiel Elliott to eight yards on nine carries. Yes, you read that right.
3. Dolphins 19, Chargers 17. The Chargers' curse continues. Once again, Rivers did everything he needed to put the team in position to win—and came away with a loss. The Dolphins’ offense played well (Jay Cutler: 230 yards passing, one touchdown; Jay Ajayi: 122 yards rushing), but it was kicker Cody Parkey who did most of the scoring, with four field goals.
4. Patriots 36, New Orleans 20. Tom Brady refound his form in the Superdome, joining Warren Moon as the only QBs to throw for 400 yards and three touchdowns after turning 40. But it wasn't all good news for New England: Rob Gronkowski left the game with a groin injury, though he said "I'm good" afterwards. So are the Pats, it seems, just like we all expected.
5. Chiefs 27, Eagles 20. This was a wild game, so it's only fitting that wild man Travis Kelce was the difference. The tight end scored the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, leaping three yards to get into the end zone (he finished with 103 yards receiving). Philadelphia had a chance to tie the game after recovering an onside kick, but ultimately came up short of the statement victory.
6. Ravens 24, Browns 10. Baltimore put together another dominant defensive performance—this time forcing five turnovers—but they lost guard Marshal Yanda for the year with a broken left ankle. DeShone Kizer, meanwhile, left the game with a migraine headache, but returned not too long after.
7. Titans 37, Jaguars 16. What had been a terrific Jags defense in Week 1 gave up 390 yards to Tennessee, which righted its season. On the other side of the ball, Blake Bortles threw two interceptions and Leonard Fournette finished with 40 yards.
8. Washington 27, Rams 20. So much for Jared Goff, superstar. Kirk Cousins wasn't better, but Washington rushed for 229 yards, with Samaje Perine coming in and leading the go-ahead scoring drive after Rob Kelley was knocked out with a rib injury.
9. Steelers 26, Vikings 9. Sam Bradford is out for an unannounced period of time, and with Case Keenum under center, Minnesota just isn't the same. Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant led the way for Pittsburgh, combining for 189 yards.
10. Buccaneers 29, Bears 7. Mike Glennon's return to Tampa did not go well, but Chicago's rushing attack did him no favors, finishing with 20 yards. Tampa looked like the contender many expected before its Week 1 game was postponed. We'll know more as they face the Vikings, Giants, and Patriots over the next three weeks.
11. Panthers 9, Bills 3. Another near-perfect defensive effort by the Panthers against an offense we don't expect much of. What will they do with New Orleans next week? Either way, the offense will need to find a rhythm, and it'll have to do so without Greg Olsen, who broke his right foot Sunday.
12. Seahawks 12, 49ers 9. Seattle still has major offensive questions—Russell Wilson was sacked three more times—but at least they have a win now.
13. Cardinals 16, Colts 13 (OT). The most exciting game on paper went to overtime after Phil Dawson missed a potential game-winning field goal for Arizona at the end of regulation. But on the first possession of the extra period, Jacoby Brissett threw his only pick of the day, setting up a second shot for Dawson that breathed life into the Cardinals’ season.
14. Raiders 45, Jets 20. Marshawn Lynch got his first Oakland touchdown and danced on the sideline.
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Vance Joseph seems to have knack for coaching. He also has an amazing "C'mon, son" face.