LOS ANGELES — The noise was triumphant, a hum of mayhem ricocheting up from the Coliseum, the stuff of homecomings and big wins. After 22 seasons, a Week 1 loss without a single point scored and a late-game drive Sunday by Russell Wilson that should never have happened but was thwarted when they forced a Seattle fumble, the Los Angeles Rams had done it.
For now, it was a win.
For now, it was enough.
For now, at least, a .500 record — 1-1 early in this NFL season — keeps the gloss smoothly in place on the Shield and its return to a town that loves the fine shine of victory, regardless of what lays beneath.
“You know,” Jeff Fisher said afterward, unable to hide the relief, or the elation, or both, “we had many opportunities. There’s going to be lots of things we have to correct. We had some mistakes. But in the end we take the win.”
This was Los Angeles football in the only way that matters in this city of Hollywood, stars, pretenders, dreamers and climbers: It was a win in the end they’ll take. It was victory. It was celebration and self-congratulations. It was that crowd chanting, those throwback Rams jerseys swaying, a team in its first game in a generation back on native soil beating an in-division foe, the details be damned.
It was a gripping game that went the right way, a great defense that offers some real promise and the question marks cast aside for the savory feel of success in the here-and-now.
The fact this team still hasn’t scored a touchdown this season? Tomorrow’s problem. The curious reality that an anemic offense is currently led by quarterback Case Keenum because the No. 1-overall draft pick they traded the future for — hello, Jared Goff — isn’t ready? Wasn’t even ready to suit up last week? Not the point, at least not yet.
This is Los Angeles, and those questions are for losers. Which, at least on Sunday in a 9-3 victory against a Seattle team that stumbles against Rams teams, those based in St. Louis or Los Angeles, this team certainly was not.
Don’t let anyone outside L.A., or The Coliseum, try to tell you otherwise. There was a palpable joy here, from the tailgaters drinking and partying in the parking lots outside to the talk about how early we all need to arrive to beat the crush of traffic and our fellow Angelenos (this reporter: four hours) to the giddy fans who packed it in for what turned out to be a very triumphant return and a thrilling ending.
The whole scene felt star-studded — fixed under the unique and bright lights of both the National Football League and, after two decades, those of L.A. and all that entails.
LeBron James was in the house. Magic, too. The Red Hot Chili Peppers performed before kickoff. From the press box, where you can see the mountains and the skyline of downtown L.A., even a jaded reporter or two could be overheard talking about how, well, cool it all was.
There were 91,046 tickets distributed, enough to overcome the fact the Rams haven’t scored a touchdown since Tre Mason put six on the board last year, or the fact the last L.A. Ram to take it to the house was Jermaine Ross on a pass from Chris Miller on Dec. 24, 1994.
Yes, sure, there are signs of problems and questions that will very much matter if this L.A. love affair is to continue. Los Angeles is a crowded market, to say nothing of the competition from the weather, the beaches, the nightlife. And the particular way this place loves a winner (or pretends to) but can turn a downturn into leprosy quicker than you can say, “Where’s Jared Goff?”
Questions as in: What’s up with Todd Gurley, who rushed for just 51 yards on 19 attempts Sunday, bringing his season total through those two games to a paltry 98 rushing yards?
Or: Is Goff, given all they paid to acquire him, going to (and going to be able to) step in and give this offense any kind of spark?
Or: What if Seattle running back Christine Michael hadn’t fumbled at the 29-yard line with the clock ticking down and Wilson seemingly driving toward another miracle, come-from-behind Seattle win?
And, finally: Are the Rams, behind a formidable defense that nearly shut out Seattle, better than we think? Or are the Seahawks a lot worse than we believe?
Those things are for another day. For now — and only for now, trust me — the Los Angeles Rams are winners, in a city that will accept nothing less.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / At least for one day, the Rams give Los Angeles fans a reason to celebrate