INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Close but no cigar. That has been the storyline each time the Los Angeles Rams face one of the top NFL opponents and have a real chance to pull off the upset. On Saturday afternoon at SoFi Stadium, the Rams fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-14 despite having a lead in the first half and being down by one score late in the third quarter. Heading into this game, the Rams had a .500 record (2-2) as opposed to the Eagles, who entered the game with a perfect 4-0 record.
“It was almost identical to the way things played out against the 49ers,” commented Rams head coach Sean McVay. “It was almost like deja vu.”
He was right. The Rams were unable to bring the game across the finish line against their division rivals in the 49ers during Week 2 as well. Los Angeles ended up losing that game by a touchdown, 30-23.
At that point in the season, the Rams were still missing wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
Rams WR Cooper Kupp makes his season debut vs. Eagles
Former Super Bowl LVI MVP, Kupp made his season debut against the Eagles and led the team in receptions with eight for a total of 118 yards. Straight out of the gate, Kupp impacted the game as Matthew Stafford connected with his favorite wideout for a 17-yard catch.
By the end of the Rams’ opening offensive possession, Kupp already had five catches for 56 yards. It was the most receiving yards by a player in an opening series since the 2020 season.
Prior to this game, Kupp had been sidelined through the first four weeks. He made his return to practice on Wednesday for the first time since training camp. This was his first game suiting up since last season. The 30-year-old wideout missed the last eight games of last season due to an ankle injury that landed him on the IR list.
Saturday night’s game against the Eagles was the first time that Kupp and rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua had a chance to share the field.
“The game comes really easy, it just flows kind of naturally,” said Nacua, who added 7 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown, in the game. “What we had talked about throughout the week, happened right before us because No. 10 was out there.”
In Kupp’s absence, Nacua did an impressive job filling the WR1 position.
With the help of Kupp and Nacua, the Rams put together a solid offensive performance through the first half of the game scoring 14 points. There was a clear breakdown that started when the Rams’ defense allowed the Eagles to score with 32 seconds left before halftime.
Rams coach Sean McVay still believes in CB Derion Kendrick after costly penalties
Rams’ cornerback Derion Kendrick had one of the toughest assignments of the day being matched up against AJ Brown. As the first half wound down, the Rams were up 14-10 on the visiting Eagles. Kendrick was called for a horse collar while tackling Brown. On the next play, Kendrick was called for pass interference which set the Eagles up on the one-yard line. Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts walked the ball into the end zone and the Rams trailed 17-14 at the half.
Rams CB Ahkello Witherspoon intercepts Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts
Ahkello Witherspoon made one of the biggest plays of the game when he picked off Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts in the third quarter. The Rams were momentarily able to gain some momentum, but could not convert the defensive stop into points.
Following his interception, Witherspoon temporarily exited the game while dealing with a cramping issue but returned to the game.
Defensive lineman Bobby Brown III was carted off the field as a result of a knee injury.
The Rams’ next opponent is the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.