Thursday’s NFL: Rams use big offensive night to win
Santa Clara, Calif. — Jared Goff threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns and Todd Gurley ran for two TDs and caught another to help the Los Angeles Rams put up another big offensive performance with a 41-39 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.
The NFL’s lowest-scoring team last year looks like a completely different outfit this season under first-year coach Sean McVay thanks to vastly improved play by Goff after a rough rookie season as the No. 1 overall pick.
The Rams (2-1) have also been helped by the additions of receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods and the play-calling of McVay as they have scored 107 points through three games. That’s the second-most in franchise history, trailing only the 119 by “The Greatest Show on Turf” squad in 2000.
This win didn’t come easy as the Rams nearly blew a 15-point lead, giving up two late touchdowns, fumbling a kickoff return and failing to recover an onside kick. But Los Angeles managed to stop a potential tying 2-point conversion and then used an offensive pass interference penalty against Trent Taylor and a fourth-down sack by Aaron Donald to stop the Niners after the onside kick.
The 49ers (0-3) scored five touchdowns after failing to get any the first two weeks but still came up short in part because a missed extra point by Robbie Gould forced them to try for 2 on their late touchdown.
This time it was a tired defense that hurt San Francisco. After facing 79 plays in a 12-9 loss at Seattle on Sunday, the 49ers appeared to run out of gas on the short week as Goff frequently had wide-open receivers, especially on third down.
All three of Goff’s touchdown passes came on third down, including a 13-yard pass to Watkins early in the fourth quarter that gave Los Angeles a 41-26 lead.
The Rams needed all that offense on a night Brian Hoyer threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score.
Hernandez had CTE, lawyer says
Tests conducted on the brain of former football star Aaron Hernandez showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and his attorney said Thursday the player’s daughter is suing the NFL and the Patriots for leading Hernandez to believe the sport was safe.
In a news conference at his offices, Hernandez’s attorney Jose Baez said the testing showed one of the most severe cases ever diagnosed.
“We’re told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron’s age,” Baez said.
Dr. Ann McKee, the director of the CTE Center at Boston University, concluded the Patriots tight end had stage 3 of 4 of the disease, and also had early brain atrophy and large perforations in a central membrane.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Boston on Thursday claims the team and league deprived Avielle Hernandez of the companionship of her father. It is separate from a $1 billion settlement in which the league agreed to pay families of players who suffered brain damage because of repeated head trauma while playing football.
CTE can be caused by repeated head trauma and leads to symptoms like violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive difficulties. Hernandez killed himself in April in the jail cell where he was serving a life-without-parole sentence for a 2013 murder. His death came just hours before the Patriots visited the White House to celebrate their latest Super Bowl victory.
CTE can only be diagnosed in an autopsy. A recent study found evidence of the disease in 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were examined.
A star for the University of Florida when it won the 2008 national title, Hernandez dropped to the fourth round of the NFL draft because of trouble in college that included a failed drug test and a bar fight. His name had also come up in an investigation into a shooting.
Bernie Casey, a professional football player turned poet, painter and actor known for parts in films such as “Revenge of the Nerds” and “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” has died. He was 78.
Casey died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a brief illness, his talent agent Erin Connor said.
Born in West Virginia in 1939 and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Casey excelled in track and field and football and attended Bowling Green on an athletic scholarship.
He went on to play wide receiver for the 49ers and Rams before appearing in some 35 films, including “Boxcar Bertha,” ‘’The Man Who Fell to Earth,” ‘’Brian’s Song” and “Never Say Never Again.”
... A group of current and former players has asked Commissioner Roger Goodell for the league’s support for their campaign for racial equality and criminal justice reform.
Yahoo Sports is reporting the players sent a 10-page memo to Goodell and NFL executive Troy Vincent in August asking for money, political involvement and other commitments from the league.
It also asked the NFL to recognize the month of November as activism awareness month.
The NFL declined comment when asked about the memo by Yahoo Sports.
Packers outside linebacker Nick Perry (Detroit King) is scheduled to have hand surgery.
Coach Mike McCarthy says he doesn’t know how much time Perry will miss.
... Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles returned to practice after suffering a bomne bruise in his left leg Sunday against the Cowboys.
... Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams was limited at practice because of a wrist injury that he says is a bone bruise