The NFL is back in Los Angeles!!!! And for the first time in more than two decades, there were two NFL games in the City of Angels. And the buzz was, well, let’s not get into that just yet.
You had the 1-0 Rams, coming off their stirring Week 1 win over the Colts, hosting Washington at the coliseum. And down in Carson, you had the Los Angeles Chargers making their home debut against the Miami Dolphins, so it was a festival of football. Which meant that Angelenos were going to have to make an impossible choice.
Who do you back? Who are you siding with in the battle for Los Angeles? The 1-0 Rams with a young coach and a young quarterback? Or the Chargers with future hall of famer Philip Rivers and weapons all over the field? Answer: neither.
If you thought that Week 1 win would boost the Rams crowd for Week 2, guess again. Not a great turnout for the Rams. For a moment, it looked like the people on the field outnumbered the people in the stands. Not that it was any better down in Carson.
In fact, you could take all the fans at the Chargers game and bus them up the 110 to the Coliseum and there still wouldn’t be as many fans in that joint as there Saturday night for Texas-USC. That’s a bad look. A really bad look. In the battle for Los Angeles, the beach won again. It always does.
And the results? Well, they weren’t much better either. The Rams hung with Washington, tied them in the fourth quarter, but then fell behind 27-20 with 1:49 left. But that meant that it set the stage for an exciting two-minute drive to tie the game, the kind of drive that can turn around a franchise and electrify a city. Unfortunately, it ended on the very first play of the drive when Jared Goff found Washington linebacker Mason Foster for an interception that ended the game. Turns out that beating Scott Tolzien is a lot different from beating Kirk Cousins.
But as heartbreaking as that loss might have been for Rams fans and potential Rams fans, it had nothing on the Chargers game in Carson. Things got off to a weird start at the soccer stadium when fans showed up with signs bashing Dean Spanos and the Chargers ownership. There was even a plane dragging a banner over the stadium before the game.
And then there was the game itself. The home debut of the Los Angeles Chargers. And after looking like they turned a new page last week in Denver, with the way they battled back, only to lose on a blocked field goal, it’s kind of hard to feel like yesterday wasn’t the same old Chargers. Had a lead, lost it, got it back again, and lost it again when Miami hit a field goal to go up 19-17 with 65 seconds left. But then Philip Rivers and the offense marched down the field and were in position to hit the game-winning field goal. Roll it.
Uh-oh. I’m not sure what’s worse, missing the game-winning field goal or the roar from that crowd when it happened. Or the fact that someone fired the cannon to celebrate it. Call it a three-way tie for last.
Maybe you make sure the ball goes through the uprights before firing off that cannon next time.
And while that cannon was a mistake that cheer wasn’t. That wasn’t coming from Charger fans who thought their guy had made the field goal. That was from Dolphin fans celebrating that he missed it. The loudest roar of the game came when the Chargers missed the game-winning field goal at home.
But don’t take it from me. Take it from science. According to Arash Markazi, literally the loudest roar from the crowd all game came on that missed field goal. And the players definitely noticed, how could they not?
Philip Rivers: “obviously the loudest roar came at the end after the missed field goal. That’s where you really got to see how many Dolphins fans there were. I heard the roar before I saw the official’s signal. I wasn’t sure which roar it was.”
Awkward. But chargers center Matt Slauson was looking on the bright side of things: “the Dolphins traveled well today. But we didn’t have to use our silent count, so that was nice. I think it was a good crowd, [there was] a lot of energy out there.”
So that’s not great. Then again, the chargers did have to use silent counts in san Diego a few times, so I guess not having to use them in Carson was a step in the right direction. I guess. Kind of sort of.
Let’s be honest. Based on what I saw from the Chargers in Denver in Week 1, it felt like they’d turned the corner, like these weren’t the same old Chargers, but Charger fans, if you’re coming out of yesterday feeling like they are the same old Chargers, I can’t stop you from thinking that. Because that had all the hallmarks of a gutting Chargers loss. And this might have been one of the worst, on so many levels. It’s one thing to lose on the road in Denver to a very good Broncos team, it’s another to lose on the road in Carson to a Dolphins team that hadn’t played a game yet this season. That was just a brutal loss for the LA Chargers and a win for the Dolphins and for bitter San Diego fans.