Where to begin?
The Rams and Chiefs played a wild, historic “Monday Night Football” showdown that featured far more offensive fireworks than expected. That’s saying a lot, considering the over/under for this game closed at 64, the highest for any NFL game since at least 1986.
In the end, the Rams outscored the Chiefs, 54-51, in a highly entertaining affair that is the third-highest scoring NFL game in history.
Among the night’s big scorers was Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam, who scored two touchdowns, one on a fumble return, the other on a pick-six. And he later made a crucial play late in the game.
Here are three thoughts on one of the most unbelievable, crazy NFL games ever played.
Rams defense proved to be the difference … and could do the same in the Super Bowl
The Rams’ defense yielded a ridiculous 546 total yards to the Chiefs and gave up 478 passing yards and six touchdowns to quarterback Patrick Mahomes. But they also were the key in winning the game, providing several big plays.
And the unheralded Ebukam, a fourth-round pick a year ago, made several of those plays. He scored on a fumble return in the second quarter, and then ran in a pick-six in the third quarter.
Samson Ebukam’s two touchdowns are the biggest plays of the game.
As we all predicted.pic.twitter.com/aDGBKrLMhR
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 20, 2018
Then, with less than two minutes remaining, Ebukam rushed Mahomes and hit him as he released the ball, leading to an interception.
The Chiefs ran wild most of the night, with receiver Tyreek Hill catching 10 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns, one that found him inexplicably wide open downfield for a 73-yard score. But the Rams D forced just enough mistakes from Kansas City, including three interceptions and two fumbles from Mahomes, to make the difference. And if, as many are predicting, these two teams meet in the Super Bowl, guys like Aaron Donald and the rest of the Rams defense could be the difference in that meeting, too.
Chiefs must work on reducing penalties
Kansas City had an astounding 13 penalties for 135 yards against the Rams. They were already the most penalized team in the league coming into the game, averaging 8.4 penalties per game (the Steelers are second at 7.8). It might be easy to overcome that lack of discipline during the regular season, but things get tougher in the postseason, and penalties can become magnified.
Perhaps Monday night’s flag fiesta versus the Rams will serve as a wake-up call, allowing Andy Reid to address the issue. It’s worth pointing out the Rams are at the other end of the spectrum, ranking third in the league in fewest penalties at 5.5 per game.
Paging Todd Gurley … paging Todd Gurley
In one of the highest scoring games in NFL history, Todd Gurley, arguably the league’s most prolific running back, touched the ball only 15 times for 94 yards (55 rushing, 39 receiving).
It’s curious Gurley wasn’t more involved in the offense. Then again, Goff was completing passes 15 to 20 yards — and longer — downfield at will, finishing 31-of-49 passing for 413 yards and four touchdowns.
Immediately after the game ESPN asked Goff for his thoughts on the high-scoring affair.
“Unbelievable … unbelievable,” Goff said.
It’s hard to fault Rams coach Sean McVay for not using Gurley more, given the outcome. After all, the Rams won. When you have as many weapons as the Rams, including an unheralded linebacker named Samson Ebukam (12 points), Gurley could afford to be an onlooker in the offensive explosion that erupted Monday night in LA.