Rams rout Colts 46-9 in opener
LOS ANGELES -- New Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay was a first-time winner but he didn’t hog the spotlight.
“It’s all about the players,” McVay said.
Quarterback Jared Goff also claimed his initial NFL victory, Todd Gurley rushed for a score and the Rams returned two interceptions for touchdowns as they thumped the Indianapolis Colts 46-9 on Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
McVay, the NFL’s youngest coach at age 31, won in his debut.
“It feels good, but it’s a little surreal,” McVay said. “But it’s one game and the thing I’ve learned about the NFL is it an extremely humbling business.”
Goff, who went 0-7 last year after being the draft’s No. 1 pick in 2016, knows all about taking his lumps. But against a Colts defense that had 11 new starters, Goff threw for a touchdown and a career-high 306 yards by completing 21 of 29 passes.
“I was happy just try to get the ball out to the guys and have them make the plays,” Goff said. “They did well.”
It was the most points scored by the Rams since beating the Oakland Raiders 52-0 in 2014 when they still resided in St. Louis.
The Rams rolling an opponent with an exciting offense was what management envisioned when firing the defensive-minded Jeff Fisher and replacing him with McVay, an offensive guru.
“It is a new offense and Sean has had success in the past and that’s not by accident,” Goff said. “So, I knew that coming in and with the offensive stuff we put in. Today it was nice seeing it actually come to fruition a little bit.”
McVay wasn’t shocked by Goff’s performance that produced a career-high 117.9 passer rating.
“I‘m not surprised he played that way,” McVay said. “I thought he did a great job and put himself in a position to make good decisions and anticipate some throws. He seemed to have a good command of it. I‘m very proud of him.”
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson and safety Lamarcus Joyner had pick-sixes for the Rams.
“When they make those plays it takes a load off of us,” Goff said.
The Colts, competing without quarterback Andrew Luck (shoulder), were unable to keep pace with a Rams’ attack that looked light years different from last year’s struggling unit.
Indianapolis quarterback Scott Tolzien was 9 of 18 for 128 yards and two interceptions before being benched in favor of Jacoby Brissett.
“We got our (tails) kicked,” Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said. “Credit to the 49ers and Coach McVay.”
Pagano misspoke just about as badly as his team misplayed.
Indianapolis turned the ball over twice in the first quarter to dig an early 10-0 hole. That deficit grew to 27-3 at halftime as the Rams’ pass rush was too stout for the overwhelmed Colts to launch a comeback.
“I love how those guys were flying around,” McVay said. “That was fun to watch.”
Greg Zuerlein added three field goals for the Rams.
Gurley, whose production slipped last year, scored from 5 yards to push the Rams ahead 17-3 early in the second quarter.
Adam Vinatieri, who started his NFL career when McVay was a 9-year-old, converted a 20-yard field goal to pull the Colts within 10-3 in the first quarter. The Colts were no closer the rest of the game.
The Rams struck quickly, producing 10 points the first two times they touched the ball.
Tolzien was under duress when he came up a short on an attempt intended for wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Johnson, who also had a forced fumble and fumble recovery, jumped the out route and intercepted the pass for a 39-yard touchdown return and a 10-0 first-quarter lead.
Zuerlein’s 50-yard field goal kicked off the scoring to cap the Rams’ opening possession.
“We didn’t just lose, we got blown out,” Indianapolis linebacker Jabaal Sheard said.
Pagano said he doesn’t regret letting Tolzien start, but that he’s “gotta look at everything” after the Colts absorbed their second-worst loss in team history. But Pagano knows there’s more wrong with the Colts than just their play from under center.
“We were dominated on all three phases,” he said. “Outcoached. It falls on me.”
NOTES: Colts QB Andrew Luck is expected to miss at least two more weeks. Luck didn’t play in the preseason. ... CB Vontae Davis (groin) and C Ryan Kelly (foot) were out for the Colts. ... Rams Pro Bowl DT Aaron Donald wasn’t active after ending his holdout on Saturday. He’s expected to play next week against Washington. ... Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, who directed the Rams to their lone Super Bowl win when they were in St. Louis, was honored before the game.