Game Day: Rams and Chargers lessons from NFL’s Week 2

Editor’s note: This is the Monday Sept. 19 edition of the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

Good morning. The Rams and Chargers woke up to some new realities after the second Sunday of the NFL season, the day when hasty impressions from the first week are refuted and sometimes confirmed.

First, other news:

The Dodgersextra-innings win in San Francisco was their 15th in 19 meetings with the Giants this season.
Angels infielder Livan Soto got his first major-league hit and added a home run in a win.
LAFC leads the league again after beating Houston.
Las Vegas won its first WNBA title.
And remember ex-Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s punctured lung? He’s suing the doctor.

Now, what has happened around the NFL in Week 2 and where does it leave the L.A. teams? Here are a half-dozen developments that hit home.

• Both L.A. teams look like second-tier Super Bowl contenders, each at 1-1 with a loss to a member of the elite.

After being bashed by the futures-betting favorite Bills on opening night, the Rams avoided disaster yesterday by beating the Falcons 31-27 at SoFi Stadium, and columnist Mirjam Swanson said the Super Bowl winners reacted like champs in stopping Atlanta’s fourth-quarter comeback.

On Thursday night, the Chargers let one get away in a 27-24 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City.

• The Chargers are looking up at the 2-0 Chiefs in the AFC West standings – again.

The Rams are one of a division full of .500 teams in the NFC West after the 49ers beat the Seahawks with Jimmy Garoppolo replacing injured quarterback Trey Lance, and the Cardinals beat the Raiders with one of the league’s several crazy rallies yesterday.

• Speaking of the AFC West, both the 0-2 Raiders and 1-1 Broncos look like teams that are going to get better results in weeks ahead. The Broncos have been struggling with clock management and penalties under new coach Nathaniel Hackett.

• Looking ahead on the schedule: The Rams can forget any relief they might have felt after Week 1 when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lost to the Vikings and Dak Prescott was injured as the Cowboys lost to the Buccaneers. And the Chargers can forget penciling in their home game against the Dolphins as a win.

Green Bay looked as tough as ever at Lambeau Field in beating the Bears yesterday, and Dallas said Prescott could be back at quarterback as early as next week. The Rams go to Green Bay in wintry Week 15 and host the Cowboys in Week 5.

The Dolphins are a legit 2-0 after a sensational game for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa against the Ravens yesterday.

• But enough looking ahead. Neither L.A. team can look past next Sunday’s opponent. The Rams play their first road game of the season at Arizona, on a high after that overtime win, and the Chargers host the Jaguars, who showed life by shutting out the banged-up Colts yesterday.

• After two games, ex-Rams quarterback Jared Goff of the Lions is in the top 10 of NFL quarterbacks with a 100.1 rating and six touchdown passes, and Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is in the bottom 10 at 80.7 with a league-high five interceptions.

I point that out because it might not last long. An optimist says Stafford is shaking off the rust after resting his sore throwing arm for part of training camp.

Following the Rams and Chargers, it’s too early in the season to be anything but an optimist.

TODAY

Angels go for a sweep of a four-game series with the Mariners (1:07 p.m., BSW) before heading to Texas to start a six-game trip.

Dodgers open a seven-game homestand with Clayton Kershaw pitching against the Diamondbacks (7:10 p.m., SNLA).

READERS REACT

I asked readers yesterday: What is the solution to the attendance problem for UCLA football, which drew 29,344 to the Rose Bowl for Saturday’s win over South Alabama?

Hermann Rosenthal emailed to say there’s only one answer for the Bruins: “Get rid of (coach) Chip Kelly!!! They haven’t been good all five years he’s been their coach! I’ve been a 20-year-plus season ticket holder for football. I’m probably going to cancel tickets for next year if Kelly remains the coach.”

George Alfano blamed the Bruins’ unappealing early-season schedule: “If they are going to play lower-ranked Division I FCS teams, they should play teams (from schools) closer to the Rose Bowl and make it a big event for their fans.”

NEXT QUESTION

Did winning the way the Rams did yesterday, stiffening after nearly blowing a 28-3 lead to the Falcons, say good or bad things about their prospects for this season? Email your answer to me at KModesti@scng.com.

280 CHARACTERS

#Dodgers Cody Bellinger’s offensive contributions have been minimal — a problem. But his defense remains exceptional. Just went back to the wall on a drive hit over his head. Possibly saved LAD’s lead

— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 19, 2022

— Bill Plunkett after the Dodgers’ center fielder ran down a long drive by the Giants’ Wilmer Flores in the eighth inning last night.

1,000 WORDS

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey outjumps Falcons wide receiver Bryan Edwards to make the interception that saved L.A.’s 31-27 victory yesterday at SoFi Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

TALK TO ME

Thanks for reading the newsletter. Send suggestions, comments and questions by email at KModesti@scng.com and via Twitter @KevinModesti.

Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

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