Thursday, November 10, 2016

Carolina Panthers 13 at Los Angeles Rams 10 - November 6, 2016


After watching USC throttle Oregon the day before, I returned to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to see its newest tenants take on another recent championship runner up. The Rams moved back to Los Angeles this season, leaving the horrid Edward Jones Dome behind for the beautiful blue skies of California. The team called L.A. home from 1946-1994 (they originated in Cleveland in 1936) before becoming the Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis. The Rams have exactly 3 NFL titles, one achieved in each location (1945, 1951, 1999).



I wrote about the Coliseum in the USC post, so won't repeat myself here other than to note the differences when the Rams play. First, the crowds are much bigger for the NFL, and both the inside and outside concourses are quite crowded before the game. The most crucial change for some is that beer is sold at Rams games, but at $15 for a tallboy, I wasn't going to partake.



The end zones are painted over but you can still see USC underneath. Similarly, the yard line markers are closer to the center of the field but the college numbers are clearly visible. The suites at the end are decorated in blue instead of white as they were when the Trojans played. All of these are superficial changes, which makes sense as the Rams are only here for three seasons before they move in to the City of Champions Stadium in 2019. Of course, I expect to be back here then.



I had heard about some violent incidents at previous games here, but the crowd was pretty sedate on this day, likely lulled to sleep by a rather dull game. If you are planning to visit the Coliseum, try to attend a USC game as the experience is much more enjoyable.

The Game

The Panthers came into town still suffering from their Super Bowl loss at 2-5, while the Rams were on a 3-game losing streak after starting 3-1. It was Salute to Service Day across the league, and we were treated to a flyover from a C-130J Super Hercules as the national anthem ended. Here's a video from the plane.



That was pretty much the highlight as both teams struggled to move the ball with any regularity. The Panthers scored a touchdown midway through the first with Cam Newton connecting with Greg Olsen for 9-yards to cap a 53-yard drive. That was all until the fourth, when the teams combined to kick a field goal on three straight possessions, a veritable flurry of scoring. Two of those were from the boot of Panthers kicker Graham Gano, giving Carolina a 13-3 lead. The Rams had 3:18 to get 10 points, and managed to get 7 of them in 2:44 as Case Keenum, currently the most hated man in Los Angeles for blocking first-overall pick Jared Goff from starting, found Kenny Britt in the corner of the end zone. But the ensuing onside kick was poorly executed and Carolina escaped with a gruelling (for fans at least) 13-10 win. Newton might think the game was pretty gruelling for him too as he was sacked 5 times, including a couple that were pretty vicious.



Check out the stats above to see just how futile both offenses were. Not a game that I will fondly remember.

Notes

After the game, I made my way to the front of the stadium to take a more detailed look at the Court of Honor. The Rams cheerleaders, dressed in camouflage tops for Salute to Service Day, happened to exit through the arch at that time.



Once everyone had cleared out, I did have the chance to take a picture of the setting sun behind the west side of the stadium.



There is a FedEx office on Figueroa just a few blocks away from the stadium. This is a great way to get a cheap ticket as you can log on to a secondary provider such as StubHub just an hour before the game and find a decent option and printing it out for about $2 total. Very helpful when you are traveling and your hotel business center is not operational.

Next Up

Two more Club 122 venues are on tap at the end of the month. I'll be flying to Edmonton to see the Leafs in new Rogers Place and then, after a quick stop in Calgary for another Leafs game, moving on to Minnesota for the Cowboys and Vikings at US Bank Place. I'll finish off with an AHL game in Grand Rapids, and then college hoops at Michigan State and college hockey at Western Michigan. It's a great trip plan, check back to see if it ends up being a great trip too.

Best,

Sean

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