June 9, 2023
Baker Mayfield Cam Akers Los Angeles Rams Blowout Denver Broncos |  TSN

Baker Mayfield Cam Akers Los Angeles Rams Blowout Denver Broncos | TSN

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson got back together on Sunday, nearing the end of their first separate season together in a decade. Wagner and his Los Angeles Rams were the only ones enjoying the Christmas get together.

Wagner first intercepted a pass from his longtime Seahawks teammate and set up the Rams’ second touchdown drive of their first half with 31 points. Wagner fired the Broncos quarterback just before halftime, settling a longtime bet between these good friends.

“I told him if we ever play against each other, I’ll get him,” says Wagner with a smile. “It was cool to do that. It was cool to pick him up at Christmas too. I appreciate the gifts.”

Wagner’s holiday cheer was just part of an all-encompassing beating by Super Bowl champions who have yet to give up on their lost season.

Baker Mayfield threw two touchdown passes to Tyler Higbee, Cam Akers rushed for 118 yards and a career-high three TDs, and the Rams beat the Denver Broncos 51-14 for their second win since mid-October.

Mayfield went 24 of 28 for 230 yards in another outstanding performance for his second win in three starts with the Rams (5-10) who produced the best game of their dismal season at Christmas.

“That’s what you’re working towards,” said Rams coach Sean McVay. “Seeing it come to life on a night like this really makes you happy for her. They deserve it.”

Rookie Cobie Durant punctuated the celebrations when he returned his second interception 85 yards for a touchdown and defeated Brett Rypien with 4:08 to go for the Rams’ first 50-point performance under McVay since their famous 54-51 win over Kansas City to crown 2018.

For at least a week, Los Angeles avoided becoming the first defending champion to lose 11 games. Despite attacking at No. 32 in the NFL, Los Angeles is now the second team to score 50 points this season after joining Dallas earlier this month.

“Playing a full game like this is really special,” Mayfield said. “Today everything was there for us.”

On his Los Angeles debut, Larrell Murchison made 2 1/2 of the Rams’ six sacks from Wilson, who passed 214 yards with three interceptions for Denver (4-11). The battered Wilson wasn’t sharp on his return from a one-game absence with a concussion, throwing interceptions to end Denver’s first two drives.

“We’ve never had an experience like this (where) we were trying to catch up that far here,” Wilson said. “It just became a snowball effect. … The bottom line is that I let us down. That can’t happen and it was disappointing.”

The Rams rallied 261 of their 388 yards before halftime and eventually scored on their first eight drives against Denver’s above-average defense, already setting their all-season high with their 31-6 lead at halftime.

Denver trailed 41-6 before Wilson hit Greg Dulcich for the Broncos’ only touchdown, with 8-30 left in the last frustrating loss in a season full of them under rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett.

“I think they’re upset about all the losses,” Hackett said. “We all are. All of us. It’s unacceptable. That’s not what we’re about. That wasn’t what we wanted to do. We went in with the attitude that we could win this game, but in the end we weren’t ready.”

Akers continued his momentum late in the season by producing the Rams’ first 100-yard rushing game of the season, while Higbee led the passing offense with 94 yards on nine catches because of an offense his top three wideouts due to a missed injury.

Higbee became the Rams’ career franchise leader through a tight end with his TD catch in the first quarter for his 19th career score. Akers then scored two snaps after Wagner brought his interception back long over the middle.

The Rams’ first quarter with 17 points was their best opening streak since Week 6 of McVay’s rookie season in 2017. They then went on to have touchdowns on four straight drives for the first time in McVay’s tenure.

Los Angeles led 31-3 at halftime, and Ramsey picked up Wilson’s long throw into the end zone on Denver’s opening second-half drive. The Rams’ pressure on Wilson was improbably spearheaded by Murchison, who signed with Los Angeles 13 days ago after Tennessee cut him.


All Christmas cheer evaporated during the post-game handshake when enraged Broncos edge rusher Randy Gregory gave a helmet clap to Rams offensive lineman Oday Aboushi, who responded with a slap of his own. Tempers finally cooled on a tough day for Gregory, who received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after LA’s third touchdown and later extended another Rams TD drive with a roughing-the-passer penalty.

“We’ve talked to Randy, talked to all these guys, and we can’t show our frustration,” Hackett said. “We have to take our frustration out on the field properly.”


Murchison retired in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. … Dulcich was ruled out late in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.


Broncos: At Chiefs on Sunday.

Rams: Sunday at the Chargers.


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