EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — If the last two games are any indication, the Los Angeles Rams are for real — and then some.
Jared Goff set career highs with four touchdown throws and 311 yards passing, Todd Gurley ran for two more scores and the surprising Rams made one big play after another in beating the defenseless New York Giants 51-17 on Sunday.
The win was the fifth in six games for the Rams, whose 6-2 start is the franchise’s best since 2001, when the club went 14-2 in the regular season and eventually lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
What’s even more impressive is that 31-year-old Sean McVay’s team has won the last two games by a combined 84-17 margin, including a 33-0 win over the Cardinals in London.
Goff downplayed the success.
“Eight games in, eight games in,” the second-year quarterback warned. “You’ve seen it in the past, teams start out hot and don’t finish the season that way, or vice versa. We need to go week to week right now. We’re excited about where we’re at, for sure, 6-2 is really good. We finished the second quarter of the season 3-1. That’s really good. But we have half the season to go.”
McVay said the Rams’ last two games have been almost perfect in all three phases in remaining unbeaten in four road games. It’s five if a “home” win in London is included.
The Rams’ high-powered offense showed no rust coming off the bye, scoring on eight of their first nine possessions while reeling off six plays of 35 yards or more. The defense forced three turnovers that the offense turned into 17 points and the special teams blocked a third-quarter punt that Gurley converted into his second TD.
“It’s exciting,” said Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who intercepted Manning late in the first half. “A lot of guys in this locker room haven’t been in this situation, 6-2. It’s big and every game is going to be more important, so we are doing everything one game at a time, one day at a time.”
Greg Zuerlein added three field goals against the Giants (1-7), who allowed the biggest offensive performance against them in a home game since Cleveland beat them 52-21 in the regular-season finale in 1964.
The Giants had not given up more than 27 points in any of its first seven games.
“You lay an egg like that, obviously we didn’t play well,” Giants halfback Orleans Darkwa said. “We’ve got to go back to work. We started fast. We made some plays. We put on a good drive. But we wound up turning the ball over, and you can’t do that.”
The loss also put coach Ben McAdoo’s future in question just one year after he led the team to the playoffs. He suspended cornerback Janoris Jenkins on Tuesday for missing a workout Monday and the depleted secondary was torched by Goff, who was 14 of 22 with no interceptions.
“I’m disappointed,” said McAdoo, who insisted his team did not quit. “Expected us to come out and play a better football game than we played. We have it in us. It’s my job to get it out of us.”
Goff’s touchdowns were of 8 yards to tight end Tyler Higbee, 52 to Robert Woods , 67 to Sammy Watkins and 4 to Woods .
Eli Manning (20 of 36 for 220) threw two touchdown passes and become the seventh NFL quarterback to reach the 50,000-mark with his completion of a garbage-time pass to Sterling Shepard in the fourth quarter. His TDs covered 5 yards to Tavarres King and 10 yards to Evan Engram.
Goff’s touchdown pass to Higbee came after Aaron Donald sacked Manning and forced a fumble that Connor Barwin recovered.
The play that killed the Giants was the 52-yarder to Woods on a third-and-33 screen play on which the receiver was barely touched. It turned a 10-7 lead into a 10-point advantage and New York never looked the same in seeing its seven-game winning streak against the Rams end.
INJURIES: in addition to Jenkins, the Giants defense was without starting DE Olivier Vernon, WLB Jonathan Casillas, MLB B.J. Goodson and backup CB Donte Deayon. LB Keenan Robinson, who was filling in for Casillas, left with a quad injury in the first half.
Rams: Return home to face Houston in their first game at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 34 days. They are 1-2 at home.
Giants: At San Francisco next Sunday.