Although the boos started early in the first half, the chant took a bit longer to get going.
It started in the west end zone and eventually rose throughout the Coliseum in the second quarter after another Los Angeles Rams drive foundered.
“We want Goff! We want Goff!”
Case Keenum heard it, and the sentiment frustrated him. Coach Jeff Fisher claimed he didn’t hear the words, but they didn’t change his mind about the best candidate to lead the Rams’ sputtering offense.
“I would submit that Case wasn’t the reason we lost this game today,” Fisher said after the Rams’ fourth consecutive loss, 13-10 to the Carolina Panthers.
“We just didn’t make plays in all three phases of the game,” Fisher said. “We’ll circle our wagons with the coaches and look at the tape, but I’m pleased with the way Case has fought, and consistently, week after week, I’m pleased with Jared’s progress.”
That would be Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in the most recent draft. The Rams mortgaged a big chunk of their future while trading up to grab the California product, but Goff hit the halfway point of his rookie season Sunday without ever taking a regular-season snap for his new team.
Keenum went 27 of 46 for 296 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception for the Rams (3-5), whose Hollywood honeymoon could be finished. Although they’ve got one of the NFL’s best defense, they’ve erased many of the good feelings from their 3-1 start to their homecoming season with an offense that has scored exactly two touchdowns in three home games so far this season.
When Keenum threw four interceptions in a loss to the New York Giants two weeks ago, Fisher aggressively defended the veteran quarterback. With Keenum playing a fairly ordinary game against the Panthers — not terrible, not great — Fisher indicated the Rams won’t pursue a change before next week’s visit to the New York Jets (3-6).
“I don’t think Case’s play was indicative of raising the question,” Fisher said.
Yet something is clearly missing with the Rams’ offense, which was the NFL’s worst last season as well.
The Rams have only scored two touchdowns in their last two games, and there was a 115-minute, 41-second gap between them. Los Angeles’ scoreless streak reached 102 minutes, 12 seconds before Greg Zuerlein’s 25-yard field goal with 8:01 to play — one play after Lance Kendricks dropped a sure touchdown pass from Keenum on the goal line.
Keenum eventually led a solid drive and threw a 10-yard TD pass to Kenny Britt with 34 seconds left, but the Rams botched their onside kick attempt.
Los Angeles outgained Carolina 339-244 despite having the ball for less than 26 minutes, but couldn’t score enough to support a defense that largely dominated Cam Newton and the Panthers (3-5).
“The fans expect production, execution, points,” Fisher said. “I totally get that. We’ve been through that before. I totally understand their position on that. I honestly didn’t hear them root for Jared.”
Keenum isn’t the only prominent starter having a forgettable half-season.
Todd Gurley had 48 yards in another quiet game, although he broke his longest run of the season for 18 yards out of the wildcat in the first half. Last season’s offensive rookie of the year watched the Rams’ final series from the sideline while Benny Cunningham played in their 2-minute offense.
“Enough is enough,” Rams guard Rodger Saffold said. “We know we have to score touchdowns. The defense is out there playing a great game. Enough is enough. It’s time to just work hard. We need to find a way to get it together or it’s going to be a long season.”