Rams give Cam Akers the start but give Malcolm Brown the ball

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Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams passes against the Dallas Cowboys n the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Running back Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a first down against cornerback Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd #54 of the Los Angeles Rams pressures quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Running back Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp #10 of the Los Angeles Rams catches a pass for a first down against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams prepares to pass against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Wide receiver Robert Woods #17 of the Los Angeles Rams leaps for the first down against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Kicker Sam Sloman #1 of the Los Angeles Rams misses a field goal attempt against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams passes against the Dallas Cowboys n the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Tight end Tyler Higbee #89 of the Los Angeles Rams catches a pass for a first down against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys in the first half during a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Tight end Blake Jarwin #89 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a pass for a first down against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones looks on against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Running back Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams runs past defensive tackle Trysten Hill #72 of the Dallas Cowboys for a first down in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Running back Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams dives for yardage against outside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams reacts against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Running back Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams dives for the touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Wide receiver Van Jefferson #12 of the Los Angeles Rams catches a pass over cornerback Trevon Diggs #27 of the Dallas Cowboys for a first down in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Running back Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams runs past defensive tackle Trysten Hill #72 of the Dallas Cowboys for a first down in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys is sacked by the ]Los Angeles Rams defense in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

The Los Angeles Rams owners box during the National Anthem prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Los Angeles Rams take the field in front of an empty stadium prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Los Angeles Rams take the field in front of an empty stadium prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Los Angeles Rams kneel next to quarterback quarterback Jared Goff #16 during the National Anthem prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Los Angeles Rams kneel next to quarterback quarterback Jared Goff #16 during the National Anthem prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Los Angeles Rams take the field in front of an empty stadium prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

INGLEWOOD — The long-awaited answer to the question of who would start the season as the Rams’ No. 1 running back had more than one answer Sunday.

But it was veteran Malcolm Brown who ended up with the ball and a night to remember.

Brown took over from Akers in the first short-yardage situation and had the honor of scoring the first points at SoFi Stadium on a 1-yard tumble into the end zone to cap the Rams’ opening drive.

He was just warming up. By the end, Brown had scored again, a 2-yard touchdown late in the third quarter that put the Rams ahead to stay. He finished the Rams’ 20-17 victory with 79 yards on 18 carries and 31 more on three passes from Jared Goff.

The yards were a high for his six-year career, up to now spent as backup to Todd Gurley, who was released last winter.

“Oh, man, it’s exciting,” Brown said after the game. “When those guys call my number, I’ve got to be ready. That’s my mindset.”

McVay said he started Akers, the second-round draft choice from Florida State, knowing Brown would also play a crucial role.

“Malcolm is such an important part of our game plan, but he was going to get a lot of opportunities in some of those later downs,” McVay said. “He ended up carrying the load and doing an excellent job.”

McVay had talked during the week before the season opener about using a three-running-backs rotation, or what Goff had called a “three-headed monster,” with second-year Darrell Henderson included.

Akers finished with 39 yards on 14 carries. Henderson ran for six yards on three carries, possibly limited by a hamstring injury that cost him two weeks of practice.

The division of labor for the three running backs is likely to evolve, likely with the aim of Akers using his second-round draft-choice pedigree to become No. 1 by himself sooner or later.

Rams players wore the words “It Takes All of Us” on the back of their helmets, and the SoFi Stadium field’s end lines were painted with that message and “End Racism.”

On a day when social-justice demonstrations by NFL teams and players took many forms, 15 Rams players knelt during “The Star Spangled Banner.”

During the playing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” about 30 minutes before kickoff, linebacker Micah Kiser and offensive lineman David Edwards were the only Rams on the field, while it appeared all Cowboys players stood across one goal line.

At other games, teams locked arms, raised fists, knelt or stayed off the field for “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” sometimes called the Black anthem. Seahawks and Falcons players took to one knee after the opening kickoff.

First kickoff: Dallas’ Greg Zuerlein booted it into the end zone and the Rams’ Nsimba Webster let it go.

After a few days of concern, smoke from the California wildfires didn’t interfere with the Rams-Cowboys game.

Shortly before kickoff, the official air quality index was 144 for the Inglewood area, which translates to “unhealthy.” But it would have to reach 200 before the NFL would prohibit play.Related Articles

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Todd Gurley rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in his first game with Atlanta, a loss to Seattle on Sunday. That’s amazingly like his per-game average with the Rams last season: 57.1 yards on 14.9 carries.

Linebacker Dante Fowler had four tackles and was credited with half a sack for the Falcons.

Linebacker Cory Littleton had five tackles for the Las Vegas Raiders in a victory at Carolina.

The Rams go to Philadelphia next Sunday to face the Eagles (10 a.m., Channel 11), who blew a 17-point lead and lost their opener at Washington.

Rams opponents this season went 6-5 Sunday. NFC West rivals Seattle and Arizona won, the Cardinals beating San Francisco.

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SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com/news/rams-give-cam-akers-the-start-but-give-malcolm-brown-the-ball/?remotepost=271945

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