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Akers runs wild, Newton benched as Rams rout Patriots 24-3

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers, left, is tackled by New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – With rookie Cam Akers running wild for the Rams and his defensive teammates thoroughly stifling the Patriots, Los Angeles got a tiny measure of payback for its Super Bowl embarrassment two years ago.

These Rams even looked good enough to contend for a chance at some actual Super Bowl redemption later this season.

Akers rushed for 171 yards in a breakout performance, Kenny Young returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown and the Rams clinched their fourth straight winning season with a 24-3 victory over the New England Patriots on Thursday night.

Jared Goff rushed for a touchdown and threw a TD pass to Cooper Kupp as the NFC West-leading Rams (9-4) rolled to a one-sided victory in a rematch of their 13-3 Super Bowl loss in February 2019.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for them, but it’s a totally different year,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with what occurred a couple of years ago.”

While the Rams' offense looked sharp, their defense pushed the Patriots (6-7) perilously close to disarray. New England managed only 220 total yards — just 62 in the second half with a series of misbegotten drives.

Cam Newton went 9 of 16 for 119 yards and got sacked four times before the 2015 NFL MVP was replaced by Jarrett Stidham for the final three series in the fourth quarter.

“We knew exactly what they were going to do,” Newton said. “We have to be better, and it starts with me personally. I have to make more plays.”