|1979 Los Angeles Rams season|
|Head Coach||Ray Malavasi|
|Home Field||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum|
|Place||1st NFC West|
|Playoff Finish||Won Divisional Playoffs (at Cowboys) 21–19|
Won NFC Championship (at Buccaneers) 9–0
Lost Super Bowl XIV (vs. Steelers) 19–31
|Previous Season||Next Season|
The 1979 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 42nd year with the National Football League and the 34th season in Los Angeles. It was the final season for the franchise in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, as owner Carroll Rosenbloom previously announced the Rams would move to Anaheim Stadium for the 1980 season.
Rosenbloom drowned on April 2, 1979, while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean just off of his home in Golden Beach, Florida, leaving the team to his widow, Georgia.
- 1 Offseason
- 2 Regular season
- 3 Key regular season games and moments
- 4 Playoffs
- 5 Awards and records
- 6 References
- Main article: 1979 NFL Draft
|Game||Date||Opponent||Result||Rams points||Opponents||Rams first downs||Record||Attendance|
|1||Sept. 2||Oakland Raiders||Loss||17||24||21||0-1|
|2||Sept. 6||at Denver Broncos||Win||13||9||15||1-1|
|3||Sept. 16||San Francisco 49ers||Win||27||24||25||2-1|
|4||Sept. 23||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Loss||6||21||11||2-2|
|5||Sept. 30||St. Louis Cardinals||Win||21||0||24||3-2|
|6||Oct. 7||at New Orleans Saints||Win||35||17||22||4-2|
|7||Oct. 14||at Dallas Cowboys||Loss||6||30||11||4-3|
|8||Oct. 21||San Diego Chargers||Loss||16||40||24||4-4|
|9||Oct. 28||New York Giants||Loss||14||20||20||4-5|
|10||Nov. 4||at Seattle Seahawks||Win||24||0||29||5-5|
|11||Nov. 11||at Chicago Bears||Loss||23||27||16||5-6|
|12||Nov. 19||Atlanta Falcons||Win||20||14||18||6-6|
|13||Nov. 25||at San Francisco 49ers||Win||26||20||18||7-6|
|14||Dec. 2||Minnesota Vikings||Win||27||21||14||8-6|
|15||Dec. 9||at Atlanta Falcons||Win||34||13||15||9-6|
|16||Dec. 16||New Orleans Saints||Loss||14||29||16||9-7|
|Los Angeles Rams||9||7||0||.563||323||309|
|New Orleans Saints||8||8||0||.500||370||360|
|San Francisco 49ers||2||14||0||.125||308||416|
Key regular season games and moments
Game 2: Rams 13, Broncos 9
In an early Monday night affair, the Rams were on the verge of starting the season 0-2, trailing 9-6 in a game that featured a rare safety scored by the Broncos when Rams offensive tackle John Williams was penalized for holding Broncos linebacker Larry Evans in the Rams' end zone. Late in the fourth quarter, however, Rams defensive tackle Mike Fanning laid a hit on running back Larry Canada deep in Broncos territory and Jack Reynolds picked up the resulting fumble and bulled his way into the end zone for the winning touchdown.
Game 4: Buccaneers 21, Rams 6
The Buccaneers asserted themselves as a legitimate NFC contender in this game. Jim Youngblood intercepted a Doug Williams pass in the first quarter and returned it for a Rams touchdown, but then it was all Bucs as game conditions (heavy rain) and the vaunted Bucs defense took over. Williams only completed five passes, but two were for touchdowns in a 21-point second quarter.
This would be the final start of aging running back great Lawrence McCutcheon's Rams career. The Rams, in an attempt to get more speed on offense, would start Wendell Tyler in McCutcheon's place for the rest of the season.
Game 6: Rams 35, Saints, 17
The "new look" Rams played one of their better games of the season in this one. Pat Haden threw for three touchdowns for the first and only time in his NFL career and Wendell Tyler rushed for two more. Two of Haden's scores were to veteran Ron Jessie, but Jessie would be injured late and lost for the remainder of the season. With veteran Willie Miller also lost for the season, the Rams would have an inexperienced wide receiver corps for the rest of 1979.
Game 10: Rams 24, Seahawks 0
The Rams broke out of a mid-season slump by holding the Seahawks to minus-7 yards of total offense, only two pass completions, and only one first down for the entire game. However, starting quarterback Pat Haden broke the index finger on his throwing hand late in the third quarter and would be lost for the remainder of the season.
Game 12: Rams 20, Falcons 14
Vince Ferragamo made his first start of the season in this Monday night game and immediately showed his "big-play" capability, something the Rams had lacked at the quarterback position. Ferragamo completed long touchdown passes to young speedsters Preston Dennard and Billy Waddy as the Rams would embark on a winning streak that would carry them to the NFC West title and the playoffs.
Game 14: Rams 27, Vikings 21 (OT)
The Rams lined up for a potential game-winning field goal in overtime, but holder Nolan Cromwell took the snap and scooted around left end for a 5-yard touchdown to lift Los Angeles into first place in the NFC West. The Rams took sole possession of the division lead the next night when the Raiders rallied from a 35-14 deficit in New Orleans to defeat the Saints 42-35.
Vikings' defensive back Paul Krause intercepted two passes in this game, giving him 81 for his career and breaking the previous all-time record set by Emlen Tunnell. The record still stands to this day.
Game 15: Rams 34, Falcons 13
In this impressive romp, the Rams clinched their seventh straight NFC West division title. Vince Ferragamo was entrenched as the Rams' quarterback by this time, and would go on to an impressive postseason.
Game 16: Saints 29, Rams 14
Wendell Tyler rushed for 141 yards and a first quarter touchdown, but New Orleans scored the next 27 points to win going away in the Rams' final game at the Coliseum. The victory allowed the Saints to finish 8-8, the franchise's first non-losing record after 12 consecutive losing seasons.
- Main article: 1979–80 NFL playoffs
Quarterback Vince Ferragamo led the Rams to a victory by throwing for 3 touchdown passes, the last one with 2:06 left in the game. The Cowboys scored first when defensive tackle Randy White sacked Ferragamo in the end zone for a safety. However, Ferragamo responded by throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to running back Wendell Tyler. Dallas kicker Rafael Septien kicked a 33-yard field goal with 52 seconds left in the first half, but Ferragamo completed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Ron Smith before time expired to make it a 14-5 halftime lead. The Cowboys, led by quarterback Roger Staubach in what proved to be his last NFL game of his hall of fame career, then scored 2 unanswered touchdowns in the second half to take the lead, 19-14. With about 2 minutes left in the game and the Rams at midfield, Ferragamo found wide receiver Billy Waddy on a short crossing route and Waddy sprinted the rest of the way for a game winning 50-yard touchdown. Staubach was unable to engineer a late fourth quarter comeback like the ones that made him famous throughout his career. The Rams defense forced a sack, and then pressured the Dallas quarterback to throw a pass illegally to an ineligible receiver, guard Herbert Scott, on third down; the last pass of his career to be caught; on fourth down overthrew Tony Hill.
NFC Championship Game
In a defensive battle in which the Rams squandered numerous scoring opportunities, Rams kicker Frank Corral kicked 3 field goals to win the game. Los Angeles was able to record 369 yards of total offense, while running backs Cullen Bryant and Wendell Tyler rushed for 106 and 86 yards, respectively. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers only had 177 total offensive yards, including 92 rushing yards and 85 passing yards. Most of Tampa Bay's passing yards came from a 42-yard halfback option pass from Jerry Eckwood to wide receiver Larry Mucker in the fourth quarter. During the game, two touchdowns were nullified by penalties, one by each team: A four yard run by Bryant and a 27-yard reception by Buccaneers' tight end Jimmie Giles.
Super Bowl XIV
- Main article: Super Bowl XIV