1987 Los Angeles Rams season

1987 Los Angeles Rams season
Head coach John Robinson
Owner Georgia Frontiere
Home field Anaheim Stadium
Record 6–9
Division place 3rd NFC West
Playoff finish did not quality

The 1987 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 50th year with the National Football League and the 42nd season in Los Angeles. The season saw the Rams attempting to improve on their 10-6 record from 1986 and make the playoffs for the 5th straight season. However, the Rams struggled right out the gate. In their first 2 games against the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings, the Rams had 4th quarter leads and blew them. They led 13-0 in the 4th quarter at Houston and lost 20-16, while they led 16-14 at home against Minnesota and lost 21-16. The next week, a strike occurred which wiped out all week 3 games. As a result, their game at home against the Cincinnati Bengals was cancelled. One week later, the Rams were thumped by the Saints 37-10 to start the season 0-3, their first such start since 1982, which was, ironically, also a season that saw a strike take place. The Rams finally got in the win column the next week, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers at home, 31-21. However, the next week in Atlanta, the Rams lost another big lead, this time after leading 17-0 at halftime and 20-7 in the 4th quarter. This was followed by embarrassing losses to the Cleveland Browns (30-17), the arch rival San Francisco 49ers (31-10), and the Saints again (31-14) to drop to 1-7, their worst start since 1965, when they started 1-9. However, the Rams then caught fire, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis, 27-24, after trailing 24-14 in the 3rd quarter. The next week in Washington, the Rams outlasted the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football 30-26, and it appeared as though the Rams were poised to get back in the playoff race. The win over Washington was followed by blowout wins over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (35-3), Detroit Lions (37-16), and Atlanta Falcons (33-0) and the Rams were looking to make an improbable in-season turnaround. However, the next week against the Dallas Cowboys, the Rams lost 29-21 to eliminate them from the playoffs. The season ended with the Rams getting pummeled by the 49ers on the road, 48-0. Ultimately, the Rams finished the strike-shortened season 6-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1982.



1987 Los Angeles Rams staff
Front office
  • Owner/President – Georgia Frontiere
  • Vice President of Finance – John Shaw
  • General Counsel – Jay Zygmunt
  • Administrator of Football Operations – Jack Faulkner
  • Director of Operations – Dick Beam
  • Director of Player Personnel – John Math

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special Teams – Artie Gigantino


1987 Los Angeles Rams roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Rookies in italics

Regular season

On October 31, 1987, the Los Angeles Rams traded Eric Dickerson to the Indianapolis Colts in a three team trade involving the Buffalo Bills. The Rams sent Dickerson to the Colts for six draft choices and two players. Buffalo obtained the rights to Cornelius Bennett from Indianapolis. Buffalo sent running back Greg Bell and three draft choices to the Rams, while Indianapolis added Owen Gill and three of their own draft picks to complete the deal with the Rams.[1]

Former Heisman Trophy winner Charles White would become the starting running back. The 1987 season would be his finest year as a pro, rushing for a league-leading 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns, which earned him a Pro Bowl selection and the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

On November 23, 1987, linebacker Mike Wilcher recovered Doug Williams fumble and ran it back it 35 yards for a touchdown. It was Wilcher's only touchdown in the NFL.

Erik Kramer's 3 passing touchdown performance against the Rams on October 18, 1987, was the last three-touchdown game by an undrafted free agent rookie quarterback until Matt McGloin accomplished the feat for the Oakland Raiders on November 17, 2013, against the Houston Texans.


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance Recap
1 September 13, 1987 at Houston Oilers L 20–16
Rams took a 13–0 lead behind 149 yards rushing by Eric Dickerson and an interception return touchdown by Kevin Greene, but Oilers bounced back on two 4th-quarter touchdown passes by Warren Moon to Jamie Williams and Ernest Givins.
2 September 20, 1987 Minnesota Vikings L 21–16
Rams blew another 4th quarter lead; Wade Wilson hit Hassan Jones on a 41-yard touchdown pass, his third of the game, to win it.
September 27, 1987 Cincinnati Bengals canceled
3 October 4, 1987 at New Orleans Saints L 37–10
In the first "scab game", Rams were blown out courtesy of three touchdown passes by former Ole Miss QB John Fourcade. Rams did get their first passing touchdown of the season courtesy of former UCLA and CFL QB Bernard Quarles.
4 October 11, 1987 Pittsburgh Steelers W 31–21
Charles White ushered in the post-Dickerson era by rushing for 166 yards and a touchdown. Replacement QB Steve Dils also passed for two touchdowns.
5 October 18, 1987 at Atlanta Falcons L 24–20
Rams blew another big lead, 17–0 at halftime, 20–7 after 3. Erik Kramer, who would later have great years with the Lions and Bears, threw for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Falcons. Charles White firmly entrenched himself as the Rams' feature back with 155 yards. Former Ram Cullen Bryant, retired for 2 years, made an appearance and had a carry for 2 yards.
6 October 26, 1987 at Cleveland Browns L 30–17
With the strike settled and the regular players all back, Rams were blown out by the Browns. Eric Dickerson rushed for 38 yards and a touchdown in his final game as a Ram.
7 November 1, 1987 San Francisco 49ers L 31–10
Joe Montana tossed 3 touchdowns for the 49ers in this rout.
8 November 8, 1987 New Orleans Saints L 31–14
Rams endure another blowout at home to an NFC West opponent. Saints RB Dalton Hilliard both caught a touchdown pass and threw one in this game. Jim Everett threw two touchdowns for the Rams, one to Greg Bell, newly acquired from the Colts in the Dickerson trade.
9 November 15, 1987 at St. Louis Cardinals W 27–24
Rams broke their losing streak in a wild one at St. Louis. This game featured back to back endzone fumble recoveries for touchdowns by both teams. Derrick McAdoo's recovery gave the Cards a 24–14 lead in the 3rd, but then Ram CB Jerry Gray followed up with one of his own to cut it to 24–21. Rams won on two late field goals by Mike Lansford, the last one resulting from a 22 play, 93 yard 4th quarter drive. Charles White had another banner game, rushing for 213 yards.
10 November 23, 1987 at Washington Redskins W 30–26
In this Monday night matchup, Olympic sprinter Ron Brown returned a kickoff for a touchdown and caught what would turn out to be the winning touchdown pass from Jim Everett. Ram LB Mike Wilcher had a fumble return touchdown and Charles White ran for 112 yards and another touchdown.
11 November 29, 1987 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 35–3
Rams won their 3rd straight with ease. Jim Everett threw for two touchdowns and new star Charles White ran for 137 yards and two more.
12 December 6, 1987 at Detroit Lions W 37–16
Rams overcame a halftime deficit and blew out the Lions on the road. Everett passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns, including an 81-yarder to Henry Ellard. White had 102 yards rushing and two more touchdowns.
13 December 13, 1987 Atlanta Falcons W 33–0
All but dead five weeks ago, the Rams won their fifth straight and suddenly looked to be in the hunt for the playoffs. White had 159 yards and two touchdowns, Everett passed for another, and CB Michael Stewart had a safety and CB Leroy Irvin returned an interception for a touchdown.
14 December 21, 1987 Dallas Cowboys L 29–21
Rams put an end to any playoff chances by losing to the Cowboys at home. Cowboys K Roger Ruzek kicked five field goals and Herschel Walker ran for 108 and a touchdown. Jim Everett was injured late and would miss the remainder of the season.
15 December 27, 1987 at San Francisco 49ers L 48–0
An undermanned Ram team lost badly to the 49ers, who were playing for the division title over the surprising Saints. Steve Young and Joe Montana took turns shredding the Rams' defense. Young threw three touchdown passes and Montana had two. Charles White capped off a stellar year by rushing for 95 yards.


NFC West
San Francisco 49ers(1) 13 2 0 .867 5–1 10–1 459 253 W6
New Orleans Saints(4) 12 3 0 .800 4–1 8–3 426 283 W9
Los Angeles Rams 6 9 0 .400 1–5 5–7 317 361 L2
Atlanta Falcons 3 12 0 .200 1–4 3–8 205 436 L3

Awards and honors

See also

Other Anaheim–based teams in 1987


  1. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p.286
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