1978 Los Angeles Rams season

1978 Los Angeles Rams season
Head coach Ray Malavasi
Owner Carroll Rosenbloom
Home field Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Record 12–4
Division place 1st NFC West
Playoff finish Won Divisional
Lost Conference

The 1978 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 41st year with the National Football League and the 33rd season in Los Angeles.

The Rams won their sixth-straight division title and appeared in the NFC Championship game.


Chuck Knox, who had coached the Rams for the previous five seasons, left the team after the 1977 season to join the Buffalo Bills.

In February, 1978, Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom hired former Rams coach George Allen, with much media fanfare. Allen had coached the Rams from 1966–1970, and had recently been dismissed by the Washington Redskins, whom he had coached from 1971–1977.

His second stint as the Rams' head coach was an unfortunate experience for all concerned. Allen did not have full authority over personnel and thus worked with general manager Don Klosterman to oversee a talented roster that had made the team a perennial playoff challenger. Allen brought with him his scrupulous discipline and attention to detail, which extended to practice-field protocol and dining-hall decorum. Almost immediately, a group of Ram players chafed at the regulations, and some made their grievances public. A few, including standout linebacker Isiah Robertson, briefly left camp.

As newspaper reports were quoting players expressing confidence that differences would be resolved, the Rams played listlessly and lost the first two games of the 1978 exhibition schedule. Rosenbloom decided that for the season to be salvaged a change must be made, and the announcement of Allen's abrupt dismissal was made on August 13, 1978, just weeks before the season opener. Many of Allen's own players were surprised by the decision. Defensive coordinator Ray Malavasi, well-respected and liked by players (and the only holdover from Chuck Knox' staff), replaced Allen.

In July 1978, the Rams announced plans to leave the Coliseum for Anaheim Stadium beginning with the 1980 season.

NFL Draft

Main article: 1978 NFL Draft
Round Pick Player Position School/Club Team

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Notes Attendance
1 September 3, 1978 at Philadelphia Eagles W 16–14 Rookie kicker Frank Corral won it with a 46-yard field goal.
2 September 10, 1978 Atlanta Falcons W 10–0 Rams dominated on both offense and defense, outgaining the Falcons 358 yards to 73. Cullen Bryant had a TD run.
3 September 17, 1978 Dallas Cowboys W 27–14 Rams got some early bragging rights against the defending Super Bowl champs. Pat Haden's 42-yard bomb in the third quarter to Willie Miller and Rod Perry's interception return TD provided the winning points.
4 September 24, 1978 at Houston Oilers W 10–6 Rams won a tight defensive struggle as Cullen Bryant had a TD run and Corral a 25-yard FG. This game would be remembered for Houston rookie Earl Campbell's memorable run in the third quarter through Isiah Robertson and Bill Simpson that ended with a concussion.
5 October 1, 1978 at New Orleans Saints W 26–20 Rams jumped to a 20–0 lead, aided by Rod Perry's second interception return TD of the season, then held on for the win despite three scoring passes by Archie Manning.
6 October 8, 1978 San Francisco 49ers W 27–10 Defense held 49ers QB Steve DeBerg to 7 for 26 passing and 83 yards. Meanwhile, Rams rushed for 227 yards and another Cullen Bryant TD and Pat Haden threw for two.
7 October 15, 1978 at Minnesota Vikings W 34–17 Rams held the Vikings to 222 yards total offense and only 42 yards rushing while rushing for 180 themselves and scoring three fourth-quarter TD's.
8 October 22, 1978 New Orleans Saints L 10–3 Rams struggled at home as tackle John Williams was called for seven holding penalties. Archie Manning hit Tony Galbreath with a 19-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter after Rams punter Glen Walker fumbled a snap and was tackled by Saints defensive end Elois Grooms. It was the Saints' first win at the Coliseum after nine consecutive losses.
9 October 30, 1978 at Atlanta Falcons L 15–7 Falcons kicker Tim Mazzetti, who just a month prior had been bartending in New Orleans, booted five field goals in this Monday Night game.
10 November 5, 1978 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 26–23 Bucs QB Doug Williams left early with a broken jaw, but backup Mike Rae nearly led a comeback to a major upset with his passing and running (4 scrambles for 95 yards). Bucs tied it in fourth on a tipped TD pass from Rae to J.K. McKay, but Corral won it with a late field goal as Rams narrowly avoided a third straight loss.
11 November 12, 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers W 10–7 Rams won a tough defensive struggle at home as John Cappelletti ran for 105 yards and Pat Haden passed to Willie Miller for the winning touchdown in the fourth.
12 November 19, 1978 at San Francisco 49ers W 31–28 Rams won once again on a late field goal by Corral, overcoming three rushing TD's by Paul Hofer and a kickoff return TD by Dave Williams.
13 November 26, 1978 at Cleveland Browns L 30–19 Browns dominated on a cold, rainy day, intercepting three Pat Haden passes and getting a 57-yard TD run by Greg Pruitt. Rams RB Lawrence McCutcheon suffered a severe calf muscle pull and was declared out for the season.
14 December 3, 1978 at New York Giants W 20–17 This one was won by the Rams' pass defense. Giants had only 12 completions in 34 attempts and 4 interceptions, including one returned for a TD by Pat Thomas. Giants ran ball well (185 yards), but it wasn't enough. Rams clinched 6th straight division title with this victory.
15 December 11, 1978 Cincinnati Bengals L 20–19 Rams jumped to a 13–0 lead at home, but couldn't hold back the Bengals as kicker Chris Bahr won it with two late field goals. Pat Haden threw for a then-career-high 283 yards despite injuring his passing thumb in the third quarter.
16 December 17, 1978 Green Bay Packers W 31–14 Rod Perry had his third interception return TD of the season and Cullen Bryant ran for a career-high 121 yards and two TD's. The loss cost the Packers the NFC Central title.


NFC West
Los Angeles Rams(1) 12 4 0 .750 4–2 10–2 316 245 W1
Atlanta Falcons(4) 9 7 0 .563 5–1 8–4 240 290 L1
New Orleans Saints 7 9 0 .438 3–3 6–6 281 298 W1
San Francisco 49ers 2 14 0 .125 0–6 1–11 219 350 L1


NFC Divisional Playoff

1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 3 7 0 0 10
Rams 0 10 14 10 34

at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles

After the game was tied 10–10 at halftime, the Rams dominated the second half by scoring 24 unanswered points. After the Vikings opened up the scoring with a field goal, Los Angeles marched 59 yards to score on quarterback Pat Haden's 9-yard touchdown pass to Willie Miller.

NFC Championship Game

1 2 3 4 Total
Cowboys 0 0 7 21 28
Rams 0 0 0 0 0

at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles

This game was a tough defensive struggle until Charlie Waters intercepted two Pat Haden passes intended for tight end Terry Nelson. Waters' first interception came in the middle of the third and led to a 5-yard TD run by Tony Dorsett. Rams kicker Frank Corrall missed two first half field goal attempts, and with the score 14–0, the Rams were stopped on 4th and inches at the Dallas 21 yard line. Roger Staubach then led a touchdown drive that ended with a TD pass to Billy Joe Dupree. Thomas Henderson, who had said in pre-game interviews that the Rams "didn't have enough class to go to the Super Bowl", backed up his words by capping the scoring with a 68-yard interception return touchdown.


    Preceded by
    < 1977
    Los Angeles Rams seasons
    Succeeded by
    1979 >
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