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Whitworth: Rams' SB loss was 'worst game' of season

Two months to the day that the Los Angeles Rams' offense went to sleep in Super Bowl LIII, Andrew Whitworth is still not over the loss.

The veteran left tackle, who announced in late February that he will return for his 14th season, told NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano on Wednesday that Los Angeles intends to learn from the 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots, a defeat that he rightfully considered the club's worst loss of the year.

"There's definitely ways we could have executed better and just calmed down and executed the way he had all season long," Whitworth said of the defeat. "You look at the year before, I thought probably we played our worst game against Atlanta in the (wild-card) round of the playoffs, but for the whole season. I think offensively for us, it was pretty similar to the Super Bowl against New England. It was maybe our worst game of the season right up there. You could say that or (the 15-6 loss to) the Bears (in Week 14).

"But I would argue that the New England game, no real factors to that one. We just flat out didn't play well. For us, it's really one of those things, it's a learning opportunity. How can we respond?"

L.A. responded in the offseason by losing its quarterbacks coach, Zac Taylor, to the Cincinnati Bengals and two starting offensive linemen, Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan, to free agency.

Whitworth is not bothered by the losses on the offensive line, which are likely to be filled by Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen, respectively, but hated to see reliable vets like Saffold and Sullivan depart.

"Obviously I think any time you go into a season, playing 13 years, I've seen a lot of things happen, a lot of change on a football team every year in the offseason. You know it's going to be a part of this industry," Whitworth said. "It's tough to lose those two guys for sure just for the rocks they were and how good of football players they've been."

The tackle said that the losses along the offensive line would not have influenced his decision to return for another season if they had occurred before Whitworth had announced his intentions.

The rules will be different this season for Whitworth, his teammates and every player around the league, in regards to replay review of pass interference. During their postseason run, the Rams benefitted from and then arguably suffered at the hands of a non-call on defensive pass interference. Nickell Robey-Coleman wasn't flagged for an early hit in the NFC Championship Game, paving the way for a Rams victory, but Brandin Cooks was arguably manhandled by Patriots defenders on a fourth-quarter heave at the goal line in Super Bowl LIII.

Having been on both sides of the non-call, Whitworth thinks that the expansion of replay review to include pass interference calls and non-calls in 2019 will cause more drama than the league is bargaining for.

"We're playing an imperfect game. There are things that happen every play that you can judge," Whitworth explained. "Like I said when we went through the Saints thing, it's the same idea that, you know, it's tough. Those refs have to do a lot of things and they don't get to slow it down in the moment. That's what we're trying to do is find a solution for some of those moments.

"Some of them are so ticky-tacky and tough, I think you're going to have teams, really, you're going to build almost this kind of animosity that you had after the Saints-Rams game really with every game that could come down to a possible hand here or there. Now when you slow it down on a replay, you're really creating more buzz in that way or more arguments for teams. It'll be interesting to see how it works out. I think it's one of things where it could be tough."

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