LOS ANGELES — Everything about the Coliseum seemed so familiar to Buffalo Bills cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, right down to the folding chairs.
The only thing different was walking into the visiting locker room instead of the one he spent so much time in playing for Southern California in college.
On the field, Robey-Coleman was right at home, intercepting two passes and returning one 41 yards for the go-ahead touchdown to the give the Bills their third consecutive win by defeating the Los Angeles Rams 30-19 on Sunday.
Robey-Coleman stepped in front of rookie receiver Pharoh Cooper and strolled down the sideline to put the Bills ahead 23-16 with 3:54 left in the third quarter, bringing back memories of his pick-6 against then-Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in 2011.
This time, however, Robey-Coleman ended up in the end zone under the famed Peristyle.
“I scored on that end, now I’m going to score on this end,” Robey-Coleman said, recalling his thoughts during his second career return for a touchdown in the NFL. “Perfect. I’m good. And we got the win this time.”
The big play allowed the Bills to finish off the Rams (3-2) and end their three-game winning streak. The Bills stopped Bradley Marquez on a fake punt at the Rams 25 with 3:41 remaining, trailing 23-19.
Tyrod Taylor then threw a 6-yard touchdown to Marquise Goodwin to put the game out of reach, with Robey-Coleman adding another interception in the final minutes.
The Bills (3-2) took advantage of the Rams defensive line playing without starting ends Robert Quinn and Williams Hayes and tackle Michael Brockers, led by 150 yards rushing from running back LeSean McCoy.
McCoy and Taylor found success early on up the middle against the Rams (3-2). Taylor scrambled for 22 yards on third-and-19, and capped off the drive by escaping the pocket to buy more time before finding Justin Hunter for a 4-yard touchdown.
McCoy had a 53-yard run to set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Mike Gillislee early in the second quarter, but Cam Thomas blocked Dan Carpenter’s extra point.
“It just came down to finishing the game. We made a run early, then they answered back, then we had to answer again,” McCoy said. “To get up here and just nitpick about this and that, come on. We got a ‘W’ against a good team, 3-1 team. LA trip, we could have let distractions get to us. We came out here with a mindset to get a victory and that’s what happened.”
Todd Gurley scored the Rams’ first touchdown at home since returning to Los Angeles on a 1-yard run late in the first half. Gurley had 72 yards rushing, but three of Greg Zuerlein’s four field goals came on drives that stalled inside the red zone.
“We’ve got to score in that red zone,” said Tavon Austin, who had seven catches for 59 yards while rushing for 26 more. “We keep getting down there, but not scoring in the red zone. Three points is good, but three points is not going to win too many big games.”
Case Keenum was 21 of 31 for 271 yards and two interceptions.
“That was a tough one,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “I think it shows, in close games against good opponents, the need for turnovers or protecting the football. And we didn’t get them defensively. In close ballgames, those are going to be the difference-makers there, so it’s disappointing.”
Former USC standouts Reggie Bush, Robey-Coleman, Kevon Seymour and Robert Woods served as the Bills’ captains in their return to the Coliseum. For Bush, it was his first time back since pounding rival UCLA for 260 yards rushing and two touchdowns in his final home game in 2005. The Trojans were forced to disassociate from Bush as part of the NCAA sanctions the school received for extra benefits he received while playing at USC.
Bush carried the ball once, but that 3-yard run showcased a touch of the burst, speed and electricity that propelled him to stardom at USC. Bush told Robey-Coleman that it felt like “the old days.”
“He was pretty happy,” Robey-Coleman said. “Every time you talked about USC he got that big smile on his face and you could tell all the old memories come back.”
The only starter on the Rams defensive line who did play was tackle Aaron Donald, and his two tackles for loss with one-half sack left Bills coach Rex Ryan eating his words.
As head coach of the New York Jets in 2014, Ryan criticized Donald’s selection to the Pro Bowl ahead of Sheldon Richardson. Ryan said this week he had not watched Donald play that season and was expressing his belief that rookies should not make the Pro Bowl.
After seeing Donald live, Ryan responded as only he can.
“They have this Donald kid, who I’ve said from Day One is the best tackle in football,” Ryan said.
Bills: Nose tackle Marcell Dareus (hamstring) was inactive. Dareus was suspended for the first four games of the season for a violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. Adolphus Washington got the start, finishing with three tackles and one sack. … Safety Aaron Williams suffered a shoulder injury in the second half. … Safety Colt Anderson did not return after suffering an arm injury in the second half.
Rams: Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was carted to the locker room in the fourth quarter with a right ankle injury. … Offensive lineman Cody Wichmann injured his right ankle on the opening possession and did not return. Jamon Brown replaced Wichmann at right guard. … Running back Benny Cunningham (hamstring) was inactive, resulting in more work on passing downs by Gurley. Gurley had three receptions for 36 yards.
Bills: Host San Francisco next Sunday.
Rams: Travel to Detroit next Sunday.