INGLEWOOD, Calif.—Matthew Stafford’s second pass to the Los Angeles Rams traveled 53 majestic yards through the air and fell into the hands of Van Jefferson, who fell untouched, stood up and scored.
The Rams put their future at stake on Stafford which is the key to turning a good team into a great team.
With a dynamic start against Chicago, Stafford immediately showed the potential the Rams could have unlocked.
Stafford passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns for one of the most spectacular quarterback debuts with a new team in NFL history, surpassing Andy Dalton and the Bears for a 34-14 win on Sunday night.
Stafford found Jefferson for a 67-yard touchdown on his second pass to the Rams, which turned a blockbuster offseason trade to gain the 13-year veteran from Detroit. Stafford widened Cooper Kupp for a 56-yard TD to open the third quarter, and he found Robert Woods for a cleaning score to play with 3:17.
The first regular season crowd at Sophie Stadium thundered through the night for Stafford, who seemed immediately comfortable in his new home.
“I’ve done everything I can to work as hard as I can and get myself into this team, and they’ve wrapped their arms around me,” Stafford said. “It’s nice to be there tonight and play with him. Such incredible players in this team. I’m lucky to be a part of it. I want to do everything he can to lead this team where he wants to go.”
With Stafford in place of Jared Goff, the Rams were again an attacking powerhouse in their first two seasons under coach Sean McVay, who improved to 5–0 in the season opener. The Rams scored on six of Stafford’s first seven full drives while on offense for 375 yards.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stafford became the first player in his debut for a new team with two touchdown passes for more than 50 yards since Lee Grossup had done so for the AFL’s New York Titans in 1962. Stafford’s 156.1 passer rating is the highest in NFL history for a quarterback who made at least 20 pass attempts initially with a new team, according to NFL Research.
“His command, his swag, everything was great,” said All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who had nine tackles. “It’s like a debut that should probably go down in history, the swag of the way he played. I’m not into stats all the time, but his stats were probably crazy too. I mean, that was just a start which was good. “
Dalton covered 206 yards in his Bears debut, and rookie quarterback Justin Fields ran for a 3-yard score while receiving a handful of snaps in his NFL debut. Chicago got the ball moving quickly all night, but David Long Jr. intercepted a tipped pass in the end zone on the Bears’ opening drive, which kept them playing from behind all night.
Dalton said, “I was going to (Darnell) Mooney, and unfortunately it was tipped.” “It kicked off a real good drive for us. Set the tone with the way we wanted to play, but didn’t finish.”
David Montgomery ran for 108 yards and scored a touchdown for the Bears, who fell 1–3 in the season opener under coach Matt Nagy.
“We skipped explosive plays and didn’t execute in the red zone,” Negi said. “Big picture, we were able to move the ball. …Once we got back and got one-dimensional, it was more difficult.”
But Stafford was the center of attention in Sophie, and began her Rams career with that long, graceful throw on her third offensive snap to Jefferson. Los Angeles traded Goff and two first-round picks to gain the 33-year-old quarterback, but no career playoff win.
As good as Stafford was, once the Rams actually air it, McVay sees great potential.
“We only threw it 26 times, but he definitely made the most of those plays, and I thought he did a great job,” McVay said.
Montgomery eventually scored Chicago’s first points 34 seconds before halftime, but Kupp – who finished with seven catches for 108 yards – put the Rams up 20-7 in the third, when Chicago’s secondary gave him his own. Completely abandoned 10 yards from safety.
Chicago closed it with a 16-play, 81-yard drive by Fields TD run, but Darrell Henderson punched in another TD for the Rams late in the third.
The Rams are set to play against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
by Greg Beechma
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times