Matthew Stafford passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns in a dynamic start to the Los Angeles Ramsos
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Matthew Stafford passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns on a dynamic start with his new team, helping the Los Angeles Rams beat Andy Dalton and the Chicago Bears for a 34-14 win on Sunday night. Gave.
Stafford found Van Jefferson for a 67-yard touchdown on his second pass to the Rams, which turned a blockbuster offseason trade to acquire the 13-year veteran quarterback from Detroit. Stafford hit a wide-open Cooper Kupp for a 56-yard TD to open the third quarter, and he found Robert Woods for a crucial score to play with 3:17.
With Stafford in place of Jared Goff, the Rams again looked like an offensive powerhouse for their first two seasons under coach Sean McVay, who improved to 5–0 in the season opener. Rams scored six of Stafford’s first seven full drives while racking up 375 yards, and Kupp took seven catches for 108 yards.
Dalton covered 206 yards in his Bears debut, and rookie quarterback Justin Fields ran for a 3-yard score, receiving a handful of snaps in his NFL debut. Chicago moved the ball quickly, but Dalton’s end-zone interception after a solid opening drive left the Bears playing from behind all night.
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.
Dalton began his Bears career in a competition with Fields, an Ohio State rookie who looked impressive at preseason. Negi used both quarterbacks against the Rams, switching fields with an opening drive in between. Fields completed both his passes for 10 yards.
But Stafford was the center of attention at the first regular-season NFL game with fans at the palatial Sophie Stadium that opened last year. The 33-year-old quarterback left the Lions for Los Angeles six months ago, having traded Goff and two first-round picks with no career playoff wins and everything to prove.
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, as Lee Grossup did for the AFL’s New York Titans in 1962.
Stafford began his Rams career with his long, graceful throw to Jefferson on his third offensive snap. The ball hung 53 yards in the air and dropped directly to Jefferson, who fell, rose and scored when two Bears defenders failed to touch it.
Dalton led the Chicago offense from the start, but the Bears’ opening campaign ended with the first interception of David Long Jr.’s career, tipped off by Kenny Young.
Los Angeles scored two field goals in the first half, while Montgomery scored Chicago’s first points 34 seconds before halftime.
Kupp put the Rams up 20-7 at the start of the third, when a Chicago secondary dropped him 10 yards behind his safety. Goff threw only two touchdown passes longer than 40 yards for Los Angeles last season.
Chicago held it off with an 81-yard drive to Fields TD run, but Darrell Henderson punched in another TD for the Rams late in the third after a 75-yard drive. Woods took a late 2-yard TD catch after Stafford made some impressive decisions.
Los Angeles scored at least 34 points only twice last season, making it largely the NFL’s No. 1 defense in the playoffs.
The Rams welcomed fans to owner Stan Kroenke’s stadium during a festive evening that included the presence of former Rams stars Jackie Slater, Tory Holt, Orlando Pace, Jim Everett and Steven Jackson. OneRepublic played the halftime show.
Bears: LT Jason Peters injured his quadriceps early in the third quarter of his debut in Chicago. Rookie backup Larry Borom also came out with an ankle injury later in the same drive. … nt Eddie Goldman was inactive with knee and ankle injuries. Nickel back Duke Shelley also sat outside.
Rams: Left with prolonged cramping in the third trimester.
Bears: Home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Dalton defeated his old team with Dallas last season.
Rams: Road opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
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