The Buffalo Bills entered the season as the favorite to go to the Super Bowl, and lived up to that championship hype with a 31-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in the NFL Kickoff Game Thursday. Buffalo overcame four turnovers and went on to score 31 points in an impressive performance, controlling the game in the second half to put Los Angeles away.
Josh Allen finished 26 of 31 for 297 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in the win, while also rushing for 56 yards on 10 stands and two touchdowns. A four-yard touchdown in third and a goal on the 4-yard streak early in the fourth quarter gave Allen a solid 24-10 lead that had them poised for victory.
The touchdown run was the number 32 of Allen’s career, linking him with Fran Tarkinton, Cordell Stewart and Terry Bradshaw for a 14th place in NFL history. Allen played his seventh game with three touchdown passes and a quick touchdown, putting him in the only possession of a third-place finisher in that class in NFL history (Drew Bryce has nine and Tom Brady has eight).
The Bills defense forced three turnovers (all interceptions) and had seven sacks on the night, putting the Rams up to only 3.7 per game. Stefon Diggs caught Allen’s 53-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to lift Buffalo 31-10, capping a night in which he finished eight catches for 122 yards with a touchdown.
Cooper Kupp had a solid night in a misfit for the Rams, finishing 13 catches for 128 yards and touchdowns. Matthew Stafford finished with three interceptions in a loss (his second game of three interceptions with the Rams) and finished 29 of 41 for 240 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Rams coach Sean McVeigh went under .500 in a season for the first time in his career. He dropped to 5-1 in the season opener.
Why did the bill win
The Bills weren’t perfect Thursday night, but they were definitely better than the Super Bowl champions. Buffalo’s defense was very impressive – from quick passes to overall play in high school. But the thing that stood out equally was Allen’s play.
The Bills QB franchise completed 26 of 31 passes for 297 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The first interception wasn’t his fault, Isaiah McKenzie nearly handed the ball to a linebacker, but the second was a shot. But for 99% of the game, Allen was great. He spread the ball around seven different receivers, and felt he was always at the front where the open option would be. Allen had only one “incomplete” in the first half, going 17 of 20 for 153 yards, one touchdown and two picks.
NBC noted that Allen was hitting the ball 2.2 seconds for each dip entering the fourth quarter — above average. He seemed comfortable relying on his receivers to deliver plays in the apartment, and waiting in the pocket for pitch development.
Everyone would probably agree that Allen is a superstar, but Thursday night just built on the fact that he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and showed why the Bills are the favorites to lift the Lombardi Cup at the end of the year.
Why did the rams lose?
There is a lot of blame for going around Los Angeles. Galen Ramsey had a rough night, Stafford missed several throws and Allen Robinson wasn’t part of the offense at all. But the one thing that made life difficult for the Rams as a whole was playing the offensive line.
Los Angeles is replacing junior players on the offensive front this season, and it has definitely shown. Stafford was sacked six times for losing just 43 yards in the first three quarters. According to the Associated Press,These six sacks are the most Rams have allowed in any game under Sean McVeigh. Stafford was sacked again in the last clip.
While the offensive line game affected Stafford, it also hurt L.A.’s appearance. The Rams rushed for a total of 52 yards on 18 gigs, averaging 2.9 yards per carry.
Down 14 points early in the fourth quarter, the Rams had to get something. Instead, Stafford threw his second interception of the night.
After just three games, Allen found Diggs running down the right side of the field for a 53-yard touchdown, increasing Buffalo’s lead to 21 points.
play the game
This was either the moment you jumped for joy or you felt your stomach sink. Dropping 21 points after the Rams intercepted and Bills landed, Stafford threw his third interception of the night – a fine play from Boogie Basham.
Josh Allen’s stiff arm
As a defensive linebacker, it must be tough to take down a tall athletic midfielder like Allen on the open field. Nick Scott first-hand found that it wasn’t a pleasant experience, as he ended up on the wrong end of the arm of a spotlight reel from the Bills quarterback.
The Bills return to Buffalo for another climax match, where they will host the Tennessee Titans next Monday night. As for the Rams, they will stay home and host Marcus Mariota and the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday afternoon.
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