INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald discovered quarterback Matthew Stafford following a decisive win over the defending Tremendous Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, gave him an enormous hug and stated, “I really like you, man!”
In entrance of a star-studded crowd that included four-time NBA champion LeBron James, actor Jason Sudeikis and rapper-producer Dr. Dre, Stafford propelled the Rams to a 3-Zero begin as he handed for 343 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 34-24 victory over the beforehand undefeated Bucs at SoFi Stadium.
“He is enjoying lights out,” Donald stated. “That is why he is right here, we count on that from him and I do know he’ll proceed doing what he is doing and even at a better degree.”
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady handed for 432 yards and a landing and rushed for a team-high 14 yards and a rating, however discovered himself underneath constant stress and was sacked thrice.
“It is only a good protection,” stated Brady, who has been pressured on a league-low 17.8% of his dropbacks since arriving final season in Tampa Bay, however noticed a cross rush Sunday that pressured him 27% of the time. “They’ve good pass-rush schemes, they’ve good pass-rushers, they combine issues up fairly a bit on you so it is arduous to essentially simply to tee off.”
Gamers have been hesitant to agree that Sunday’s win over the Bucs supplied any form of measuring stick of their pursuit of Tremendous Bowl LVI, however Donald, a catalyst within the Rams’ 2018 Tremendous Bowl run, stated this staff “for positive” has the make-up to get there.
“It is solely three video games, nonetheless received an extended season, however clearly that is the final word aim, that is what we’re chasing,” stated Donald, who recorded his first sack towards Brady in 4 conferences. “That is the one factor I am chasing.”
Each groups struggled offensively by means of the primary quarter, and the Rams took a 14-7 lead into halftime.
Stafford dialed it up after the break.
Dealing with a third-and-10 from his personal 25-yard line, Stafford went by means of his development earlier than he finally discovered receiver DeSean Jackson for a 75-yard landing strike to place the Rams up 21-7 on the opening drive of the second half.
“He pushes it down the sector so simply,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians stated about Stafford. “You are proper up in his face one time, he finds a man wide-open down the sector and will get it to him. Numerous guys, they see it however they can not get it to him. He is a particular participant.”
Rams coach Sean McVay bolted down the sideline to rejoice the lengthy rating with Jackson, who was coming off a Week 2 recreation with no targets however was signed to a one-year free-agent contract over the offseason to offer a deep menace that the Rams lacked final season.
“It electrified the stands, the followers, the entire staff,” stated Jackson, who turned the ninth participant in NFL historical past with at the least 10 75-yard touchdowns and completed Sunday with three receptions for 120 yards.
“I used to be simply being within the second, having enjoyable,” McVay stated. “There was lots of good causes to be excited for our staff at this time.”
Brady responded with a fast nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive that he capped with a 1-yard keeper for a landing that pulled the Bucs inside one rating, however Stafford countered with a landing drive of his personal when he discovered receiver Cooper Kupp for a 10-yard landing and the Rams kicked a 48-yard area aim on the following drive to tug away.
Kupp caught 9 passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Stafford’s 75-yard landing cross accounted for his third passing landing of 50-plus yards this season, tying the variety of 50-plus-yard passing touchdowns the Rams had in 2019 and 2020 mixed with former quarterback Jared Goff.
In three video games in L.A., Stafford has 9 passing touchdowns, which ties him with Corridor of Famer Kurt Warner in 1999 for essentially the most touchdowns in Rams historical past by means of three video games.
“I used to be the brand new man coming in and so they’ve embraced me, which was superior,” stated Stafford, who performed 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions and was acquired through a blockbuster offseason commerce. “I am simply attempting to be myself each single day, convey my greatest each single day and see the place that takes us.”
The Rams will stay at SoFi Stadium subsequent Sunday and can open division play towards the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.
Brady will return to New England, the place he performed 20 seasons and received six Tremendous Bowls, to face former coach Invoice Belichick and the 1-2 Patriots.
ESPN workers author Jenna Laine contributed to this report.