Matthew Stafford, ‘turning off the lights’, keeps the Los Angeles Rams rolling as Hollywood watches

INGLEWOOD, California – Los Angeles Rams defensive line Aaron Donald quarterback found Matthew stafford After a decisive win over defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, she gave him a big hug and said, “I love you man!”

In front of a star-studded crowd that included four-time NBA champion LeBron James, actor Jason Sudeikis and rapper and producer Dr. Dre, Stafford propelled the Rams to a 3-0 start by passing for 343 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-24 win over previously undefeated Bucs at SoFi Stadium.

“He’s playing with the lights off,” Donald said. “That is why he is here, we expect it of him and I know that he will continue to do what he is doing and even at a higher level.”

Bucs quarterback Tom brady he passed for 432 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 14 yards and a touchdown, the team’s best, but found himself under constant pressure and was sacked three times.

“It’s just good defense,” said Brady, who has been pressured by 17.8% of his dropbacks, the league-low, since arriving in Tampa Bay last season, but saw a passing run Sunday that put pressure on him. 27% of the time. “They have good pass-rusher schemes, they have good marshmallows, they mix things up a bit with you, so it’s really hard to just hit the first hit.”

Players were hesitant to accept that Sunday’s victory over the Bucs provided some kind of yardstick in their quest for Super Bowl LVI, but Donald, a catalyst in the Rams’ 2018 Super Bowl run, said this team “sure “You have the preparation to go there.

“It’s only three games, we still have a long season, but obviously that’s the end goal, that’s what we’re pursuing,” said Donald, who recorded his first sack against Brady in four games. “That’s the only thing I’m chasing.”

Both teams battled offensively during the first quarter, and the Rams took a 14-7 lead at halftime.

Stafford scored it after the break.

Facing a third-and-10 from his own 25-yard line, Stafford went through his progression before finally finding the receiver. DeSean Jackson for a 75-yard touchdown that put the Rams up 21-7 on the first drive of the second half.

“He pushes him across the field so easily,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said of Stafford. “You’re in his face once, he finds a very open guy on the field and takes him away. A lot of guys see him, but they can’t get it to him. He’s a special player.” . “

Rams coach Sean McVay shot up the sidelines to celebrate the long score with Jackson, who was coming off a goalless Week 2 game but signed a one-year free agent contract during the offseason to provide a profound threat to the Rams. It was missing last season.

“He electrified the stands, the fans, the whole team,” said Jackson, who became the ninth player in NFL history with at least 10 75-yard touchdowns and finished Sunday with three receptions for 120 yards.

“I was just living in the moment, having fun,” McVay said. “There were many good reasons to be excited for our team today.”

Brady responded with a quick nine-play, 75-yard scoring march that capped off a 1-yard goalie for a touchdown that brought the Bucs closer to a touchdown, but Stafford responded with a touchdown of his own when he found the receiver. Cooper kupp for a 10-yard touchdown and the Rams kicked a 48-yard field goal on the next drive to get away.

Kupp caught nine passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

Stafford’s 75-yard touchdown pass represented his third passing touchdown of more than 50 yards this season, tying the number of passing touchdowns of more than 50 yards the Rams had in 2019 and 2020 combined with the former quarterback. Jared goff.

In three games in Los Angeles, Stafford has nine touchdowns per pass, tying him with Hall of Famer Kurt Warner in 1999 for the most touchdowns in Rams history in three games.

“I was the new kid who was coming in and they hugged me, which was amazing,” said Stafford, who played 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions and was acquired through a highly successful offseason trade. “I just try to be myself every day, do my best every day and see where it takes us.”

The Rams will remain at SoFi Stadium next Sunday and will open divisional play against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.

Brady will return to New England, where he played 20 seasons and won six Super Bowls, to face former coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots 1-2.

ESPN staff writer Jenna Laine contributed to this report.

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