The SoFi Stadium crowd jumped to its ft as Stafford’s 67-yard cross lastly landed within the palms of receiver Van Jefferson, who bolted untouched behind the Chicago Bears protection, then crossed the objective line for a landing.
It was the opening drive of an eventual 34-14 rout on Sunday night time over the visiting Bears and solely the start of Stafford’s official welcome-to-L.A. social gathering.
“He did superb,” Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey stated after the sport. “His command, his swag, like all the pieces was nice. That is like a debut that most likely ought to go down in historical past simply the way in which he performed.”
Stafford’s debut was a very long time within the making after the Rams agreed to a blockbuster commerce final January that despatched quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round choice to the Detroit Lions in alternate for the veteran quarterback.
Stafford completed 20-of-26 for 321 yards and three touchdowns, with a career-best 156.1 passer ranking, turning into the primary participant in NFL historical past to win his staff debut whereas passing for 300 yards and three touchdowns, with out an interception, in keeping with Elias Sports activities Bureau analysis.
“Lots of anticipation for this recreation,” Stafford stated throughout a postgame information convention wherein he appropriately donned a sweater with a giant smiley face on it. “It is a new expertise for me, new place, new stadium, new followers, the entire deal, however this staff has embraced me and I actually recognize that.”
After taking part in final season with out a vertical menace and struggling to constantly create performs downfield, Rams coach Sean McVay emphasised over the offseason and all through coaching camp the necessity for the offense to be extra explosive this season.
Stafford proved big-play capacity in his debut as he averaged a career-high 12.3 yards per try, whereas finishing passes to 6 completely different gamers.
“He had confidence in his teammates, he anticipated to play effectively and he did an awesome job,” stated McVay, who’s 5-0 in season openers since he turned coach in 2017. “I beloved all the pieces that he did tonight.”
Stafford’s 67-yard landing cross to Jefferson capped a three-play opening drive that lined 80 yards, spanned 1:18 and resulted in Stafford high-stepping down the sector as Ramsey and teammates erupted on the sideline.
“I used to be feeling good,” Stafford stated about his semi-awkward landing celebration. “That is a reasonably good begin. … I used to be simply jacked up and having enjoyable on the market.”
“It was nice job by [Stafford] having the ability to flip his hips and make an unbelievable throw,” McVay stated. “I believe that is type of a kind of issues — he is gifted, he is acquired an awesome capacity to have the ability to change his arm slot and make all kinds of throws, whether or not it’s brief, intermediate or down the sector, however he is — you are not restricted in something you are able to do with him within the cross recreation.”
Stafford delivered extra of the identical to open the second half. After changing on third-and-10 with a 19-yard completion to receiver Robert Woods, Stafford went deep to receiver Cooper Kupp, who didn’t have a defender inside 10 yards, for a 56-yard landing cross that gave the Rams a 20-7 lead.
“It was precisely what we needed and it was from a bunch of various guys,” McVay stated concerning the explosive performs generated from Stafford, Jefferson, Kupp, Woods and tight finish Tyler Higbee, who caught a 37-yard cross.
“Matt did an awesome job of facilitating the ball to everybody,” Jefferson stated. “This offense goes to be explosive and we’re simply following Matt.”
Stafford cautioned in his postgame pleasure that their win over the Bears was just one recreation, and that the Rams should proceed to construct on the efficiency.
However for a staff with Tremendous Bowl expectations on the shoulders of their new quarterback, it seemed to be a strong begin.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/32201463/matthew-stafford-throws-3-tds-big-play-ability-display-winning-los-angeles-rams-debut | Matthew Stafford throws for 3 TDs as big-play capacity on show in successful Los Angeles Rams debut