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Matthew Stafford, Rams too strong for skidding Commanders

Dec 17, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws against the against the Washington Commanders during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford threw for two touchdowns, Kyren Williams ran for one and the Los Angeles Rams held off the Washington Commanders 28-20 on Sunday in Inglewood, Calif., to move into the last playoff spot in the NFC.

Stafford completed 25 of 33 passes for 258 yards while Williams rushed for 152 yards on 27 attempts for his fifth 100-yard game of the year. In improving to 7-7, Los Angeles handily outgained Washington 445-297.

Coming off a Week 14 bye, the Commanders (4-10) looked much like the team that’s stumbled to 10 losses in their last 12 games. They couldn’t consistently move the ball most of the day, earning only seven first downs for three-plus quarters, and couldn’t stop the opponent.

Washington quarterback Sam Howell hit just 11 of 26 passes for 102 yards with a touchdown and an interception before being benched for backup Jacoby Brissett at the 9:05 mark of the fourth quarter.

Brissett promptly found Terry McLaurin for a 29-yard scoring strike with 7:17 left, then got the Commanders within eight points with 1:46 remaining on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Samuel. But the Rams were able to recover an onside kick and run out the clock as Williams picked up a first down.

Brissett finished 8 of 10 for 124 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Lucas Havrisik initiated scoring for the Rams at the 7:39 mark of the first quarter with a 22-yard field goal that capped a 77-yard drive that lasted just over 6 1/2 minutes.

Williams made it 10-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:19 left in the half, and Havrisik hit from 27 yards as time expired for a 13-0 lead at intermission.

Stafford upped the advantage to 20-0 when he took advantage of a coverage breakdown and hit Cooper Kupp for a 62-yard strike 53 seconds into the third quarter. Howell and Samuel hooked up for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 6:25 remaining to get Washington on the board.

Stafford’s 23-yard scoring pass to Demarcus Robinson with 13:25 left in the game increased the margin to 28-7.

–Field Level Media

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