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Rams hold off Falcons for 31-27 victory

Sportsnaut
Sep 18, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws under pressure from Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Ta'Quon Graham (95) 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 272 yards and three touchdowns and the Los Angeles Rams withstood a late rally by the Atlanta Falcons for a 31-27 victory on Sunday in Inglewood, Calif.

Cooper Kupp had 11 receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns for the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Rams (1-1) led 28-3 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter before the Falcons later scored 22 points in span of 13:23 to pull to within 31-25 after Lorenzo Carter returned a blocked punt 26 yards for a touchdown with 4:57 left in the game.

The Falcons (0-2) got the ball back after Darren Hall forced and recovered Cooper Kupp’s fumble on the Rams’ 37-yard line with 3:22 remaining. But Jalen Ramsey intercepted Marcus Mariota in the end zone with just over a minute remaining.

The Rams took an intentional safety with six seconds left and punted the ball out of bounds, giving the Falcons the ball at the 50-yard line.

However, Mariota was sacked and fumbled, with Aaron Donald making the recovery as time expired.

Stafford 27-for-36 passing with two interceptions, while Tyler Higbee recorded seven catches for 71 yards and Allen Robinson finished with four catches for 53 yards and a score.

Marcus Mariota went 17-for-26 passing for 196 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Falcons.

Cordarrelle Patterson ran for 41 yards on 10 carries, while rookie first-round pick Drake London had eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown.

After taking a 7-0 lead on Stafford’s 1-yard touchdown toss to Robinson with 1:44 left in the first quarter, the Rams scored two touchdowns in the second quarter.

Darrell Henderson extended the lead to 14-0 with an 8-yard run before Younghoe Koo’s 26-yard field goal cut the lead to 14-3 with 2:44 left in the half. The Rams, however, pushed the advantage to 21-3 with 14 seconds left on Stafford’s 3-yard toss to Kupp.

The Rams increased their lead to 25 when Stafford capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive to open the second half with a 10-yard touchdown strike to Kupp with 9:22 left in the third quarter.

Mariota’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Drake made it 28-10 with 3:20 left in the third quarter before Matt Gay’s 20-yard field goal extended the Rams’ lead to 31-10 with 12:13 left in the game.

Mariota pulled the Falcons to within 31-17 with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Olamide Zaccheaus with 8:14.

Troy Andersen blocked Riley Dixon’s punt, with Carter returning it for a touchdown to make it 31-25 after Mariota hit London for the two-point conversion with 4:57 left.

–Field Level Media