(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: And then it was time for the Los Angeles Rams to host their first game of the 2022-23 season on NBC/National TV against the highly competitive, dangerous, and much mentioned, Super Bowl contender, the Buffalo Bills.
With the OTAs, the official training camp, and the three game Pre-Season schedule all in the rear-view mirror, the grand opening date of 9/8 came in with much fanfare and fan expectation. But at the end of the day, the Rams did not measure up to the performance that the 73,846 fans inside of SoFi Stadium were all hoping for. However, as we all know, Rams fans are always confident that their team will turn it around quickly, take the loss, and then move on to the next home game against the Atlanta Falcons in little more than a week.
For the Post-Game press conference inside of the Rams Media Center, we invite you to hear directly from Head Coach, Sean McVay, followed by QB, Matthew Stafford on how they viewed and capsulized the game. They also took questions from the media in attendance.
[1st Qtr]: The Bills drew first blood in the game when Josh Allen found his wide-receiver, #13 Gabe Davis, wide open at the 15 yard line and after the catch, just ran it in for the score, (6-0) Buffalo. Allen was credited with a 26 yd. TD completion. The score came at the (10:03 ) mark in the period. The PAT was good. (7-0) Buffalo.
With only (00:45) seconds left in the period, the Bills were on the Rams 29 yd. line when Allen was intercepted by #2 Troy Hill, CB at the 24 yd line. Two plays later the period was over.
[2nd Qtr]: With (13:36) on the clock, a forced Bills fumble caused by #53 Ernest Jones was recovered by #54 Leonard Floyd on the Bills 36 yard line. On the second play of this possession, the Rams QB Matthew Stafford’s short pass to tight end, #89 Tyler Higbee, was intercepted by #30 Dane Jackson at the Bills 36. Capitalizing on the turnover, Buffalo would hold onto possession for positioning itself to attempt a 41 yd. field goal by Tyler Bass. His kick at (8:31) was perfect for the 3 points, now making it (10 – 7), Bills.
The Rams then countered with their first scoring drive that was set-up by a bruising 17 yd. run by #27 Darrell Henderson. The drive went 11 plays, 60 YDS, ending in a 4 yd. TD pass to #10 Cooper Kupp, who maintained his balance to stay inbound for the catch. PAT was good. Score was now Buffalo 10, Rams 7.
At the (2:00) minute mark left in the half, defensive cornerback, #2 Troy Hill intercepted Allen at the 50 yd. line and returned it for 5 yds. It was now first & 10 Rams with just under a minute left to play. After burning some time, and with just (00:03) remaining on the clock, they added 3 points to their score when Matt Gay calmly stepped into his place kick for a 57 yd. field goal, tying the game at (10-10).
[HALFTIME SCORE]: Rams 10 Bills 10
[3rd Qtr]: The Rams deferred & received, but had no tangible or immediate success against the charged-up Bills “D” line. They simply couldn’t move the ball and punted after a three-and-out. The Bills had more numbers on their mind and began their next scoring drive @ 13:02. After 8 plays picked up a total 55 yds, Allen tossed a 7 yd. TD pass to Isaiah McKenzie, moving ahead a score. It became (17-10), Bills.
In this period, the crowd went abuzz when a young female fan with short blonde hair, pink T-shirt, black tights, and a pink smoke bomb trailing her, ran out to the 50 yd. line. She was immediately escorted off the field.
With Rams fans facing the reality of a loss, even though the visitors were 2.5 point favorite, the Stafford-led offense could not muster enough ball control nor momentum to make any serious threats to score against the tight Bills defense. Stafford was unable to generate the badly scoring drives for either the 7 points or the 3 points and was basically not on his mark. He was also hurried a lot, and was sacked for the 4th time in the game with Von Miller getting credit for two of them against his former Super Bowl LVI teammates.
[4th Qtr]: The Bills put up two more TDs, the first at the (13:54) minute when Allen sprinted into the end zone from 4 yards out. And then out of the shot-gun, Allen went deep to WR/Stefon Biggs for a 53 yd TD bomb for this final tally of the game. This made the score (31-10). Meanwhile, the Rams offensive line bore the brunt of failing to protect Stafford while in passing mode, allowing the Bills front-four to sack him for a game total seven times. He was also intercepted three times. The unexpected conclusion to the game can be blamed on the saying, no offense, equals no points and don’t forget to add up the turnovers for both halves.
Last thoughts…Although the unfurling of the Super Bowl LVI banner was the biggest high point of the game for the team and all of its fans, there was still much joy to spread around as NFL football and the Rams are back in business. Coach McVay will regroup his team and recover from this game and look back on it as a very good learning point.
[FINAL SCORE]: Buffalo 31 Rams 10
[Next Up]: Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 18th, at 1:05 pm, SoFi Stadium. The game will be televised on Fox.