Rams vs. Bills score: Josh Allen throws for three TDs, runs for one as Buffalo dominates second half
Allen and Bills dominate the Rams in the season opener
The Buffalo Bills came into the season as a favorite to go to the Super Bowl, and lived up to that championship hype with a dominating 31-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in the NFL Kickoff Game Thursday. Buffalo overcame four turnovers and still put up 31 points in an impressive performance, dominating the game in the second half to put away Los Angeles.
Josh Allen finished 26 of 31 for 297 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in the win, while also rushing for 56 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. Allen's four-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal at the 4-yard line early in the fourth quarter gave the Bills a commanding 24-10 lead that set them up for the victory.
The touchdown run was the 32nd of Allen's career, tying him with Fran Tarkenton, Kordell Stewart, and Terry Bradshaw for 14th most in NFL history. Allen had his seventh game with three pass touchdowns and a rushing touchdown, putting him into sole possession of third place on that category in NFL history (Drew Brees has nine and Tom Brady has eight).
The Bills defense forced three turnovers (all interceptions) and had seven sacks on the night, holding the Rams to just 3.7 per play. Stefon Diggs caught a 53-yard touchdown from Allen in the fourth quarter to put Buffalo up 31-10, capping a night which he finished with eight catches for 122 yards with a touchdown.
Cooper Kupp had a strong night in an inept offensive game for the Rams, finishing with 13 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Stafford finished with three interceptions in the loss (his second three interception game with the Rams) and finished 29 of 41 for 240 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Rams head coach Sean McVay is under .500 in a season for the first time in his career. He falls to 5-1 in season openers.
Why the Bills won
The Bills weren't perfect on Thursday night, but they were certainly better than the reigning Super Bowl champions. Buffalo's defense was very, very impressive -- from the pass-rush to the overall play of the secondary. But what stood out just as much was the play of Allen.
The Bills' franchise QB completed 26 of 31 passes for 297 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The first interception was not his fault, as Isaiah McKenzie virtually handed the ball off to a linebacker, but the second was an underthrow. For 99 percent of the game, however, Allen was magnificent. He spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and it felt like he was always on top of where the open option would be. Allen had just one "incompletion" in the first half, as he went 17 of 20 for 153 yards, one touchdown and two picks.
The NBC broadcast pointed out that Allen was getting the ball out 2.2 seconds per drop-back entering the fourth quarter -- which is above average. He looked comfortable both relying on his receivers to make plays in the flat, and waiting in the pocket for a downfield development.
Everyone would probably agree that Allen is a star, but Thursday night just built on the fact that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and exhibited why the Bills are the favorites to hoist the Lombardi Trophy come year's end.
Why the Rams lost
There is plenty of blame to go around on L.A.'s side. Jalen Ramsey had a rough night, Stafford missed on several throws and Allen Robinson wasn't a part of the offense at all. But one thing that made life tough on the Rams as a whole was the play of the offensive line.
L.A. is replacing two starters on the offensive front this season, and it certainly showed. Stafford was sacked six times for a loss of 43 yards just in the first three quarters. According to the Associated Press, those six sacks are the most the Rams have allowed in any game under Sean McVay. Stafford was sacked one more time in the final stanza.
While the play of the offensive line affected Stafford, it also hurt L.A.'s running backs. The Rams rushed for a total of 52 yards on 18 carries, averaging 2.9 yards per carry.
Down 14 points early in the fourth quarter, the Rams had to get something going. Instead, Stafford threw his second interception of the night.
Just three plays later, Allen found Diggs streaking down the right side of the field for a 53-yard touchdown, which extended Buffalo's lead to 21 points.
Play of the game
This was either the moment you jumped for joy or felt your stomach sink. Down 21 points after a Rams interception and a Bills touchdown, Stafford threw his third interception of the night -- an impressive do-it-yourself highlight-reel play from Boogie Basham.
Josh Allen stiff arm
As a defensive back, it has to be tough to take down a tall, athletic quarterback like Allen in the open field. Nick Scott found out firsthand that it's not a pleasurable experience, as he ended up on the wrong end of this highlight-reel stiff arm from the Bills quarterback.
The Bills return to Buffalo for another primetime matchup, as they will host the Tennessee Titans next Monday night. As for the Rams, they will stay home and host Marcus Mariota and the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday afternoon.
Most games in #NFL history with 3+ pass TD and 1+ rush TD
Drew Brees -- 9
Tom Brady -- 8
Josh Allen -- 7
It felt like the Rams had some momentum going into the half, but the Bills sniffed that out real quick. A 21-0 run since halftime and they have blown this game wide open.
Josh Allen has 32 rushing TDs in his career. He tied Fran Tarkenton, Terry Bradshaw, and Kordell Stewart for 14th most in NFL history.
Josh Allen is so good Stefon Diggs never saw the pass coming.
I thought at first glance he could have ran it in.
The Rams defense is getting to Allen, but he's making the throws needed. 23 of 27 fro 196 yards. Just dinking and dunking his way though a tough defense. Let's see if the Bills can make this two scores.
Per Greg Beacham of The Associated Press, Buffalo's 6 sacks are the most the Rams have allowed in any game under Sean McVay. There's still one more quarter to play.
Didn't think I'd see the Rams average 3.3 yards per play in the third quarter. Even though the Bills defense is scary good.
RT RT RT RT RT
Jake Browning and Bengals edge Jaguars in overtime thriller | Highlights
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence exits with ankle injury in 4th quarter of 'MNF' loss
Bengals Take Down Jaguars In OT As Lawrence Leaves With Injury
What Win Means For Jake Browning's Career
MNF Fantasy Recap: Trevor Lawrence Exits With Ankle Injury
AFC Playoff Picture Following MNF
Top Waiver Wire Targets For Week 14
MNF Fantasy Recap: Biggest Fantasy Winner
MNF Fantasy Recap: Biggest Fantasy Loser
Insider Notes: Kenny Pickett Undergoes Ankle Surgery
Insider Notes: Dak Prescott Possible Massive Contract Extension
Insider Notes: 2nd Time Derek Carr Placed In Concussion Protocol
Robert Saleh Denies Report Zach Wilson Reluctant To Start Again
Empty The Notebook: Big Picture Observations
Empty The Notebook: C.J. Stroud, Khalil Mack
Path Still Alive For Jaguars To Claim No. 1 Seed
All-Pro LB Shaq Leonard Signs With Eagles, Not Cowboys
Empty The Notebook: Stories From Sunday
Empty The Notebook: Stories We Didn't Tell Yet
Derek Carr, Kenny Pickett Both Dealing With Injuries