By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
It was supposed to be a night of celebration and recognizing the Super Bowl LVI-Champions with the unveiling of a World Championship banner. There were celeb sightings like Anthony Anderson and Vernon Davis. It turned into big disappointment as the Rams fell to Buffalo 31-10 in front of 73,846 at So Fi Stadium.
The teams opened up the 2022 season on a Thursday Night nationally televised game. Viewer’s saw the Rams fall behind 10-0 before Matthew Stafford led them on a twelve play, 60-yard drive that finished with the 14-year veteran connecting with Cooper Kupp on a 4-yarder in the back of the endzone which made the score 10-7.
After a Troy Hill interception led to a Matt Gay 53-yard field goal as time expired in the half. That ended the scoring for the day for the home team.
Stafford completed 29 of 41 for 240 yards with three interceptions on a tough night for the Rams, who lost a season opener and fell below .500 for the first time in six seasons under coach Sean McVay.
”Very humbling night, but one where you look yourself in the mirror and say you have to be better,” McVay said. ”We weren’t ready to go. That’s on me….There were a lot of decisions I made that didn’t put us in the best position to succeed. It was a very humbling night.”
The Bill’s defense had seven sacks that’s most allowed in McVay’s tenure. A few days before the game the team announced the loss of O-line starters Center Bryan Allen and tackle Joe Noteboom may return this week against Atlanta.
Former Ram Von Miller had two of them as part of his four tackles. The future Hall of Famer just one contributor on a night when Buffalo didn’t even need to blitz as the four.
The Rams even got shut out in the second half, ending a streak of 89 consecutive halves with a point dating back to November 2018.
Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp had 13 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown, but the Rams’ night went quickly downhill. Los Angeles could not
Rams newcomer Allen Robinson had one catch on just two targets. The Bills defense held the home team to just 53 yards on the ground.
The Bills Josh Allen went 26 for 31 passing for 297 yards while accounting for four touchdowns. His scoring passes were to three different receivers-Gabe Davis, Isaiah McKenzie and Stefon Diggs as the two-time defending AFC East champions began the season by overcoming four turnovers and running away with to the win shutting out the Rams in the second half while adding two lengthy TD drives in the fourth period. One of 94 yards that Allen finished with a 4-yard run that took 6:44 off the clock and one of 3 plays and 59 yards which included a 53-yard TD strike to Diggs in 1:53.
With several Wyoming fans at SoFi Allen also rushed for 56 yards, scrambling for a 4-yard TD when he stretched the ball over the line at the 13:27 mark.
Troy Hill led the team in tackles with eight, six of them solo he was followed by Ernest Jones and Nick Scott who had seven a piece.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner had also had seven tackles including a sack. The nine-year veteran started his first game for the RAMS after spending the previous 8 years with the Seattle.
“Obviously wasn’t the way you come out and start the season,” said Wagner the Ontario, California native. “Its one game so everyone wants to act like the seasons over, we have 16 games left.”
RAM NOTES: With a first quarter sack of Bills QB Allen Aaron Donald now has 99 career sacks… Dereck Stafford’s 240 yards passing makes him the 12th player in NFL history to go over 50,000 for his career… Owner/Chairman E. Stan Kroenke and 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Andrew Whitworth lead an on-field celebration, that included video highlights of last years championship season. They were joined by Odell Beckem Jr. and members of the WATTS RAMS, the youth football program created by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers to bridge community and police relations through the game of football…Singer, actor and musician HALLE BAILEY performed “Lift Every Voice & Sing”… Queen Elizabeth II was given a moment of silence before the game. Her picture also was on several el