By Earl Heath , Contributing Sports Writer
Matthew Stafford threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns and Cooper Kupp had two TD catches for the Rams, as they jumped out to a 21 -3 halftime lead.
Stafford completed his first 12 passes on his way to completing 27 of 36. Kupp had 11 catches for 108 yards and touchdowns on consecutive drives in the second and third quarters.
The Rams eventually hung on for a 31-27 win in front of some 71,364 at So-Fi.
Kupp made an over-the-shoulder catch on a fade pattern on second-and-3. The Super Bowl MVP’s first score came three plays after Rams rookie cornerback Cobie Durant picked off a pass bobbled by Cordarrelle Patterson and returned it 51 yards up the right sideline to the Falcons 9.
The Rams then took the second half kickoff and extended their lead by another touchdown when Kupp caught a quick pass and put a move safety Jaylinn Hawkins for a 10-yard TD.
The Falcons were able to move the ball in the first half, but were stymied by turnovers. However in the second half Falcons QB Marcus Mariotta threw TD passes to Drake London and Olamide Zaccheaus to bring the Falcons within 31-17. It was defense special teams came through to give the veteran quarterback a final chance.
It began with Troy Anderson blocking a a punt that Lorenzo Carter returned 26 yards for a touchdown, and a 2-point conversion pass from Mariota to London brought the Falcons within 31-25 with 5:06 remaining. It is the first time since 1990 that the Falcons have blocked a punt in a regular-season game and returned it for a TD. That was the first since a 2003 playoff game against Green Bay.
On the next drive Los Angeles Darren Hall forced Kupp to fumble and recovered it at the Rams 37. Mariota got the Falcons to the Rams 24 before being picked off in the end zone by all pro Jalen Ramsey.
”There’s a lot of different, very uncharacteristic things, but they happened. And we still found a way,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. ”We’re not going to run away from some of the things that we didn’t do well today. But we’re also going to allow ourselves to appreciate being able to come away with a win.”
The Rams are 2-0 and will travel to Arizona this week.