No interception. Zero wobbles. A decision-making scorecard that contained nothing but positives.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford produced what the Rams needed on Sunday at Sophie Stadium.
After a November without a win that Stafford and coach Sean McVay would undoubtedly prefer to forget, Stafford returned to early-season form in a 37–7 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Stafford passed for three touchdowns, Sonny Mitchell ran for 121 yards and a touchdown, and a turnover-hungry defense forced and recovered two fumbles as the Rams ended a three-game losing streak and 8-4. improved.
Stafford completed 26 of 38 passes for 295 yards as the Rams remained in the hunt for the post season.
“He’s our boy,” McVay said. “We go as he goes.”
It is difficult to guess where Ram is going.
He was made with the mandate to play in Super Bowl LVI at Sophie Stadium in February. Owner Stan Kroenke spent cash and no future draft, while empowering general manager Les Snead and McVay to make blockbuster moves for a star-studded roster.
But the Rams have beaten only two teams with a winning record—the resurgent Indianapolis Colts and the defending Super Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those wins came in the second and third weeks of the longest season in NFL history.
Now they are going into week 14.
Coming up next: a December 13 performance with the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals on “Monday Night Football.” The Cardinals, currently the top-seeded team for the NFC playoffs, improved to 10-2 on Sunday with a win over the Chicago Bears.
So, passing the Jaguars (2-10) was nothing to eliminate Champagne.
All that can be said about coach Urban Meyer’s team is that rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence has clear potential, and the Jaguars’ struggle earned them the No. 1 selection in the draft for the second year in a row.
But Ram will take it.
“It’s definitely nice to be back on the winning side of things,” McVay said, “and now we should be able to build on that.”
Or, in Stafford’s case, continue to rebuild.
After playing as the Most Valuable-Player candidate in the first half of the season, Stafford turned to a nosebleed. In losses to the Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers, he made six turnovers, watching helplessly as three interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
On Sunday, Stafford sustained a hit in the second quarter that forced him to sideline for a play.
“Just a little shot in the chest,” Stafford said. “Had to check myself, make sure I was all good.”
He came back with perhaps his best pass of the game – a 19-yard strike to Van Jefferson. The game led to a field goal and a 16–7 halftime lead.
Stafford joined with receivers Cooper Kupp and Jefferson for the third-quarter touchdown, which started the final route, and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the fourth-quarter touchdown to finish it.
“I just see each game as an opportunity to attack and play it great,” said Stafford, who went through 30 touchdowns with nine interceptions. “Sometimes it doesn’t. … Tried to make sure I wasn’t putting the ball in harm’s way, and our guys were getting open and making catches.
Stafford got help from Mitchell, who started in place of the injured Darrell Henderson. Mitchell pushed the ball 24 times, producing the Rams’ first 100-yard rushing game of the season, while working hard behind a line, with backup center Coleman Shelton, who replaced injured Brian Allen after the first play. Was. McVay also used the Tackle Joseph notebook in a jumbo formation as an additional lineman.
Mitchell’s tough race, and McVay’s willingness not to give it up, revived the play-action attack that has been a hallmark of the Rams’ most successful offenses since McVay was hired in 2017.
The question now is whether McVay will stick with it.
For the first time in four games, the Rams played with a lead instead of a hole, which Stafford dug with a turnover. Kupp reached 100 receptions with eight for 129 yards and his 11th touchdown, a career high.
“It was definitely fun,” said star defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who had one sack and contributed to another.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey made a fumble recovery in the first quarter forced by Donald. Safety Taylor Rapp retrieves a third-quarter rumble by lineman A’Shawn Robinson. Both turnovers resulted in touchdown passes by Stafford.
“Sometimes it’s just you – I mean the football gods, they pay you a visit,” Ramsey said. “And there is a saying that turnovers come in bunches.
“So, I guess that happened to us… and hopefully, it will continue to happen.”