INGLEWOOD, C.A. — All of the expectations in the world were on the Buffalo Bills’ shoulders heading into the season opening game against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. And when the spotlight was on, the Bills delivered in a big way, making a statement and coming away with a 31-10 win at SoFi Stadium despite first half mistakes.
After going into halftime tied at 10-10, the Bills — the Super Bowl favorite per Caesars Sportsbook — went full steam ahead in the second half, scoring touchdowns on three straight possessions, while forcing two punts and intercepting quarterback Matthew Stafford twice in the second half alone.
Despite two first half interceptions — one of which bounced off wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie — quarterback Josh Allen led the way, completing 26 of 33 passes (83.9%) for 297 yards and three touchdowns. His completion percentage breaks the Bills’ regular season record, previously set by Trent Edwards in 2008. Allen also was the team’s leading rusher with nine carries for 57 yards and a score.
The Bills offense had success maintaining drives on third down, finishing 9-10 (90%), tied for second-best in the last 30 seasons by any team in a single game. Buffalo did not punt once in the game.
The defense gave Stafford fits, sacking him seven times — the most Stafford has been sacked as a Ram. Two of those sacks came from Von Miller in his first game as a Bill. Miller also had two quarterback hits and three tackles for loss. The Bills were able to generate pressure successfully without blitzing. By the fourth quarter, the Bills only had one blitz on 32 dropbacks (3%). Stafford was 0-3 last season when opponents blitzed less than 10% of the time.
Los Angeles was able to stay in the game early thanks to a late second quarter four-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp, but were unable to get the offense going in the second half. The Bills’ outpaced the Rams, in terms of yardage, 414-243.
The Rams became the third defending Super Bowl champions since 2004 to lose a Thursday season opener (teams were previously 14-2).
The Bills will now get a long break before hosting the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football in Week 2.
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