Rams

Rams vs. Bills Notebook: Second-Half Embarrassment for LA Defense, But Cooper Kupp Dazzles in Loss

There’s plenty of takeaways to discuss from the Rams’ season-opening embarrassment.

After kicker Matt Gay nailed a 57-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half, the Los Angeles Rams were all tied up 10-10 with the Buffalo Bills heading into the locker room of Thursday’s season-opener at SoFi Stadium.

But the second half was a disaster for the defending champs, as they were blindsided by the Buffalo offense and defense en route to a 31-10 loss. 

Let’s look at a few key LA takeaways from the loss. 

Secondary struggles

Don’t let the two first-half interceptions fool you.

The LA secondary was one of the team’s weakest units last season, and things didn’t get off to an ideal start. The Bills effortlessly took their first drive of the game down for a touchdown as Gabe Davis got wide open behind the defense.

Allen also completed his first 10 passes before Rams linebacker Terrell Lewis came up with a somewhat lucky interception that bailed out the defense from allowing a second-straight touchdown drive.

Stefon Diggs was also having his way on every part of the field in the first half. He totaled six grabs for 62 yards heading into the locker room.

In the third quarter, the Bills got more production from their running backs and short-yardage passing game, but the first play of the fourth quarter saw the LA secondary get torched again.

Davis got behind the defense one-on-one against David Long, as Allen dropped the ball in the basket for a 47-yard gain. Allen ran it in himself a few plays later.

Then, the big one. Allen had his best throw of the night with a 53-yard touchdown bomb to Diggs, who blazed by Jalen Ramsey for the score that gave Buffalo a 31-10 lead.

Stafford’s elbow looks good

Stafford’s elbow injury was a major topic of discussion entering this game. 

And though the Rams offense struggled mightily in the second half, it’s promising to see Stafford be able to throw it comfortably after an offseason where he was severely limited in how much he could throw. 

Stafford went 29 of 41 passing for 240 yards, a touchdown, and three picks. Not great by any means. 

It might be a stretch to look for this kind of positivity in the blowout loss and a three-pick performance, but the health concern around Stafford’s elbow is likely settled for the moment. Now, the Rams will need to figure out how to make it all come together. 

Cooper Kupp in MVP form

The popularly-discussed potential regression this season for the Super Bowl MVP and reigning Offensive Player of the Year looked like complete fiction Thursday night.

Kupp dominated with 13 catches for 128 yards and had LA’s only touchdown. 

He had a high pass from Stafford get away from him that got tipped up in the air for an interception. But despite the loss, Kupp looked like he’s well on his way to potentially leading the league in receiving yards and receptions again. 

Offensive line got bulldozed

The Rams’ offensive line of Joe Noteboom, Rob Havenstein, and Brian Allen couldn’t handle the Buffalo pass-rush, with their former teammate, Von Miller, presenting some significant challenges. 

Miller had two sacks and two quarterback hits. As a team, Buffalo totaled seven sacks and 15 quarterback hits from their pass rush.

Additionally, LA had just 18 carries for 52 yards, as Darrell Henderson found little room aside from an 18-yard carry. 

The Rams certainly seemed to miss Andrew Whitworth, but this is a unit-wide issue as it stands after the first game.

Cam Akers MIA

Akers entered this season slated to be 1A in the LA running back room, with Henderson set to be a steady complementary back. 

But Akers had just three carries for zero yards in the first half. He may still be struggling through some injury issues, but getting just three carries is certainly worrisome to begin the season. 

Rams Sign New Contracts with Coach Sean McVay, GM Les Snead (; 2:05)

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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