INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The moment was five years in the making, and met with a worthy build-up. A pre-game opening ceremony began the festivities, then the legendary Michael Buffer's "Let's get ready to ruuummmble!" christened it prior to kickoff.
The Rams followed through with a memorable performance in the first regular season game at SoFi Stadium with fans in attendance.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford needed just two passes to throw his first touchdown as a Ram, finishing 20 of 26 overall for 321 yards and three touchdowns, and the Rams defense generated a pair of takeaways to lead Los Angeles (1-0) to a 34-14 win over the Chicago Bears (0-1) Sunday night at SoFi Stadium.
Wide receiver Van Jefferson caught Stafford's first touchdown pass as a Ram and finished with two receptions for 80 yards in addition to the score. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp led Los Angeles in receiving with seven catches for 108 yards and one touchdown. Running back Darrell Henderson Jr. led the Rams in rushing with 16 carries for 70 yards and one touchdown.
Linebacker Kenny Young had a hand in both of L.A.'s takeaways, tipping a pass by Bears quarterback Andy Dalton that led to an interception by cornerback David Long Jr., and also recovering outside linebacker Justin Hollins' sack-fumble.
Here's the complete game recap, presented by SoFi:
Including the return on the opening kickoff, the Bears reached the redzone in just three plays. However, the Rams defense held strong with Young tipping Dalton's pass and Long collecting it for the interception. Three plays later, new Stafford launched a 67-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Van Jefferson to give the Rams an early 7-0 lead with 10:36 left in the first quarter.
Nearly six minutes later, the Rams extended their lead to 10-0 late in the first quarter with a 53-yard field goal from kicker Matt Gay, then turned their second takeaway of the game – a sack-fumble Hollins that was recovered by Young – into points. Aided by a 13-yard completion from Stafford to Jefferson on 4th and 1 from the Bears 32, the Rams tacked on another field goal from Gay, this time from 22 yards out, to extend their lead to 13-0 with 11:39 left in the second quarter.
A 3-yard touchdown run by Bears running back David Montgomery with 34 seconds in the first half left cut the Rams' lead to 13-7 by halftime. However, the Rams answered quickly on the opening drive of the second half, with Stafford connecting with wide receiver Cooper Kupp for a 56-yard touchdown pass to give them a 20-7 lead.
The Bears responded on the ensuing series with a 3-yard touchdown run by rookie quarterback Justin Fields to pull back within six, but the Rams answered with a scoring drive punctuated by a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Darrell Henderson Jr. to go back up by double digits, 27-14, with 1:14 left in the third quarter. Henderson's touchdown was set up by a 17-yard completion from Stafford to Kupp, as well as a 37-yard completion from Stafford to tight end Tyler Higbee.
Looking to answer Los Angeles again, Chicago went for it on 4th and 15 from the Los Angeles 30-yard line, but rookie cornerback Robert Rochell broke up Dalton's pass intended for wide receiver Darnell Mooney to force the turnover on downs. The Bears faced that long distance because of a sack by Rams outside linebacker Justin Hollins on 1st and 10 from the Rams' 25.
A late two-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Stafford to wide receiver Robert Woods gave Stafford his third of the night and extended the Rams' lead to 34-14 with 3:17 left.