INGLEWOOD, Calif. – A strong offensive performance led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receivers Cooper Kupp and DeSean Jackson powered the Los Angeles Rams (3-0) to a 34-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) Sunday afternoon at SoFi Stadium.
Stafford finished 27 of 38 for 343 yards and four touchdowns, Kupp nine catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns and Jackson three receptions for 120 yards and one touchdown to help the Rams remain undefeated. Tight end Tyler Higbee (five receptions for 40 yards) accounted for Stafford's other passing touchdown.
With Darrell Henderson Jr. (ribs) inactive, Sony Michel carried the load at running back with 20 carries for 67 yards, both team-highs.
Linebacker Kenny Young and defensive lineman Aaron Donald both authored strong performances for Los Angeles' defense. Young posted a team-high 10 total tackles, plus one sack, one QB hit and one forced fumble, while Donald had three total tackles, one sack-fumble and one pass breakup. The sack moved Donald into a tie with defensive end Leonard Little for most career sacks in Rams franchise history (87.5).
Here is the complete game recap, powered by Verizon:
Both teams traded 3-and-outs at the start of the game. The Rams went with Jake Funk at running back on their first offensive series, then Michel on their second. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson was also in for the Rams on that second series, and was targeted deep downfield by Stafford on 3rd and 10, but Bucs cornerback Ross Cockrell was there to break up the pass.
Los Angeles eventually settled in on their third offensive series, riding Michel, a 12-yard completion to Higbee and 22-yard completion to Kupp to get into Tampa Bay territory. The drive ended with a six-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Higbee to give the Rams a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.
However, Tampa Bay answered on the following drive with a 2-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep by wide receiver Chris Godwin to tie the game 7-7 with 4:03 left in the first half.
The Rams responded with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Kupp, and maintained that 14-7 lead at halftime after Bucs kicker Ryan Succop's 55-yard attempt as time expired at the end of the first half missed wide right. The Rams were also helped on the drive by Donald notching his first career sack against Tom Brady, a sack-fumble, to be specific, that contributed to the Bucs settling for that field goal.
The Rams extended their lead to 21-7 on the opening drive of the second half, as Stafford connected with Jackson for a 75-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter, but the Bucs pulled within seven again after a 1-yard touchdown run by Brady a little over four minutes later.
The Rams answered with a scoring drive of their own, as Stafford found Kupp for a 10-yard touchdown to regain a 14-point advantage with 7:23 left in the third quarter.
Looking to answer again, the Bucs instead had their drive stall with a 3-and-out, followed by a shanked punt by punter Bradley pinion that traveled only 15 yards and set the Rams up at the Bucs 42-yard line.
After the shanked punt, the teams traded field goals – a 48-yarder by Gay and 26-yarder by Succop – to give the Rams a 31-17 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Los Angeles later mounted a 8-minute scoring drive to add another field goal by Gay (26 yards) to extend their lead to 34-17 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Bucs added a touchdown with 1:10 left on a 7-yard pass from Brady to Bucs running back Giovani Bernard to cut the Rams' lead to 10, but their ensuing onside kick was recovered by Kupp.