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Rams' Matthew Stafford dazzles in debut win vs. Bears

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay (L) talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford during the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI
Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay (L) talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford during the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Ex-Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns in an impressive debut for the Los Angeles Rams, leading the team to a win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football.

Stafford completed 20 of 26 passes and did not throw an interception in the 34-14 victory Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. He logged a nearly perfect quarterback rating of 156.1, the best mark of his career.

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"It's a new experience for me, a new place, new stadium, new fans, the whole deal," Stafford told reporters. "But this team has embraced me and I really appreciate that.

"I've done everything I can to try to just work as hard as I can and get myself in this team. And they wrapped their arms around me and it felt good to go out there and play with them. Such incredible players on this team. I'm lucky to be a part of it."

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The Rams built an early lead and never looked back in their first game of the 2021 regular season. Bears quarterback Andy Dalton struggled against one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. He completed 27 of 38 passes, threw an interception and lost a fumble.

Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields completed 2 of 2 passes for 10 yards and scored a three-yard rushing touchdown in his NFL debut.

Rams cornerback David Long Jr. intercepted Dalton on the first drive of the game. Stafford threw a dart to Van Jefferson for a 67-yard touchdown three plays later. Kicker Matt Gay connected on field goals on the Rams next two drives for a 13-0 lead.

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The Bears finally got on the scoreboard with a nine-play, 55-yard drive on their final possession of the first half. Running back David Montgomery ended the drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown.

Stafford came out hot in the second half. He ended the first possession of the third quarter with a 56-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

The Bears responded with a 16-play, 81-yard touchdown drive. Dalton started the drive, but Fields ended the possession with his short touchdown run.

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Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr. scored a one-yard touchdown on the next possession to push the lead back to 13 points.

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The Rams defense forced the Bears to turn the ball over on downs on the next drive. Stafford then threw his third touchdown toss, a two-yard pass to wide receiver Robert Woods, for the final points of the game.

Kupp brought in seven catches for 108 yards and a score for the Rams. Henderson picked up 70 yards and a score on 16 carries. Montgomery carried 16 times for 108 yards and a score in the loss.

"It's a long season," Dalton told reporters. "I think everybody understands that. And I think if you look at the way the division shook out Sunday, we're still in the same position.

"We have to look at [Sunday's game]. We've got to find the areas that we need to get better at and things that we need improve on and get ready for next week."

The Rams (1-0) battle the Indianapolis Colts (0-1) at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Bears (0-1) host the Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.

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