Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan insisted the team's Super Bowl LI meltdown has "no bearing" on Sunday's NFL clash with Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady was part of the New England Patriots team that completed the largest comeback in Super Bowl history after rallying past the Falcons in 2017.

Ryan's Falcons surrendered a 28-3 lead as the Patriots sensationally prevailed 34-28 in overtime.

Falcons veteran Ryan will do battle against Brady, who now wears a Buccaneers jersey after leading Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl last season.

But that Super Bowl collapse is not in Ryan's head, with the 36-year-old – who is 0-5 against Brady in his career – discussing the infamous defeat on Wednesday.

"I haven't," Ryan said when he heard a reference to the Super Bowl LI loss. "I never heard of it."

The Falcons lost 32-6 to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1 after Ryan (21-of-35 passing for 164 yards) did not throw a touchdown.

Ryan threw for 164 yards, his fewest in a game since Week 7 of 2019 (159) and his second fewest to open a season in his career, behind only the 161 yards in his first career game in 2008, per Stats Perform.

It was Atlanta's worst loss to open a season since losing by 38 in their opening game in 1987. The Falcons made field goals on each of their first two drives and then either punted or had a turnover on downs in each drive after that.

"Of course we want to win. It's not going to make up for that," Ryan said, discussing the Super Bowl defeat to the Patriots. "You know, it's one of those things. It's part of your past, it's part of what happened.

"But it's got no bearing on this week."

Odell Beckham Jr. has been ruled out of the Cleveland Browns' Week 2 clash with the Houston Texans.

The star wide receiver is continuing to work his way back from a left knee injury but, after he was a game-time decision ahead of the Browns' Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, head coach Kevin Stefanski opted to rule him out early this week for the sake of the clarity of their gameplan.

Beckham will continue practicing on a limited basis as he attempts to recover in time for the Browns' Week 3 meeting with the Chicago Bears.

"He was pushing to get there, just didn't feel like he could play a significant number of snaps," Stefanski said of Beckham's absence against the Texans.

"I just felt like this for this week, the prudent thing to do was let those other [receivers] get all those reps and let's game plan accordingly.

"With Odell, we're just going to make sure that we continue to be smart about it and listen to him – he knows his body better than anybody.

"And then we'll make the decision that's right for him and the team."

Beckham had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Week 7 last season. The three-time Pro Bowler caught 23 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns in his seven games.

Week 1 can be strange. Not everything goes to plan and, for NFL coaches and fantasy owners alike, it's best not to overreact to the weekend just gone.

However, avoiding falling 0-2 is just as important as keeping your cool. In the high-pressure world of the NFL and amid the considerably lower stakes of fantasy football, nobody wants to fall into a hole early in the season.

And, in both cases, identifying the players who can be relied on to produce a big performance is the key to victory.

In this week's edition of Fantasy Picks, Stats Perform looks at the players who should be considered sure things to deliver the goods.

QB: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tennessee Titans

Wilson could hardly have been more impressive as the Seahawks swept aside the Indianapolis Colts on the road in Week 1.

Continuing his remarkable rapport with Tyler Lockett, who had two receiving scores, Wilson threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns as his marriage with new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron got off to a spectacular start.

Second in air yards per attempt (10.43) among quarterbacks with at least 10 attempts, Wilson carries substantial upside as one of the best deep-ball throwers in the NFL and should receive ample opportunity to demonstrate that prowess against an extremely vulnerable Titans defense shredded by the Arizona Cardinals for 280 net yards passing and four touchdowns through the air in their opener.

RB: Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions

Nothing went right for the Packers in their 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints, with Jones held to nine yards on five carries on a miserable day for the entire offense.

Yet a Week 2 clash with the Detroit Lions should prove the perfect tonic. Detroit gave up 131 yards on the ground to the San Francisco 49ers in the opener, with sixth-round rookie Elijah Mitchell gashing the Lions for 104 yards and a touchdown at a rate of 5.5 yards per carry.

The Packers operate a zone running game akin to that of the Niners, so Jones should be confident of finding room to rack up similar numbers. Jones has topped 100 yards in two of his past three games against the Lions, including a 168-yard, two-touchdown effort at Lambeau Field last year.

WR: Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Justin Herbert's rapport with a receiver who has a case for being the premier route runner in the NFL continues to blossom, with the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year going to Allen time and again as the Chargers edged out the Washington Football Team in their opener.

Allen was targeted 13 times and caught nine passes for 100 yards in a 20-16 victory. He registered a burn, which is when a player wins his matchup with a defender on plays where he is targeted, on 12 of those 13 targets.

He did that against a Washington defense that allowed the second-fewest yards per pass play (5.33) in the NFL last season. Now he gets to face a Cowboys defense that ranked 21st in that same metric with 6.69 yards and gave up 7.58 per play in their opening loss to the Buccaneers. Book in Allen for another big day.

TE: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles

Deebo Samuel overshadowed Kittle in the Niners' win in Detroit, but the top all-round tight end in football still produced with four catches for 78 yards and should be salivating at the prospect of facing the Eagles.

Last season, in a home loss to the Eagles, Kittle hauled in all 15 of his targets from Nick Mullens for 183 yards and a touchdown.

He might not see the same level of targets at Lincoln Financial Field this year but, with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo under center, he should see enough of the ball to excel in a matchup with an Eagles defense that has consistently struggled to defend tight ends.

Defense: New England Patriots @ New York Jets

The Patriots may have come up short against the Miami Dolphins, but there was much to admire about their performance on defense.

With the likes of Matthew Judon and Josh Uche excelling at getting pressure on Tua Tagovailoa, New England's front is likely to have great success against the Jets' offensive line, which will be without left tackle Mekhi Becton.

Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson was sacked six times in their loss to the Carolina Panthers, which saw him throw an interceptable pass on 5.56 per cent of his attempts, according to Stats Perform data.

Expect New England's defense to create more interception opportunities and make it another long afternoon for Wilson and the Jets.

Urban Meyer has no intention of quitting his NFL coaching career after just one game with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Meyer has been a hugely successful long-time college coach, winning national championships with Florida in 2006 and 2008 and Ohio State in 2014. 

But the 57-year-old is taking his first steps in the NFL with the Jaguars, who finished 2020 with a miserable 1-15 record. 

Meyer's Jacksonville bow did not go according to plan, though, as his new team went down 37-21 to a poor Houston Texans side on Sunday. 

When USC fired coach Clay Helton the following day, meaning an attractive college opening became available, there was some talk Meyer could already be tempted back to the FBS. 

The coach was not entertaining such speculation on Wednesday, however, as he told the media: "No chance. I'm here, committed to try to build an organisation." 

That build represents a significant challenge. The Texans appeared to be one of the Jags' few winnable match-ups in 2021, but they have now lost a franchise record 16 consecutive games – there have only been 11 previous streaks of 17 defeats or more in the NFL. 

Meyer will hope to make first overall pick Trevor Lawrence a cornerstone of his team, but the rookie quarterback contributed to that difficult opener. 

Trusted to throw the ball, with only the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushing less often than the Jags (23.5 per cent), Lawrence tossed a league-high three interceptions. 

Although there were also three touchdown passes, only Aaron Rodgers (36.8) had a worse passer rating than Lawrence (70.1), whose pass completion of 54.9 per cent the third worst. 

Meyer has already lost Travis Etienne, who starred alongside Lawrence at Clemson, to a season-ending injury. 

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert will miss the rest of the 2021 campaign after electing to undergo season-ending knee surgery.

Mostert was injured in the first half of the 49ers' season-opening 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan had indicated Mostert would be out for eight weeks with chipped knee cartilage.

However, Mostert has elected to go down the route of protecting the long-term health of his knee by having an operation to repair the cartilage.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mostert wrote: "After consulting with multiple doctors and weighing my options, I will be having season-ending surgery on my knee.

"This gives me, without a doubt in my mind, the best possibility at coming back 110 per cent.

"I have always come back stronger and I will this time too! I have faith in myself, my doctors, my support system, my team and God. He makes no mistakes!!

"I'm gutted. This sucks! This is obviously not what I worked so hard for. I wish more than anything I could be out there on the field with my brothers!!"

Mostert was the starting running back for a 49ers team looking to get back to the postseason after seeing their 2020 season ruined by injuries. The last time they made the playoffs in the 2019 campaign, Mostert propelled them to Super Bowl LIV by rushing for 248 yards and four touchdowns in an NFC Championship Game rout of the Green Bay Packers.

He became the first player to rush for at least 200 yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game, while his 248 yards represented a record for a conference title game.

Yet the 49ers have sufficient if inexperienced running back depth to survive Mostert's absence, as evidenced by the performance of sixth-round rookie Elijah Mitchell, who rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown against the Lions.

Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty and rookie third-round pick Trey Sermon will now share the load in the backfield. The Niners, who also lost cornerback Jason Verrett to a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Detroit, signed former Lions tailback Kerryon Johnson to their practice squad.

The Las Vegas Raiders sounded like a team that got away with something Monday night. 

From quarterback Derek Carr to head coach Jon Gruden, they acknowledged there were any number of flaws in their season-opening performance against the Baltimore Ravens. 

But all that mattered in the end was that they found a path to victory, prevailing 33-27 in overtime before a raucous home crowd. 

"All I keep saying is I just want to win, so who cares if it's ugly or pretty?" Carr told reporters after the game. "I do not care, we won the game. I'm celebrating, that's the only thing that matters."

Carr completed 34 of 56 passes for 435 yards, saving the biggest completion for the final play of the game – a looping 31-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones when everyone in the stadium figured the Raiders would run the ball to set up a field goal try. 

Gruden indicated that was exactly what he had planned but kicker Daniel Carlson was not immediately available on the sidelines, forcing a delay of game penalty that prompted him to send Carr and the offence back out on the field. 

"But things worked out," Gruden said with a wry smile. 

They did indeed, as the Raiders stunned a favoured Ravens team that felt in control for much of the game before falling apart late. 

"I'm glad coach trusted us and put it in our hands at the end," said Carr, "because it always feels good to win that way – especially when you almost gave it away."

After rallying to level the game in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Raiders thought they had the game won on the opening possession of overtime as Carr hit Bryan Edwards for an apparent 33-yard touchdown. 

But video replay determined Edwards was down just before the goal line, and after a run for no gain by Carr, a critical false start penalty and an incompletion, Anthony Averett intercepted Carr in the end zone following a deflection on a pass intended for Willie Snead. 

The Raiders were granted a reprieve, though, as Carl Nassib forced a fumble on a sack of Lamar Jackson with 4:31 to play in overtime to set up Carr's game-winning pass. 

"Our defence made a signature play at the end of that game and I thought Derek Carr was awesome playing under some really tough circumstances today against a very good defence," Gruden said.

He added: "I'm really proud of the character they showed. We were down 14-0 to the Ravens and it didn't look pretty, it didn't look good. But when you can come back and find a way to win against a team like that, that's saying something. 

"That's an impressive, impressive victory and like they say here, just win baby."

The Las Vegas Raiders welcomed fans to their new home a year later than expected, but it was worth the wait. 

Derek Carr's 31-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones in overtime gave the Raiders a stunning season-opening 33-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday. 

It was a thrilling conclusion to the opening weekend of the NFL season after Lamar Jackson and the Ravens appeared in control for most of the game. 

Injury-wracked Baltimore took a 14-0 lead on a 35-yard touchdown run from Ty'Son Williams and a signature 10-yard Jackson TD pass to Marquise Brown.

Las Vegas ultimately would level the game at 17-17 on Josh Jacobs' second touchdown run of the game with 9:18 to play in the fourth quarter, a drive set up by Jackson fumbling after a scramble for the first turnover of the night. 

That set up a wild finish in the first regular-season game at $1.9billion Allegiant Stadium, as newly signed Ravens running back Latavius Murray gave the visitors a 24-17 lead with 6:04 to play before Carr equalised just over two minutes later with a 10-yard scoring pass to Darren Waller. 

Jackson got loose again on the ensuing possession to set up a 47-yard Justin Tucker field goal that gave the Ravens a lead with 37 seconds remaining, but the Raiders were not done. 

Carr zipped a pair of completions to get Las Vegas down the field and set Daneil Carlson up for a 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining that sent the game to overtime. 

The Raiders thought they had the game won on the opening possession of the extra session, as Carr hit Bryan Edwards for an apparent 33-yard touchdown. 

But video replay determined Edwards was down just before the goal line, and after a run for no gain by Carr, a critical false start penalty an an incompletion, Anthony Averett ntercepted Carr in the end zone after a deflection on a pass intended for Willie Snead. 

The Las Vegas defence would bail out the home side once again, though, as Carl Nassib forced a fumble on a sack of Jackson with 4:31 to play in overtime. 

After a Raiders penalty moved the ball back five yards, the Ravens assumed the next play would be a run to set up a winning field-goal try, but Carr saw Jones get free in the secondary and looped a pass over everyone's head for an uncontested touchdown to win the game.

Carr completed 34 of 56 passes for 435 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Jackson was 19 of 30 for 235 yards and a TD. The Ravens quarterback also rushed for a game-high 86 yards. 

New York Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton has endured a string of injuries over the past year and is sidelined once again after dislocating his right kneecap in Sunday's season-opening defeat. 

The man charged with protecting rookie quarterback Zach Wilson's blind side is expected to miss at least four to six weeks, forcing the Jets to shuffle their offensive line after their Week 1 loss at the Carolina Panthers. 

ESPN reported Becton will have arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage, but Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reporters the tackle will seek another opinion before deciding on surgery. 

While the 6-foot-7, 363-pound Becton will be difficult to replace, the Jets' other tackles had plenty of reps during training camp when the second-year player missed two weeks with a concussion. 

George Fant will move from right tackle to start on the left side, while veteran Morgan Moses will start on the right. 

"We feel very fortunate, we feel we have three legitimate starting tackles," Saleh told reporters on Monday. "Getting George over there to the left and Morgan over there to the right.

"Obviously Mekhi is a heck of a player and a heck of a talent, but to have two veterans who know how to play this game, getting them in there so they can get into a groove is beneficial."

Becton was carted off the field during the third quarter of Sunday's game at Carolina after 305-pound Panthers defensive lineman fell on the back of the tackle's right leg. 

It was a cruel blow for a player who has had trouble staying on the field in just over a year in the league. 

Becton missed all of the Jets' off-season activities due to plantar fasciitis after battling a shoulder injury for several weeks during his rookie season last fall. 

Despite the latest setback, Becton sent out an optimistic tweet Monday: "Positive vibes only! I'll be good!" 

 

 

Denver Broncos receiver Jerry Jeudy is expected to miss at least a month after suffering a high ankle sprain on Sunday. 

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio declined to put a timetable on Jeudy's potential return, saying only that the second-year wideout is "going to miss some time". 

Multiple outlets cited sources saying Jeudy is projected to be out four to six weeks as he recovers from the injury. 

"He's definitely got a high ankle sprain," Fangio told reporters Monday. "Everything else checked out good." 

Jeudy was injured on the Broncos' first drive after half-time in their 27-13 win at the New York Giants. 

As Giants cornerback James Bradberry hauled Jeudy to the ground following a 20-yard reception, the receiver's lower right leg was caught awkwardly under the defender as they fell to the turf. 

Jeudy eventually had to be carted to the locker room but X-rays were negative. An MRI taken on Monday confirmed the high ankle sprain the Broncos had initially announced on Sunday. 

Before leaving, Jeudy had six receptions for 72 yards. Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater told reporters following the game that Jeudy would be missed. 

"He means a lot to this offense," Bridgewater said. "You watch him; he's creating separation in the pass game, he's making tough catches across the middle, he's getting open for us on third downs — different things.

"So, he's a guy who means a lot to this offense, a lot to this team. And we're going to continue to pray for him and can't wait to get him back."

Jeudy had 52 receptions for 856 yards and three touchdowns last season as a rookie. The Broncos selected him with the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick faces a spell on the sidelines after suffering a hip injury.

Fitzpatrick, 38, was injured during Sunday's Week 1 20-16 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Washington have not given a timescale for his return but reports suggest he could be out for between six and eight weeks.

He was replaced against the Chargers by Taylor Heinicke, who will start Thursday's match against the New York Giants.

Heinicke's appearance on Thursday will be his first regular season start since 2018 but coach Ron Rivera believes he can handle the pressure.

"I think our guys will rally around him," Rivera told a media conference. "He plays a little bit like his hair's on fire and plays a little bit like a gunslinger.

"But I think he's matured a little bit. He understands what he has to do and how he has to do it. I'm excited to see what's going to happen."

Each of the top three wide receivers taken in the 2021 NFL Draft entered Week 1 of the season facing pertinent questions. Could Ja'Marr Chase shake off his drop-laden preseason and revive his rapport with Joe Burrow? Can DeVonta Smith excel despite his slender frame? Will Jaylen Waddle be able to mesh with Tua Tagovailoa again amid concerns over his college quarterback's arm strength?

It is important not to be a prisoner of the Week 1 moment. With the opening slate of games notorious for enticing observers into mistaken conclusions.

However, after all three played major roles in wins for the Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, respectively, the answer to each of those queries is, for now, a confident yes.

The trio all found the endzone in their NFL debuts, making league history in the process.

Indeed, the 2021 season is the first in common-draft era in which three rookie wideouts that were each selected in the first round scored on a touchdown reception in Week 1.

And their performances provided plenty of encouragement they will each vindicate their lofty draft statuses.

Chase the ace

The highlight of Chase's 101-yard showing in Cincinnati's win over the Minnesota Vikings was a 50-yard touchdown catch from college team-mate Burrow on a perfectly thrown ball on which the fifth overall pick took advantage of soft coverage from Bashaud Breeland.

But a receiver whose ability to separate was questioned prior to the draft also excelled at getting free from coverage on third down. Registering a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted, on four of his seven targets, Chase finished the game with 14.43 burn yards per target -- ninth among receivers who were thrown to at least five times -- with an average depth of target of 15.7 yards.

His debut effort and the numbers he produced should raise hopes he can rely more on his route-running to beat defenders rather than the physical approach that defined his success at LSU.

Crimson Tide connection returns

Separating from defenders was never an issue for Waddle at the college level, with preseason concerns aimed more at his quarterback than the former Alabama star.

As a rookie, Tagovailoa did not produce much to suggest he would gel with a speedster who won his matchup with a defender on 78.1 per cent of his 2020 targets and averaged 19.96 burn yards per target to lead the Power 5 in his final year with the Crimson Tide.

Yet this pair of college team-mates also had their connection from 2019 cooking again as the Dolphins knocked off the New England Patriots in Foxborough.

They did so largely through intelligently adapting Waddle's traits to the short passing game, giving him chances to run after the catch and using him in motion to stretch and deceive the Patriots' defense, as they did on his touchdown that eventually proved the game-winner.

There was also a play that could have been plucked straight from Waddle's Alabama tape as he got a step on a defender while running vertically and worked his way back to the ball, leaping over the covering cornerback for a 36-yard reception.

With a burn on four of his six targets and 13.09 burn yards per target, Waddle's numbers did not quite match up to those of Chase but, if he continues to stress defenses working horizontally and vertically, he will be a substantial asset to the Miami passing game. 

Smith shreds Falcons

Waddle will have hot competition for the title of best Alabama receiver from this draft, though, at least if Smith continues on his early trajectory from the Eagles' 32-6 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons.

Open on six of his eight targets, Smith's six-catch, 71-yard showing was not one in which he relied on his excellent route-running ability, instead finding holes in the Falcons' zone coverage in a game where he was a favoured receiver for Jalen Hurts, who was second among quarterbacks with at least 10 attempts with a well-thrown ball percentage of 87.5.

Yet his 19-yard touchdown offered a snapshot of what he can do in that regard as he patiently released to the outside against man coverage, sending his defender into a pick play from tight end Zach Ertz. With open space now at his disposal, Smith accelerated before expertly tracking the ball into his grasp in the corner of the endzone.

For both Smith and Waddle, their early success was a continuation of how they performed in college, while Chase demonstrated encouraging progress in an area of the game considered to be a weakness.

Selecting a wide receiver in the top 10 is considered a gamble by many but the early payout from this trio suggests they may prove worth the risk.

Trey Lance's first competitive game since 2019 was in keeping with his brief but spectacular college career. He threw a touchdown pass and he won.

The rookie third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers did not contribute much to victory beyond that five-yard throw to Trent Sherfield, Jimmy Garoppolo leading the Niners to a 41-33 victory over the Detroit Lions. Yet he was happy to see the field in meaningful action having seen his 2020 season with North Dakota State wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I had no idea when or if I was going to play," Lance said in his post-game media conference.

"Obviously I was hoping I would get to get on the field and just help, but at the same time, my role is just to be ready whenever my name is called.

"It just felt great to be out there again, and obviously it feels good to be 1-0."

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Lance's involvement: "I actually didn't think we would do it on the first drive, but you get into some situations, and that's all play calling is to tell you the truth.

"We'll always have some stuff in for Trey. When your number two quarterback has a skillset that the number one doesn't do in terms of being a threat to run, there's always an option of different plays you can run.

"So we'll have that up at all times while Trey's here. While he's the number two that'll always be an option. But if the one ever gets hurt, then you have to open everything up."

Shanahan confirmed cornerback Jason Verrett is believed to have suffered a torn ACL, his injury preceding a Lions comeback effort from 41-17 down that set up a nervy finish for San Francisco.

"It's crushing. I'm hoping for the best, but it's crushing," said Shanahan, who expects recent cornerback signing Josh Norman to be ready for Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles but also confirmed he had spoken with Richard Sherman and that bringing him back is a possibility.

The Chicago Bears played both quarterbacks in their season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Rams, but Justin Fields was the only one to score a touchdown in a game that will increase calls to start him over Andy Dalton.

Dalton saw the vast majority of the snaps as the Bears were swept aside 34-14 by the Rams on Sunday, throwing for 206 yards and an interception.

However, Bears fans saw an exciting glimpse of their future as Fields scampered in for a three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He also completed a pair of passes for 10 yards.

Head coach Matt Nagy confirmed using both quarterbacks was always in their plans, despite him having declared Dalton the starter, but did not offer any hint as to whether Fields will see more game time in the coming weeks after his intriguing cameo.

"We had the plan and we stuck to our plan," Nagy said. "We knew where and when we were going to use him and we stuck to that.

"And so, we'll see where that goes and how we do it. But I think we all understand that for us, strategically, we'll see where we go with that — without giving anything away.

"Really, the very first play when he went out there and was able to make a throw — and that was an RPO. So he made a decision to throw the ball off of a look that we had.

"So right there to start the game, I thought that was great. And then he was involved on the sideline. And then when we got down into the red zone at times, we had a couple things in for him that worked and some that didn't work. But when he got down in the red zone, he did some great things there, too.

"So we've just got to keep having him grow and keep staying positive. But he's certainly a weapon."

Sean McVay "loved everything" Matthew Stafford did in his spectacular debut for the Los Angeles Rams as he led them to a 34-14 win over the Chicago Bears.

In the first regular-season game with fans at SoFi Stadium, Stafford delighted a packed house with a display of why the Rams traded two first-round picks to acquire him from the Detroit Lions.

Stafford completed 20 of 26 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns, posting a passer rating of 156.1, the highest ever by a player in his debut with a new team. 

And McVay could hardly have been more effusive in his praise of his new quarterback.

"I think it was just his steady demeanour throughout the course of the game," McVay said. "Just like you had seen in practice and seen from afar, but I think the first drive of the second half I thought was most impressive.

"But then I'm thinking about what an unbelievable job he did progressing, finding Robert Woods on the last touchdown, so there were multiple things but I think the overall game management and I think the expectation. You could just see there was a look in his eye. He had confidence in his team-mates.

"He expected to play well and he did a great job. It's hard to say there was one thing. I loved everything he did tonight."

Stafford's second throw of the game saw him hit Van Jefferson on a 67-yard touchdown throw on which he booted to his left off the play-fake, flipped his hips back to the right sideline and unfurled a perfect ball to find the second-year receiver on a deep post route.

"I think it was a great job by him being able to flip his hips and make an unbelievable throw," McVay added.

"I think that's kind of one of those things – he's gifted. He's got a great ability to be able to change his arm slot and make all types of throws, whether it be short, intermediate or down the field.

"You're not limited in anything you can do in the pass game. Hopefully, we'll continue to build on options and opportunities that we have moving forward."

Page 1 of 35
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.