Matthew Stafford threw four touchdowns as the Los Angeles Rams outscored Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-24 in an NFL heavyweight showdown on Sunday.
A powerful offense and stifling defense saw Los Angeles claim three of three wins as the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers suffered their first loss of the season.
Stafford, who joined the Rams from the Detroit Lions in a successful trade earlier this year, finished with 343 yards with 27 completed passes and no interceptions as the Rams highlighted their Super Bowl credentials with a convincing win.
Brady threw for 432 yards but only one touchdown. The 44-year-old rushed for a score but was sacked three times in a scorching outing against a fierce Rams defense led by Aaron Donald.
Stafford found Tyler Higbee and Cooper Kupp for second-quarter touchdowns either side with a two-yard scoreline by Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin to put the Rams 14-7 going into the second half.
DeSean Jackson’s score gave the Rams a 21-7 lead before Brady snuck in for a rushed short-range touchdown to reduce the deficit. Kupp’s second touchdown and a 48-yard field goal from Matt Gay took the Rams’ lead to 31-14.
After the two teams traded field goals, Tampa Bay completed the scoring with a consolation touchdown from Giovani Bernard.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Justin Tucker propelled the Baltimore Ravens to victory over Detroit with the longest field goal in NFL history, sealing a spectacular 19-17 victory.
Tucker’s monstrous 66-yard effort with three seconds left bounced off the crossbar and at Ford Field in Detroit to complete a thrilling victory for the Ravens.
– ‘Best in history’ –
The long-distance effort surpassed the previous longest goal in NFL history, a successful 64-yard attempt by Matt Prater in 2013.
“When he lost his footing I thought he had a chance,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s the best kicker in NFL history.
Tucker’s winning field goal was his fourth of the day – he also had kicks from 36, 50 and 32 yards.
Late in the game, Green Bay also got a winning field goal with three seconds left when kicker Mason Crosby hit a 51-yard field goal to lift the Packers over the San Francisco 49ers 30-28.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed two long passes to Davante Adams on a last-minute drive to set the stage for Crosby’s exploits.
In Kansas City, Justin Herbert threw four touchdowns to win a thrilling shootout with Patrick Mahomes as the Los Angeles Chargers upset the Chiefs 30-24.
The Chiefs collapsed on their second straight loss of the season after Herbert and a fiery Chargers defense took the win in a tense divisional fight at Arrowhead Stadium.
Herbert threw for 281 yards with 26 completed passes and no interceptions to complete a victory that leaves the Chiefs deep in the AFC West after three games.
Chiefs Super Bowl-winning coach Andy Reid was rushed to hospital after the game after complaining of feeling ill, but his condition was not considered serious, local media reported.
The Rams’ victory over the Buccaneers means five teams now have unbeaten records heading into week four.
The Arizona Cardinals – who face the Rams next week – continued their undefeated start to the campaign with a 31-19 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars took a 13-7 halftime lead after a remarkable touchdown from Jamal Agnew, the wide receiver galloping 109 yards to score after a failed field goal attempt in Arizona.
But a pair of second-half touchdowns by running back James Conner and a six-pick by Byron Murphy sealed Arizona’s victory and left the Jags winless after three games.
In the AFC, the Las Vegas Raiders fell to 3-0 after a 31-28 overtime win over the Miami Dolphins.
Daniel Carlson’s 22-yard field goal settled a see-saw that went into overtime after Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett rushed for a touchdown in the dying seconds before a successful conversion attempt to two points.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr finished with 386 passing yards and two TDs in the win.