Josh Allen threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to spark the Buffalo Bills over the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams 31-10 in Thursday’s NFL season opener.
The 26-year-old Bills quarterback completed 26 of 31 passes for 297 yards and rushed 10 times for a game-high 56 yards as one of the league’s most fancied pre-season clubs made an impressive launch to the campaign.
“We knew if we came out and tried to execute the way we know we can execute, we were going to move the ball and score,” Allen said. “And our defense played a hell of a game.”
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was sacked seven times, completed 29 of 41 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted three times in a humbling defeat as the Bills delivered a statement-style victory to start their season.
“We’re going to move forward the right way,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “This isn’t the first setback we’ve faced. We will play better. We can execute better in all areas.”
Buffalo rolled over the reigning champions, inflicting their worst loss since 2019, despite surrendering two interceptions and losing the ball twice on fumbles.
“I was proud of how our team handled itself,” Allen said. “If we can cut down on those turnovers we’ll be fine.”
It was an emotional triumph for Von Miller, a member of the Rams’ championship team now playing on the Buffalo defensive unit. He made two sacks of Stafford.
“A lot of emotions,” Miller said. “I was warming up on the Rams side I was used to. I felt like I was playing a game against my brothers. We had a lot of fun.”
Added Allen: “He’s the leader of that d-line and they played outstanding.”
Allen found Isaiah McKenzie over the middle on a 7-yard touchdown pass to put Buffalo ahead to stay at 17-10 only 7:01 into the third quarter.
Allen connected with Gabe Davis on a 47-yard pass to the Rams 6-yard line to begin the fourth quarter and, three plays later, Allen scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to put the Bills ahead 24-10.
Buffalo’s Jordan Poyer intercepted a Stafford pass on the next Rams possession and three plays later, Allen hurled a 53-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs, who outraced three Rams defenders and caught the ball at the goal line.
Diggs made eight catches for 122 yards.
Deadlocked at halftime
On the game’s opening drive, Allen directed the Bills on a 9-play, 75-yard touchdown march, lofting a 26-yard scoring pass to Davis with 5:04 elapsed.
Allen went 5-for-5 passing for 58 yards on the drive.
After trading turnovers early in the second quarter, the Bills stretched their lead to 10-0 on a 41-yard Tyler Bass field goal.
“Going in at halftime with three turnovers and it being even, that was a huge boost for us,” Allen said.
The Rams responded by driving 60 yards in 11 plays, a march capped by Stafford’s 4-yard touchdown toss to Cooper Kupp, who hauled in 13 passes for 128 yards on the night.
Troy Hill intercepted an Allen pass to set up the Rams at the Buffalo 45 and Matt Gay kicked a 57-yard field goal as the second quarter ended to equalize at 10-10.
There was a moment of silence observed before the opening kickoff in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died Thursday at age 96.