INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — On two snaps 20 seconds aside, Jeffery Simmons and Kevin Byard pressured Matthew Stafford right into a pair of horrible choices. The beautiful sequence ended with Byard sprinting to the top zone carrying the second of Stafford’s back-to-back interceptions.
With Derrick Henry sidelined for not less than the close to future, the Tennessee Titans would possibly want a brand new id on their Super Bowl quest.
In their first sport with out the NFL’s dashing chief, the Titans discovered it: They’re a dominant defensive group able to forcing even Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams’ highly effective passing offense into game-deciding errors.
Byard returned Stafford’s second consecutive interception 24 yards for a landing within the second quarter, and Tennessee’s protection carried the Titans to a 28-16 victory in a showdown between convention co-leaders.
“Those guys played fantastic,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel stated of his protection. “It was fun to watch them play. … We really think that group is playing with a lot of confidence right now. They would be able to come in here and play the way they did and hold them to field goals, and we played great in red zone.”
Simmons had three of Tennessee’s 5 sacks of Stafford, and he made one other play that despatched the Titans (7-2) nicely on their option to their fifth consecutive victory.
Simmons, who had extra sacks than any Titans participant since 2008, was about to sack Stafford ultimately zone when the quarterback inexplicably threw a desperate pass into the center of Tennessee’s protection to keep away from the security. David Long Jr. returned his reward of an interception to the Rams 2, and Geoff Swaim caught a landing move on the following snap.
Right after the kickoff, Stafford’s throw towards Robert Woods on the sideline was returned by Byard for his first profession pick-6.
“The defense played huge all game, and those plays early were unbelievable,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill stated. “You look at (Simmons’) pressure on the QB, and then David making a play on the ball, then Kevin reading the pattern and getting underneath that out, it was huge. They played a heck of a game.”
Tannehill handed for 143 yards and a landing and rushed for another score for the Titans, who managed simply 194 offensive yards with out Henry, who’s out indefinitely after foot surgical procedure. Adrian Peterson rushed for simply 21 yards, however the veteran operating again made a TD run with 3:00 left within the first sport of his fifteenth NFL season.
The Titans nonetheless received with protection. They bought a key cease on downs close to midfield with 6:39 to play, and Tennessee’s protection almost saved the Rams out of the top zone for simply the fourth time of their 73 video games below Sean McVay.
“I feel like KB (Byard) said it best in the locker room,” Titans linebacker Harold Landry stated. “He was like, ‘We’re not out to prove people wrong, but to prove ourselves right.’ We know how talented we are in that locker room and the group of guys that we have.”
Sony Michel caught a 3-yard TD move with 24 seconds left, however it scarcely dampened Tennessee’s dominance.
Stafford handed for 294 yards and threw the twenty fourth pick-6 of his profession — most amongst energetic quarterbacks — throughout simply the worst sport of his debut season with the Rams (7-2). Los Angeles’ four-game profitable streak led to simply the fourth assembly in 15 years between two groups with their conferences’ high information.
“I basically spotted them 14 points,” stated Stafford, who barely practiced in the course of the week whereas managing a stiff again after which injured his ankle in the course of the sport. “Just wasn’t good enough early in the game. The turnovers are on me. Our defense played good. If we don’t turn over the ball tonight, we’ve got a chance.”
Los Angeles, the NFL’s least-penalized group, additionally bought flagged 12 instances for 115 yards — essentially the most yards in McVay’s profession.
“We have to play cleaner football,” McVay stated. “I wish to see what we be taught from our response. The final time we had a setback, I appreciated how we responded. … Numerous issues occurred tonight which are uncharacteristic of us.”
Peterson had been out of the league earlier than he signed with the Titans on Monday. Tennessee promptly put him within the beginning lineup, and Peterson scored his 119th profession dashing TD and a hundred and twenty fifth whole landing, tying him with Walter Payton for Eleventh-most in NFL historical past.
“I thought he brought an energy and a professionalism,” Vrabel stated.
Los Angeles had a landing taken off the board to start the second half when officers dominated Tyler Higbee’s toe had gone out of bounds earlier than his scoring catch. The Rams kicked a discipline aim as a substitute.
Von Miller didn’t make his debut for the Rams after they acquired him from Denver early this week. Miller remains to be working again from an ankle damage whereas studying the intricacies of the Rams’ protection, and Los Angeles did not rush the eight-time Pro Bowl choice.
Titans: Taylor Lewan was energetic, however Bobby Hart began at left sort out. Lewan was “unavailable” besides in an emergency, Vrabel stated. … Aaron Brewer additionally began at proper guard rather than Nate Davis.
Rams: Henderson injured his ankle within the second quarter, however saved taking part in. … WR Jacob Harris left with an undisclosed damage within the second half.
Titans: Host Saints on Sunday.
Rams: Visit 49ers subsequent Monday night time.
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