The Sports Report: Rams are routed by Bills in season opener

Matthew Stafford walks off the field after throwing an interception against the Bills.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Gary Klein: The Rams, tipsy after their Super Bowl victory last February, proclaimed to the world their desire and intent to “run it back.”

Seven months later, after a season-opening 31-10 defeat by the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night at SoFi Stadium, here’s the early uninspiring rundown:

—The Rams allowed Bills quarterback Josh Allen to run through – and fake out – a defense that includes three possible future Hall of Famers. Allen passed for three touchdowns and rushed for another.

—Former Rams edge rusher Von Miller and the Bills defensive front ran right over the Rams offensive line and sacked quarterback Matthew Stafford seven times. Forget the condition of Stafford’s much dissected right elbow. It’s the rest of his 34-year-old body that will be sore after absorbing a pounding and having three passes intercepted.


—The Bills ended at five Rams coach Sean McVay’s run of season-opening victories. None of the Rams’ first opponents in those games finished with more than six victories. The Bills are one of the favorites to emerge from the AFC and end the franchise’s long history of Super Bowl frustration.

On a night when the Rams unveiled a Super Bowl banner, they came up with anything but a banner performance before a crowd of 73,846.

“We weren’t ready to go,” McVay said, adding “This was a humbling experience.”


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Josh Allen erases months of heartache with ‘epic’ superhuman effort vs. Rams

Rams’ 31-10 loss to Buffalo Bills by the numbers


Rams general manager Les Snead agrees to contract extension hours before season kickoff

NFL week 1 picks: Rams edge Bills; Chargers beat Raiders; Bucs top Cowboys

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From Ben Bolch: The late-morning sun was just starting its slow, steady climb over the old stadium.

A crowd that might not have filled Pauley Pavilion, much less the Rose Bowl, scattered in search of protection from the unrelenting glare.

Some fans found slivers of shade near the top of the bowl thanks to trees lining the outer rim of the stadium. Others clustered in seats underneath the Terry Donahue Pavilion, their own shadowy oasis.

Mercifully, there wasn’t much competition for choice spots.

Attendance, the scarlet “A” of the UCLA football program under coach Chip Kelly, continued a historic plunge Saturday during the Bruins’ season opener.

The announced crowd of 27,143 represented an all-time low for the team since moving to the Rose Bowl before the 1982 season. Explanations for the low turnout might have outnumbered fans.


From Ryan Kartje: Five years after their son left Samoa in search of a future in football, Jack and Lise Taleni gazed up from their seats Saturday, awestruck at the sight of his face flashing across the Coliseum videoboard while tens of thousands of fans cheered him in unison.

The last time they’d seen Tyrone in person, he’d barely ever watched an American football game, let alone played in one. Now their son was chasing down an opposing quarterback for USC, pulling him to the turf for his first sack as a Trojan. It was a surreal moment. Around them, family and friends screamed and jumped for joy. So Jack and Lise, having never attended an American football game, followed their lead, smiling wide as they celebrated their son.

“It was a new experience for us, being there,” said Lise, Tyrone’s mother. “So we just went along with what everyone else was doing, screaming and shouting and tapping each other. It was really exciting for us.”

It was already an emotional day for the Taleni family. Five excruciatingly long years had passed since Lise and Jack were last together with their son — so long that Tyrone told himself to prepare for his parents to be different people than he remembered.


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From Helene Elliott: When world No. 1 Iga Swiatek went down 2-0 to Aryna Sabalenka to start the third set of their U.S. Open semifinal on Thursday, she felt down emotionally, too.

“I wasn’t expecting too much from myself,” Swiatek said. “Aryna is a great server. I wasn’t sure I could break back.”

As usual, Swiatek was too critical of herself. She broke Sabalenka’s serve to pull even at 2-2 and broke again for 4-4, gaining the momentum and confidence to finish off a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Swiatek, 21, is the first Polish woman to reach the U.S. Open final.

Swiatek, a two-time French Open champion, will face No. 5 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia on Saturday. Jabeur seized command of her semifinal from the outset on Thursday, taking merely 66 minutes to complete a 6-1, 6-3 rout of No. 17 Caroline Garcia, who had been riding a 13-match winning streak.


1940 — Donald McNeil beats Bobby Riggs after losing the first two sets to capture the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association title. Alice Marble wins her third straight title with a two-set triumph over Helen Jacobs.

1956 — Australia’s Ken Rosewall wins the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association title with a four-set victory over Lewis Hoad. Shirley Fry beats Althea Gibson 6-3, 6-4 for the women’s title.

1960 — The Denver Broncos beat the Boston Patriots 13-10 in the American Football League’s first regular-season game. The game is played on a Friday night at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.

1965 — Sandy Koufax throws his 4th career no-hitter and first perfect game in a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.

1968 — Arthur Ashe wins the U.S. Open by beating Tom Okker 14-12, 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Ashe is the first African-American male to win a Grand Slam tournament. As an amateur, Ashe is ineligible to receive the $14,000 winner’s prize, but collects $280 in expenses for the two-week tournament.

1972 — UCLA’s Efren Herrera kicks a 20-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining to beat preseason No. 1 Nebraska 20-17 at the Memorial Coliseum.

1974 — Jimmy Connors romps to a 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 victory over Ken Rosewall to win the U.S. Open.

1978 — Chris Evert beats 16-year-old Pam Shriver 7-5, 6-4 to win her fourth straight U.S. Open.

1979 — In an all-New Yorker U.S. Open men’s final, John McEnroe beats Vitas Gerulaitis, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. Tracy Austin, at 16 years, 8 months and 28 days, becomes the youngest U.S. Open women’s singles champion, ending Chris Evert’s 31-match win streak at the Open with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

1984 — John McEnroe beats Ivan Lendl 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 to win his fourth U.S. Open.

1987 — Nolan Ryan strikes out his 4,500th batter.

1990 — Pete Sampras, at the age of 19 years and 28 days, becomes the youngest U.S. Open men’s singles champion, defeating Andre Agassi, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

1992 — Robin Yount becomes the 17th player to reach 3,000 hits in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

2000 — Venus Williams wins her first U.S. Open singles title, defeating Lindsay Davenport, 6-4, 7-5.

2006 — Top-ranked Ohio State tightens its hold on the No. 1 spot after beating the No. 2 ranked and defending champion Texas Longhorns 24-7 in Austin, Texas.

2007 — Asafa Powell sets another world record in the 100 meters, winning a heat at the Rieti Grand Prix in 9.74 seconds. The world’s fastest man improves his record by 0.03 seconds, having run 9.77 three times.

2012 — Serena Williams, two points from defeat, suddenly regains her composure and her game, coming back to win the last four games and beat No. 1-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 for her fourth U.S. Open championship and 15th Grand Slam title overall.

2015 — Japan’s Saori Yoshida wins her 16th world or Olympic freestyle title at the world wrestling championships. The most decorated athlete in wrestling history, the 32-year-old Yoshida wins her 13th title at worlds — to go with three Olympic golds in as many tries.

2017 — Sloane Stephens dominates Madison Keys in the U.S. Open final and wins 6-3, 6-0 for her first Grand Slam title. The 83rd-ranked Stephens is the second unseeded woman to win the tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968.

2018 — Alabama strengthens its hold on No. 1 over No. 2 Clemson. The Crimson Tide made its 106th overall appearance at the top of the AP football rankings, which started in 1936, passing Ohio State for the most by any school.

2018 — Cleveland ends its 17-game losing streak with a 21-21 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

2021 — Tom Brady becomes the first player in NFL history to start 300 regular season games. Brady and the Buccaneers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 31-29 on opening day of the 2021 season.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

The final inning of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, as called by Vin Scully. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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