The Sports Report: Oh, that’s right. Matthew Stafford is pretty good

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passes against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half of a 30-13 season-opening.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passes against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half of a 30-13 season-opening win Sunday.
(Stephen Brashear / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Austin Knoblauch, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who’s probably busy debating someone about why the loge deck beats field seats at Dodger Stadium. Let’s get right to the news.

From Helene Elliott: The Rams, just starting to move on from their miserable plunge from Super Bowl champions to an also-ran last season, have one of the NFL’s youngest teams.

But it was quarterback Matthew Stafford, their oldest player, who engineered their intriguing 30-13 upset of the Seahawks on Sunday at noisy Lumen Field, offering a promise they might not be as terrible as their massive roster turnover, lack of experience and injuries suggested they were certain to become.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford warms up before a 30-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
(Stephen Brashear / Associated Press)

Stafford, seven months past his 35th birthday and playing his first game since a spinal contusion ended his season last Nov. 20, was sharp, effective and quick to adapt to a reconfigured receiving corps that lacked the injured Cooper Kupp.

Protected surprisingly well by an offensive line that was formed late in preseason play, Stafford completed 24 of 38 passes for 334 yards. It was his first 300-yard-plus game since he racked up 308 against Dallas last Oct. 9 and his best total since he threw for 337 yards against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game on Jan. 30, 2022.

In the first game of his 15th NFL season, he recorded his eighth season-opening game with at least 300 passing yards, tying him with Matt Ryan behind only Drew Brees (10).

The old guy, the one whose beard is increasingly gray, still has it. That’s one less worry for the Rams as they get deeper into the challenging early part of their schedule.

“He played like the guy that we all know and love and I’m sure happy to be able to see him out there competing the way he is with his teammates,” coach Sean McVay said Sunday. “He elevates everybody.”

There was no single “aha” moment that proved to Stafford — or any of his doubters — that he was back in form after injuries shortened his previous season to nine games of their 5-12 season. His teammates didn’t need evidence Sunday, anyway. They had seen it in practice and never lost belief in him.


“We always knew, ever since he came back, that he was on it. He looked good. He looked great,” said receiver Tutu Atwell, who was targeted eight times and caught six passes for 119 yards Sunday.

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Rams game summary

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Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is sacked by Miami Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips (15) and cornerback Justin Bethel.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is sacked by Miami Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips (15) and cornerback Justin Bethel in the fourth quarter of the Chargers’ 36-34 loss Sunday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

From Dylan Hernández: About that Super Bowl talk by Brandon Staley


Might be juuuust a little premature.

The Chargers finally have a running game but still can’t stop the other team, which should make for plenty of entertaining games and another crushing finish to their season.

Staley’s defense conceded 536 yards in their season-opening 36-34 defeat to the Miami Dolphins at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, with visiting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa linking up with preferred target Tyreek Hill as if they were playing catch at a nearby Darby Park.

Nothing represented the Chargers’ defensive shortcomings as much as the Dolphins’ drive to end the first half. In just nine seconds, the Dolphins marched 53 yards and kicked a 40-yard field goal to take a 20-17 lead into the break.

The Dolphins didn’t march so much as they threw a Hail Mary and prayed the Chargers would do something Charger-like, which, of course, they did.

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Chargers game summary



From Jack Harris: The clouds finally parted. The rain finally stopped. And for the first time this month, the Dodgers finally won a series, outlasting the Washington Nationals 7-3 on Sunday in yet another rain-delayed contest at Nationals Park.

Now, the team can only hope the forecast for the rest of their season can clear up.

While the Dodgers managed a 3-3 record during this week’s trip, bouncing back from a series loss to the Miami Marlins by salvaging a Sunday rubber match that trimmed their magic number to clinch the National League West to seven, they will return home Monday in a much different place than they left.

Since their last homestand, the Dodgers have been weathering storms on and off the field.

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Dodgers-Nationals box score


From Sarah Valenzuela: September games were the ones meant to matter the most for playoff implications. Out of the playoff picture, the Angels play for individual merit and to finish as strong as they can.

To that point, young pitcher Kenny Rosenberg shined in Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Cleveland Guardians, getting his first major league win in his third career start. And Carlos Estévez secured his 30th save of the season.


Yet, amid another lost season, Angels fans still show up to the ballpark in the tens of thousands. The lowest announced crowd over the latest homestand was 22,496 for a Tuesday game against the American League East-leading Baltimore Orioles.

Sure, there are the remaining promotional giveaways and die-hard fans who continue to show up at the end of each bad season — the Angels entered Sunday with their elimination number from the AL West at five games and their elimination number from the wild card at seven games.

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Angels-Guardians box score


From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: Records fell, fans gushed, Lincoln Riley shrugged.


Despite USC delivering its highest-scoring game ever against Stanford in the last Pac-12 meeting between the longtime rivals, the Trojans coach didn’t indulge in any over-the-top praise after a 56-10 beatdown of the Cardinal on Saturday at the Coliseum.

Was the first half that ended in a 49-3 USC lead, the third-largest halftime margin for a Pac-12 team in a conference game, the best half that the Trojans have played during Riley’s USC tenure?

“I mean, it’s probably the best half of football we’ve played this year,” Riley conceded begrudgingly.

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UCLA quarterback Dante Moore looks to pass during a win over San Diego State on Saturday.
(Tony Ding / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

From Ben Bolch: Chip Kelly said it himself. Now he needs to live up to his own words.


“I think the way you keep your entire team happy is that you’re fair with everybody,” Kelly said in July at Pac-12 media day, “and then things are won on the field.”

By any objective measure, freshman Dante Moore has won the right to be UCLA’s starting quarterback. After splitting time with Ethan Garbers and slightly outperforming the redshirt junior in the season opener, Moore starred in his first start Saturday night against San Diego State.

In three quarters, Moore threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns — the latter statistic tying a school record for a true freshman — while showing the poise of a fifth-year senior during a 35-10 victory.

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From J. Brady McCollough: Up 49-3 with his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback not needed for the entire second half, Lincoln Riley rampaged up and down the USC sideline, red in the face. The Trojans’ punt return unit couldn’t get on the field properly, forcing Riley to burn a meaningless timeout in a game that was over the moment it began.

A casual observer may have seen Riley’s reaction and decided the hotshot young coach was majorly lacking in life perspective. This observer? Quite to the contrary, I think Riley had it just right, revealing a healthy understanding of just how little USC’s romp of Stanford proved — and how daunting the rest of the season looks now, knowing what we know after two full weeks of the college football season.


The Trojans’ first bye week is here, and they better take full advantage. Because the cakewalks are over for good. USC’s second bye week is perfectly placed on Thanksgiving weekend, the week before the Pac-12 championship game. But for the Trojans to qualify for that game in Las Vegas — and certainly for them to be playing for a spot in the College Football Playoff semifinals — actual greatness will be required.

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Novak Djokovic reveals a shirt honoring Lakers legend Kobe Bryant after defeating Daniil Medvedev.
Novak Djokovic reveals a shirt honoring Lakers legend Kobe Bryant after defeating Daniil Medvedev in the U.S. Open men’s singles final Sunday.
(Manu Fernandez / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press: Halfway through a second set that lasted 1 hour, 44 minutes, a test of tenacity as much as talent amid a U.S. Open final as exhausting as it was exhilarating, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev engaged each other in a 32-stroke point.

It was among many such elongated exchanges between two men whose styles are nearly mirror images, and Djokovic capitulated on this one by netting a backhand. He fell to his back and stayed down, chest heaving. The crowd roared. Djokovic sat up but remained on the ground for a bit. The crowd roared more, appreciating the effort, saluting the entertainment.

Using every ounce of his energy and some serve-and-volley guile — an old man with new tricks — Djokovic emerged for a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Medvedev at Flushing Meadows to claim a historic 24th Grand Slam title on Sunday night in a match more closely contested than the straight-set score indicated.


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From Kevin Baxter: Bruce Arena deserved to leave soccer on his own terms rather than be forced out before he was ready to leave. He deserved to go out with a ticker-tape parade rather than be shunted aside under a cloud of doubt and suspicion that raises more questions than answers.

That didn’t happen.

Instead Arena, the most successful men’s coach in U.S. Soccer history, resigned his positions with the New England Revolution late Saturday, six weeks after he was placed on administrative leave by MLS due to “allegations that he made insensitive and inappropriate remarks.”

What the allegations are and just how insensitive and inappropriate they were, we don’t know. Neither the league, the club, the unnamed accusers nor Arena have shared any details. Arena offered something of a mea culpa late Saturday night just the same.

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Dodger Stadium before the team's 2022 home opener.
(Jack Harris / Los Angeles Times)

From David Wharton, Nathan Fenno and Phi Do: A scuffle erupts just outside the ballpark as fans leave the game. It begins with shouting and two men grappling, then others joining in. A guy wearing a Clayton Kershaw jersey gets hit with a wild punch and crumples unconscious to the ground.


The brawl, one of dozens of reported altercations this season, quickly goes viral and shows up on the evening news. It adds to a history of ugly scenes from Dodger Stadium.

Over the last decade, the iconic ballpark has become known for more than its warm sunsets and wooded hills in the distance. Since the 2011 beating that left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in a coma, each spring has brought new examples of fan violence, with cellphone videos popping up on social media and making national headlines.

“There is a reputation that Dodger Stadium has,” said Daniel Wann, a psychology professor at Murray State University who studied security at the venue before giving a deposition in Stow’s civil case. “That culture didn’t happen overnight.”

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1886 — The Mayflower defends the America’s Cup by beating Britain’s Galatea in two straight heats.

1937 — Don Budge beats Gottfried von Cramm in five sets to win his first U.S. Open men’s singles title. Budge wins 6-1, 7-9, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.


1964 — ABC television cancels Fight of the Week, ending 18 years of regularly scheduled prime-time boxing on U.S. broadcast network television.

1976 — In the third race at Latonia, jockey John Oldham and his wife, Suzanne Picou, become the first husband and wife riding team to compete in a parimutuel race. Oldham finishes second aboard Harvey’s Hope and Picou rides My Girl Carla to an 11th-place finish.

1977 — In the last U.S. Open match played at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York, Guillermo Vilas beats Jimmy Connors, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-0, for the men’s singles title

1982 — Chris Evert wins her sixth U.S. Open singles title, defeating Hana Mandlikova, 6-3, 6-1.

1982 — In a 23-16 loss to Illinois, Rolf Mojsiejunko of Michigan State kicks a 61-yard field goal in his first collegiate attempt.

1983 — Pittsburgh running back Franco Harris runs for 118 yards in Steelers 25-21 win at Green Bay to become the only the third player in NFL history to rush for 11,000 yards.


1985 — Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds becomes the all-time hit leader with his 4,192nd hit, breaking Ty Cobb’s record. Rose lines a 2-1 pitch off San Diego pitcher Eric Show to left-center field for a single in the first inning. It’s the 57th anniversary of Ty Cobb’s last game in the majors.

1988 — Mats Wilander wins the longest men’s final in U.S. Open history, edging Ivan Lendl, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

1994 — Andre Agassi wins the U.S. Open with a three-set victory over Michael Stich and becomes the first unseeded player to beat five seeded players in a Grand Slam and the first unseeded champion since Fred Stolle in 1966. Andre wins 6-1, 7-6, 7-5.

1999 — U.S. Open Women’s Tennis: Serena Williams wins her first Grand Slam title; beats World #1 Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-6.

2001 — Sports comes to a standstill after terrorism in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, with major league baseball postponing a full schedule of regular-season games for the first time since D-Day in 1944.

2010 — James Madison, a top team in the Football Championship Subdivision, beats No. 13 Virginia Tech 21-16. The last time Virginia Tech lost to a I-AA team was 1985, when Richmond beat the Hokies 24-14 at Lane Stadium.


2010 — The Penn State women’s volleyball team has its record winning streak ends at 109 matches with a 28-26, 25-12, 25-18 loss to Stanford in a tournament at Florida. Penn State’s streak is the second-longest in Division I team sports, behind the 137 straight wins by the Miami men’s tennis program from 1957-1964.

2011 — Carolina’s Cam Newton becomes the first rookie to throw for more than 400 yards in his NFL opener in a 28-21 loss to Arizona. Newton, the No. 1 draft pick playing on the same field where he led Auburn to the BCS championship in January, completes 24 of 37 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

2015 — Roberta Vinci stuns Serena Williams to end her Grand Slam bid in one of the greatest upsets in tennis history. The 43rd-ranked Italian wins 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the U.S. Open semifinals.

2021 — Milwaukee Brewers throw a combined no-hitter to beat the Cleveland Indians 3-0. It was the record ninth no-hitter of the season.

— Compiled by the Associated Press

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