The Sports Report: Rams lose game, and maybe Matthew Stafford

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford wears a bandage on his throwing hand to protect the thumb he injured against Dallas.
Matthew Stafford’s throwing hand is wrapped in the second half.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Gary Klein: Broken.

That could be the state of Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford’s right thumb.


That’s what the Rams offense, defense and special teams did during a Dallas Cowboys onslaught on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

Beyond repair.

That will be the status of the Rams’ rapidly dwindling playoff hopes if Stafford is sidelined for any length of time.


The Rams’ 43-20 defeat before 93,448 was a bad loss that dropped their record to 3-5.

But the potential ramifications are far worse.

Stafford, 35, was already playing through a hip injury he suffered during a Week 4 victory at Indianapolis.

On Sunday, just before halftime, his right thumb hit the helmet of a defender on an ill-fated two-point conversion pass. He led the Rams on a scoring drive to start the third quarter, but aggravated the injury when he caught a two-point conversion pass and came down hard on the turf.

Stafford left the sideline for tests in the locker room and returned with his right hand taped. But he was replaced by Brett Rypien as the Rams suffered their worst defeat of the season.

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Rams’ 43-20 road loss to the Dallas Cowboys by the numbers


Rams box score

NFL box scores

NFL standings

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From Jeff Miller: From sputtering to strutting, the Chargers’ offense scored on its first five possessions Sunday night en route to a 30-13 victory over Chicago at SoFi Stadium.

The Chargers, after failing to top 17 points in back-to-back losses, opened a 24-7 halftime edge and then cruised as their defense bottled up the Bears and rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent, who was making his second career start.


Justin Herbert completed his first 15 pass attempts and finished 31 of 40 for 298 yards and three touchdowns.

His scoring tosses went to Austin Ekeler, Simi Fehoko and Donald Parham Jr. Ekeler had seven catches for a team-high 94 yards.

The Chargers (3-4) also received some production from rookie first-round pick Quentin Johnston, who caught five passes for 50 yards after struggling to find his place in the offense through the season’s first six games.

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Chargers’ 30-13 home win over the Chicago Bears by the numbers

Chargers box score


NFL box scores

NFL standings


From Dan Woike: LeBron James forced Sunday’s game into overtime with a sweeping layup, but the Lakers missed too many shots and wasted too many chances, losing 132-127 to the Kings in overtime in Sacramento.

The team now heads back to Los Angeles for the second leg of a back-to-back with the Orlando Magic.

James scored 27 points, including seven in overtime, but the Lakers made only two of their 10 three-point attempts in the fourth quarter and overtime. James also had eight turnovers, one to start overtime and one to end it.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 30.

The Lakers, for the third-straight game, trailed by double digits during the first quarter, forcing the team to play uphill while they tried to find an offensive rhythm.


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Lakers box score

NBA box scores

NBA standings


From Andrew Greif: Everyone came to Arena to get a look at Victor Wembanyama.

The Clippers, meanwhile, needed to get a look at themselves.


Forget, no matter how impossible it seemed Sunday, the spectacle of Wembanyama, the San Antonio Spurs rookie who hit the NBA carrying the highest expectations since LeBron James 20 years earlier. Because the Clippers had spent three weeks of preseason practices describing the great expectations they have for themselves — of playing with pace and physicality, with rejuvenated energy and tighter focus, all to give themselves a chance to play up to their unfulfilled championship ambitions.

Yet after living up to those ideals in Wednesday’s opener, they fell far short Friday in Utah while being crushed on the glass, loose with turnovers and not sharp enough in the final minute. Three games into the season, the Clippers arrived Sunday for a test not only of keeping in check the 7-foot-4 Wembanyama, but whether they could keep their preseason promises.

In this 123-83 Clippers victory, they did.

Two nights after attempting just four shots in Utah, Russell Westbrook made eight of his 13 for 19 points. George matched his scoring total, while Kawhi Leonard scored 21. The team’s starters shot 54%, 40% on three-pointers and outrebounded San Antonio’s starters by five.

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Clipppers box score

NBA box scores


NBA standings


From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: Lincoln Riley was arguing with referees on the sideline. Cal’s marching band was performing on the field. In the locker room during a comically extended halftime, USC’s players took control.

Instead of discussing the many schematic breakdowns that led USC to an 11-point deficit, team leaders grabbed the room’s attention. It wasn’t about what Cal was doing. This game needed to be all about USC.

The No. 24 Trojans responded by scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, forcing four takeaways and saving their Pac-12 championship hopes with a nailbiting, 50-49 win Saturday at California Memorial Stadium.

Safety Jaylin Smith capped the chaotic game with a game-sealing pass breakup on Cal’s two-point conversion attempt with 58 seconds remaining, after USC (7-2, 5-1 Pac-12) battled back from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

“It’s been creeping out, but today was a great step forward for us being a player-led team,” center Justin Dedich said.


USC was licking its wounds from back-to-back losses that knocked the Trojans out of College Football Playoff contention. Staring at a two-score hole in the fourth quarter, they “could’ve folded,” Riley said. Instead they clawed back with grit and a little bit of luck.

“I’m really, really damn proud of the group,” said Riley, who was back on the sideline after missing two days of practice with pneumonia this week.

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Commentary: Lincoln Riley is on the verge of losing USC fans’ devotion by keeping Alex Grinch

Alex Grinch’s disconcerting USC defense continues to fail. Can he pull it together?

USC box score


Pac-12 standings


From Ben Bolch: It was part of another stifling showing by UCLA’s better half. The Bruins (6-2 overall, 3-2 Pac-12) limited Colorado (4-4, 1-4) to 38 yards rushing and 244 yards of offense while giving up just three field goals and one garbage-time touchdown.

“Our defense is the best I’ve ever seen,” quarterback Ethan Garbers said on a night when he was again steady and efficient, “and the best I’ve ever gone against in practice.”

After committing four first-half turnovers, UCLA was far more careful with the ball in the second half while outscoring the Buffaloes, 21-10, satisfying a crowd that had grown restless.

Garbers was solid in his second consecutive start with the exception of one interception in which Colorado defensive back Travis Hunter jumped the route.

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UCLA takeaways: Bruins’ defense shows it’s one for the ages

Plaschke: At Colorado, Deion Sanders is the only one ready for prime time

UCLA box score

Pac-12 standings


All times Pacific
All games on Fox

Arizona vs. Texas


Texas 6, Arizona 5 (11) (recap, box score)
Arizona 9, Texas 1 (recap, box score)
Tonight at Arizona, 5 p.m.
Tuesday at Arizona, 5 p.m.
Wednesday at Arizona, 5 p.m.
*Friday, Nov. 3 at Texas, 5 p.m.
*Saturday, Nov. 4 at Texas, 5 p.m.

*-if necessary

Tommy Pham wanted to be a Dodger. Now he’s a standout and clubhouse hit for Arizona


From Kevin Baxter: No one will ever accuse Major League Soccer of being a slave to tradition.

The league expands more often than a hot-air balloon and has changed its playoff format three times in the last six seasons. In MLS, the only constant is change.

Change, however, isn’t always progress. Take the league’s newest playoff format.

No, really ... take it. Please.

After the longest season in MLS history, the league has returned this fall to the three-game first-round playoff schedule it rightly rejected after the 2002 season. And the (very) early results suggest the fans aren’t buying it, with several thousand empty seats watching both LAFC and the Philadelphia Union roll to convincing wins in the first games of their postseason series.

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American hockey player Adam Johnson, who appeared in 13 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019 and 2020, has died after his neck was cut by a skate blade during a game in England on Saturday, his team said. He was 29.

Johnson was playing for the Nottingham Panthers in a Challenge Cup game against the Sheffield Steelers when he suffered the skate cut during the second period of the Elite Ice Hockey League game at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena.

Johnson played in 42 games with Ontario Reign, the Kings’ top farm team, over the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, scoring seven goals and 17 points.

NHL box scores

NHL standings


1945 — Branch Rickey signs Jackie Robinson to the Montreal Royals.

1974 — Muhammad Ali knocks out George Foreman in the eighth round in Kinshasa, Zaire, to regain the world heavyweight title in the “Rumble in the Jungle”.


1975 — John Bucyk of the Boston Bruins scores his 500th career goal in a 3-2 victory over St. Louis.

1977 — Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears rushes for 205 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-0 triumph over the Green Bay Packers.

1993 — Erin Whitten becomes the first woman goalie in pro hockey to be credited with a victory as Toledo beats Dayton 6-5 in the East Coast Hockey League.

1996 — The WNBA announces the eight cities that will compete in the WNBAs inaugural season. Charlotte, Cleveland, Houston and New York will play in the Eastern Conference and Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento and Utah will compete the Western Conference.

1997 — Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona announces his retirement.

1997 — Violet Palmer makes pro sports history by becoming the first woman to officiate an NBA game. There is little reaction by the crowd when her name is announced just before tip-off of the game between the Dallas Mavericks and Vancouver Grizzlies.

1999 — Marques Tuiasosopo becomes the first college player to pass for 300 yards and run for 200, racking up a school-record 509 yards as Washington rallied to beat Stanford 35-30. Tuiasosopo completes 19-of-32 passes for 302 yards and a touchdown and rushes 22 times for 207 yards and two TDs.


2001 — Michael Jordan misses his biggest shot of the night and commits two crucial late turnovers in the Washington Wizards’ 93-91 loss to the New York Knicks, Jordan’s first regular-season game after a 3 1/2-year retirement.

2003 — In the first regular-season game of his NBA career, 18-year-old LeBron James has 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals, but the Cleveland Cavaliers lose 106-92 to the Sacramento Kings.

2004 — Trainer Bobby Frankel finally breaks through in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, with Ghostzapper blazing to victory in America’s richest race held at Lone Star Park. Frankel, who had just two wins with 62 Breeders’ Cup starters before the $4 million Classic, had saddled the beaten favorite the past three years.

2004 — Dana College’s Tom Lensch sets an all-division college record by attempting 101 passes in a 60-35 loss to Hastings College. Lensch completes 56 passes for a school-record 507 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

2016 — Derek Carr throws a 41-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts with 1:45 remaining in overtime, capping a record-breaking day for the Oakland Raiders in a 30-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carr throws for a franchise-record 513 yards — completing 40 of 59 passes without an interception — and the Raiders overcome an NFL-record 23 penalties for 200 yards.

2019 — The Washington Nationals beat Houston Astros, 6-2 in Game 7 to win the first title in franchise history; MVP: Washington pitcher Stephen Strasburg.


—Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally...

Muhammad Ali knocks out George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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