Matthew Stafford throws back-to-back interceptions, Titans lead 14-3

Sport

For much of the 2021 season, quarterback Matthew Stafford has looked like an MVP candidate.

That hasn’t been the case against the Titans.

After Los Angeles held a 3-0 lead after the first quarter, Stafford has thrown back-to-back interceptions and the Titans lead 14-3.

With the Rams backed up to their 10-yard line on third-and-4, Stafford tried to avoid a sack and a safety by throwing over the middle of the field after he’d been spun around by Tennessee defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons. But Stafford threw it right to linebacker David Long, who returned the pick to the L.A. 2.

It was a particularly bad decision from Stafford and the quarterback’s fifth interception of the season.

The Titans didn’t take long to capitalize on their takeaway, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill hitting a wide-open Geoff Swaim in the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.

Then on Los Angeles’ next play from scrimmage, safety Kevin Byard jumped Robert Woods‘ route on the right sideline and picked off Stafford again. But Byard had enough room to move and shake his way to the end zone for a pick-six, giving the Titans an 11-point lead.

The Rams had announced running back Darrell Henderson was questionable to return with an ankle injury, but he started Los Angeles’ ensuing drive with an 11-yard carry.

There was one officiating error after the Titans’ second touchdown. The Rams were flagged for a low block on the kickoff, which landed in the end zone for a touchback. The officials assessed the foul half the distance to the goal, putting L.A. at its own 12-yard line. But per NBC Sports’ Terry McAuley, the only option should have been to re-kick with the 15-yard penalty added on, which would have meant kicking from midfield.

The officials initially were going to have Tennessee do that, but changed the enforcement after both teams had lined up have another kickoff.