Rams to go: Lots to choose from, especially Stafford picks

The bouquets defeated the Atlanta Falcons 31-27 on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

What we learned from the Rams win:

Quarterback Matthew Stafford still needs to reduce turnovers: Coach Sean McVay and Stafford are quick to explain that every interception has a different story.

OK, no argument there.

But Staffordwho had a record 17 passes intercepted last season, has already intercepted five in two games.

Stafford insists his throwing arm is fine and on Sunday he completed 27 of 36 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns.

But if the Rams want to repeat as Super Bowl champions, Stafford can’t keep up that rolling pace.

Receiver Allen Robinson can be a factor: After targeting Robinson only twice at the start of the season loss to the Buffalo BillsMcVay and Stafford said they needed to involve him more.

Against the Falcons, they waited a whole game.

Robinson was targeted five times. He had four catches for 53 yards, including a touchdown.

Cooper Kupp remained Stafford’s go-to receiver, catching 11 passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 14 targets. Tight Tyler Higbee was targeted nine times and had seven catches for 71 yards.

Running back Cam Akers answered McVay’s call for more urgency: Akers rushed for 44 yards on 15 carries against the Falcons. He also caught two passes for 18 yards.

The third-year pro answered McVay’s request after gaining zero yards on three carries against the Bills.

“I got more reps, more burns,” Akers said. “I made the most of it.”

What should he do to have more opportunities?

“Do more of what I did,” I said.

Receiver Ben Skowronek added another role: Throughout the match, Skowronek lined up as a fullback in the I formation.

“Just so we could mix it up a bit,” McVay said.

Skowronek caught two passes for 16 yards, helped protect Stafford and cleared the way for Akers and Darrell Henderson.

He remains a staple of special teams.

Offensive lineman Alaric Jackson offers versatility: Right guard Tremayne Anchrum suffered an ankle injury in the second game of his first career start, so Jackson stepped in.

Jackson, a second-year professional, was to serve as a swing tackle.

But he showed he could play guard too, and he helped an offensive line that gave up seven sacks against the Bills while giving up just one against the Falcons.

Rookie cornerback Cobie Durant is a playmaker: Durant, a fourth-round draft pick from South Carolina State, intercepted a pass and recorded a sack on his defense debut.

Durant entered Sunday’s game as a cornerback after Troy Hill suffered a groin injury in the second quarter. A series later, Durant caught a pass from Marcus Mariota that knocked down the hands of Cordarrelle Patterson and sent him back 51 yards to set up a touchdown that gave the Rams a 21-3 halftime lead.

Rams defensive back Cobie Durant, right, celebrates with linebacker Terrell Lewis.

Rams defensive back Cobie Durant, right, celebrates with linebacker Terrell Lewis after his interception set up a touchdown.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

“On tips and spills, you have to run,” Durant said, adding, “I was like, ‘Dang, there you go, I got my pick and it was like going to the crib.’ … I’m just taking advantage of my opportunities.

The defense was much better on third down: After allowing the Bills to convert nine of 10 tries on third down, the Rams stopped the Falcons seven of 10 times. The Falcons converted two third downs on first practice and only one after that.

Linebacker Ernest Jones had a record 12 tackles for the Rams.

Durant, inside linebacker Bobby Wagner and outside linebacker Justin Hollins fired Marcus Mariota, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions.

Dot Unit Needs Work: In Game 2 of the 2022 season, the Falcons blocked a Riley Dixon punt and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown.

It was reminiscent of last season when, in Game 2, a snap bounced off the Rams’ punt protector and the Indianapolis Colts recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.

The United Rams special teams showed last season that they can improve by the end of the season. They need a repeat if they aim to repeat as Super Bowl champions.