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NFL Locals: Cooper Kupp, Rams avoid nightmare collapse in win over Falcons

Sept. 18, 2022 Updated Sun., Sept. 18, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Joe Noteboom, left, celebrates wide receiver Cooper Kupp's touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in the second quarter at SoFi Stadium Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Inglewood, California.  (Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Joe Noteboom, left, celebrates wide receiver Cooper Kupp's touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in the second quarter at SoFi Stadium Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Inglewood, California. (Los Angeles Times)

From staff reports

The Atlanta Falcons have been haunted by three numbers since losing to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

28-3 nearly took a new victim.

Cooper Kupp (EWU) and the Los Angeles Rams salvaged a fourth quarter meltdown in a 31-27 win over the Falcons on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

The Rams held a 28-3 advantage late in the third quarter before the Falcons began to mount their comeback. After two touchdowns passes from Marcus Mariota and a blocked punt for a touchdown, Atlanta gave the ball back to Los Angeles trailing 31-25.

That’s when Kupp, who collected 11 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns, appeared to ice the game with a third down catch over the middle.

Atlanta’s Darren Hall had other plans. He punched the ball lose, setting the Falcons up on the Rams’ 37. It was Kupp’s first fumble since Sept. 20, 2020 and the sixth of his career.

Jaylen Ramsey saved the day.

The all-pro cornerback intercepted Mariota two yards in front of the endzone and the defending super bowl champion Rams improved to 1-1 on the season. Only 11.3% of 0-2 NFL teams have went on to make the playoffs.

• Miami Dolphins wide reciever River Cracraft (WSU) had a day to remember.

Cracraft scored his first regular season touchdown – a 2-yard pass from Tua Tagovailoa – in the fourth quarter of a 42-38 win over the host Baltimore Ravens.

Cracraft was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday and sparked the Dolphins’ 21-point comeback. His touchdown was the first of four thrown by Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter.

• Arizona Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson (WSU) was a part of another memorable finish in a 29-23 overtime win over the host Las Vegas Raiders.

Thompson led the Cardinals with 10 tackles and had a pass defense, though the Arizona offense was slow to get going.

The Cardinals rallied from a 20-point halftime decifit and tied the score as time expired in the fourth quarter. After stalling in overtime, the defense came through.

Thompson nearly played hero, but he’ll be thankful he didn’t.

The Arizona safety missed a diving interception deep over the middle. A play later Byron Murphy Jr. returned a 59-yard fumble recovery to win the game.

• Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu (WSU) had a team-high 10 tackles and four tackles for loss in a 19-16 loss to the New York Giants in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Both marks were carrer-highs for Luvu, who has emerged as a centerpiece for the Carolina defense.

In more mundane efforts:

• San Francisco 49ers defensive end Samson Ebukam (EWU) had three tackles in a 27-7 win over the visiting Seattle Seahawks.

• New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (EWU) had two catches for 16 yards in a 17-14 win over the host Pittsburgh Steelers.

• New Orleans Saints linebacker Kaden Elliss (Idaho) had three tackles in a 20-10 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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