ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Matthew Stafford didn't make it to the finish of his homecoming game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Los Angeles Rams quarterback injured the thumb on his throwing (right) hand on a failed 2-point conversion pass in the final seconds of the first half Sunday.
Coach Sean McVay said Stafford was knocked out of the game by an aggravation of the injury when he caught a 2-point pass from receiver Tutu Atwell on a double-reverse on the opening drive after halftime of Dallas' 43-20 victory Sunday.
Stafford, who also bloodied his elbow on the play, caught the ball just above the turf and dove across the goal line after his 20-yard touchdown pass to Ben Skowronek.
Stafford, who didn't return after the 2-point play and was replaced by Brett Rypien late in the third quarter, didn’t speak to reporters after the game. McVay said he didn’t know the extent of the injury.
Stafford's early interception was returned 30 yards for a touchdown by DaRon Bland, the NFL-leading third pick-6 of the season for Bland. The Cowboys led 17-3 after Bland's score on the way to a 33-3 margin late in the first half.
A former Dallas high school standout, Stafford was visiting the Cowboys for the first time as a Super Bowl champion. He dropped to 1-3 at the home of the Cowboys over his 15 seasons. The first three appearances were with Detroit.
Stafford jammed his thumb on the helmet of Dallas defensive tackle Mazi Smith as he was being flung down by defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on the 2-point attempt after Royce Freeman’s 1-yard scoring run in the final seconds of the first half.
Stafford held the thumb as he went to the sideline and was getting treatment on the bench just before the teams went to the locker rooms for halftime.
The 35-year-old stayed in the game after the break, appearing to tug on the thumb to try to get more comfortable. Stafford led a 75-yard scoring drive capped by his 2-point catch that pulled the Rams (3-5) within 33-17.
Stafford tugged at the thumb some more after his catch. Rypien came in after the Cowboys burned nearly 10 minutes on a drive to a field goal.
“He banged it on the 2-point attempt. It looked like he did when he was finishing a throw,” McVay said. “That wasn’t the injury that limited him. You saw him. He takes us right down the field on the opening drive of the second half. Looked like the stud that we know and love.”
McVay also didn't know the extent of a shoulder injury for cornerback Cobie Durant, but most of the focus on the future was on Stafford's status. He was limited to nine games by a neck injury last season.
“If in fact if it’s going to be an injury that leaves him out, the first thing he’s worried about is feeling like, ‘I let people down,’” McVay said.
“No. this guy is the ultimate competitor. I couldn't respect or love anybody as much as I love this guy in regard to what he means to this team as a person and as a player.”
Stafford finished 13 of 22 for 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Rypien was 5 of 10 for 42 yards, converting a fourth-and-2 with a completion on the first play of the fourth quarter before throwing incomplete on another fourth-and-2 four plays later with the Rams trailing by 19.
“I guess it definitely is a little bit different,” said receiver Puka Nacua, who had three catches for an NFL-record 61 through eight games but fell short of the 51 yards needed to set the yardage mark for eight games as well. “But we have confidence with (Rypien)”
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