By Earl Heath
Contributing Sports Writer
The NFC divisional playoff game began as a one sided blowout matches as the Rams jumped out to a 27-3 lead. Matthew Stafford had to show why the team trusted him so much. With under 40 seconds left in the game the 13-year veteran connected with Cooper Kupp setting up a 30 yard field goal by Matt Gay giving the visitors a 30-27 win over Tampa Bay.
That set up setting up a match-up for the third time this season against the San Francisco 49ers. The team from the Bay went to Lambeau Field and beat the PACKERS on a field goal with no time on the clock.
“I live for those moments,” said Stafford. “I would to have loved taking a knee when we were up by three scores. But it’s a whole lot more fun when you have that led to 3 scores and allow to be creative and get the job done.”
The Rams (14-5) lost four fumbles that allowed the Bucs to get right back into the game and nearly come away with a win. They are the first team in NFL history to loose a 20 point lead, while having 4 fumbles and win.
Cooper Kupp led the team with 9 catches for a team playoff record 183 yards. He also tied Michael Irwin (1995) with his 12th 100 yard receiving game this season with 18 TD catches. Stafford completed 28 of 38 for 366 yards.
They currently have the Bucs number after beating them at Raymond James in 2020 the at SoFi in week three this season. Before Sunday’s game the only lost one home game.
Different players stepped up in clutch moments, Odell Beckham Jr converted a big third down play in the first-, half(he finished the day with 6 catches for 69 yards in his second ever post season game.
Nick Scott picked off the 44 year-old Brady on a third and long. He also had two pass break-ups. The Lancaster native was a 7th round selection in the 2019 draft out of Penn State. Though he’s played mostly on special teams he’s had two big interceptions.
The Rams will take on the 49ers with the winner heading to SUPER BOWL LVI to be played right here at So-FI on February 13th.
San Francisco and head coach Kyle Shanahan have won the last 6th meetings. In the season finale the Rams had a 17-0 lead but fell short in overtime 27-24. “You wouldn’t want it no other way,” said Rams defensive line man Aaron Donald. “Playing your divisional rival with the right to go to the Super Bowl.”
At that game you could see the red jersey stood out more in the stands than that Ram Blue. Coach McVay is looking for something different this time around.
“I can’t wait for fans to show up in Mr. Kroenke’s house,” said McVay. “To be able to do this in the first year that fans our here. It’s going to be a special opportunity to go put together a good performance, a great week of preparation and then watch our guys shine against a great opponent next week.”
ADD RAMS: It was Sean McVay’s fifth play-off victory. … (5-3 overall) The most in RAM history… with 14:33 left in the game Von Miller stripe-sacked Brady who is 0-3 vs RAMS since joining the BUCS. It was the 6th consecutive game with a sack… The RAMS are 12-1 when Kupp scores a TD. This week there will be a representative from all final four teams that play this week. They were here to see the practice facilities and potential team hotels.