Rams are Dominant In Dream Wild Card Win Over Cardinals
January 20, 2022
The Los Angeles Rams have a dream of confetti falling on their heads as they hoist the Lombardi Trophy under the lights of their home stadium. Moreover, on Monday, as America celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Rams took their first step in making their dream a reality with a 34-11 NFC Wild Card win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Los Angeles came out of the tunnel on a defensive rampage, applying pressure at every turn. Aaron Donald collapsed the pocket from the interior while Leonard Floyd and Von Miller screamed off the edges. Although last week, the Rams folded against the San Francisco 49ers, the defense ensured that they put the game out of touch early and showed the remaining teams in the playoffs why they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
The defense swarmed and harassed Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, forcing two interceptions and utterly dominating throughout the contest. Los Angeles held Arizona to 43 total yards and prevented them from advancing past the 50-yard line in the first half and they also blanked Arizona on third down attempts (0-9) throughout the game.
Murray's first interception came as David Long Jr. picked him off for a touchdown when he inadvisably attempted to throw the ball away before being brought down in the endzone by Troy Reader.
Los Angeles played dominantly in all three phases, offense, defense, and special teams, which head coach Sean McVay desired. "That was exactly what we wanted to be able to do," McVay stated after the game.
Matthew Stafford, winless in his previous three trips to the playoffs with the Detroit Lions, got his first playoff victory. Stafford completed 13 of 17 passes for 202 yards and connected with O'Dell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp for a pair of touchdowns. Stafford also contributed a rushing touchdown.
"I think it means a lot more to you guys (media)," Stafford said after notching his first playoff win. "I just want to be part of this team and help us win. I trust in myself, trust in my abilities, trust in my teammates. I'm gonna go out and play and let the chips fall where they may."
For Stafford, his performance was not a surprise; it was expected. "That's how I expect to play every game," he said. "It doesn't always happen that way, but it felt good out there, felt comfortable."
The Rams now will collide with the GOAT (Tom Brady) next weekend, where Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers await in Tampa Bay. The Rams defeated the Buccaneers 34-24 in a Week 3 tilt at Sofi, where Stafford amassed 343 yards and four touchdowns.
The Rams sound confident in continuing their dream run towards Super Bowl LVI, but they are aware of its difficulties to play in Tampa Bay. "It's a huge challenge, tough place to play, obviously fantastic quarterback, they're different from when we played them last," Stafford said. "So are we."
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