Matthew Stafford has led the Los Angeles Rams to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 34-11, passing for 202 yards and two touchdowns and running for another score in the player’s first playoff win on Monday Night.
The NFC West champion Rams were given two touchdown catches by Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp. The team will soon visit the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday as they are fighting for a spot in the NFC championship game. This is the third time in the last four years under coach Sean McVay that Los Angeles managed to advance in the postseason.
Also scoring in the game was David Long on a 3-yard interception return which took place when the Rams’ defense harassed Kyler Murray. Los Angeles was leading 28-0 in the first playoff game at SoFi Stadium, which will host Super Bowl 56 next month, after the score.
Odell Beckham Jr. is the first player in NFL postseason history to have a 30-yard reception AND a 30-yard completion in the same game. pic.twitter.com/s4z1Dpdm0o
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 18, 2022
Stafford was really the star of his first playoff game with the Rams as, despite three drops, he managed to complete 13 of his season-low 17 passes without an interception. Stafford’s directions for LA’s offense let him seize his first playoff win in 13 NFL seasons.
“I thought he did a great job leading the way,” McVay said of Stafford. “He’s still the same great player to me, and he always was before this game. I think it’s good so you guys don’t have to talk about that anymore. So pleased be able to do this with him. He’s our leader out there, and we wouldn’t be here without him.”
PICK-6. TO THE HOUSE. #RAMSHOUSE.
— NFL (@NFL) January 18, 2022
Beckham made four catches for 54 yards which include his first career playoff touchdown catch that led to the Rams’ first points. The player also had a 40-yard pass throw in his first postseason victory. Adding six tackles and a key early sack was linebacker Von Miller. The game was also his first postseason appearance since winning the MVP award in Super Bowl 50.
Going 19 of 34 for 137 yards was Murray who also produced two interceptions for the Cardinals, who are currently 11-7. The Cardinals, unfortunately, followed their 10-2 start with a 1-5 slide. This was the first time in 10 games where Arizona lost on the road under coach Kliff Kingsbury. However, this was their 10th defeat to the Rams in the last 11 meetings between the NFC West rivals.
“We didn’t do anything right the first two quarters,” Kingsbury said. “The Rams handled the game and the atmosphere well. … As an offense, we were just out of sync on a couple of things early that could have changed the game. We never got in a rhythm and they made some big plays.”
Rushing a touchdown for the Cardinals was James Conner. Arizona has tasted only one playoff victory since the 2009 season. Murray also went 7 for 17 for 28 yards and threw two interceptions in the first half. Still, the Cardinals trailed 21-0 with just 40 yards of offense before getting to the first down.
“I feel like we was dominant out there,” All-Pro Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald said. “I feel like the quarterback wasn’t comfortable at all.”
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 18, 2022