If you’re still alive after that contest, good, because I barely made it out. In what turned out to be an absolute overtime thriller, the Los Angeles Rams knocked off the New Orleans Saints 26-23, ensuring their spot at Superbowl 53.
Much will be made about a missed pass interference call on CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, but it shouldn’t overshadow what the Rams were able to do in this game in climbing back, proving the moment wasn’t too big for them, and overcoming a horrific start. Not to mention, there were plenty of missed calls on both sides, so it’s hardly a net loss for the Saints.
Let’s take a look at the stock report:
RB Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley had a game to forget, though he wasn’t given a ton of opportunities regardless. Gurley had four carries for 10 yards and a touchdown, as well as one reception on three targets for three yards, one of which was a drop-turned interception on the Rams’ 16-yard line. Gurley doesn’t seem to be fully healthy, luckily he’ll have another two weeks to nurse himself back to health.
FS Lamarcus Joyner
Lamarcus Joyner had one of the most inexcusable blunders you’ll ever see, and it came at the biggest point in the season. On what was an errant deep pass to WR Tedd Ginn Jr from Drew Brees, Joyner closed in and was in a prime spot to record an interception. Instead, he misplayed the ball, allowed Ginn a 45-yard catch, and that in turn set the Saints up inside the Rams’ 15-yard line with just over 2:00 left in the game. Luckily for Joyner, the Rams still managed to win the game, but that very well could have been the season.
QB Jared Goff
For about 80% of that game, Jared Goff was average at best. It was the remaining 20% where his testicles of pure platinum came to light. The surgical drive right before half where he led the Rams down field to score a touchdown was incredible, and the two final drives (one in regular time, one in overtime) of the game were downright legendary. Goff managed to evade multiple sacks and instead turned them into completions for positive yardage to TE Tyler Higbee. Goff is proving that the moment simply isn’t too big for him, and now the kid is merely 60 minutes away from enshrining himself as a downright Rams legend.
WR Brandin Cooks
Brandin Cooks was the best source of Rams offense today as he reeled in seven receptions for 107 yards on eight targets. Cooks routinely used his dangerous speed and crisp route running to create separation and throwing windows for Jared Goff. Two catches were particularly beautiful, one which happened on the sideline, and the deep bomb right before half.
DT Ndamukong Suh
If you didn’t think Ndamukong Suh was worth his contract after the regular season, do you think he is now? Suh has made himself quite pronounced these past two weeks in the playoffs as a monster against the run, and now showing up as a pass rusher. Suh had four tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one tackle-for-loss in the contest, though he was even more fantastic than a stat sheet could record.
SS John Johnson III
John Johnson III was all over the field on Sunday, even if the stat sheet only shows four tackles and one interception. His ability to cover, tackle in the open field, and create big plays for the defense are outstanding. JJ3 also reeled in a fantastic interception on a pop-fly after a QB hit/pressure from OLB Dante Fowler Jr.
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
NRC was fantastic in the slot all game, even if it meant a missed pass interference call that could have changed the game. NRC had a shot at three interceptions, though was noticeably more determined to play his man as opposed to the ball. As long as NRC is in the nickel spot, the Rams will be in good shape against slot receivers.
K Greg Zuerlein
I mean, what is there to say about this man other than he is a hero? Greg went 4/4 on field goals and 2/2 on extra points, scoring both of the final kicks in regular time and overtime. GZ was arguably the brightest star today, kudos to the legend.