The 11-4 Los Angeles Rams overcame multiple injuries and turnovers to defeat the scrappy Minnesota Vikings 30-23. The fourth consecutive win vaults the Rams to the top of the NFC West, and officially punches LA’s ticket to the postseason. After the game, head coach Sean McVay and several players spoke to the media about the win and clinching a postseason berth.
McVay pleased with offensive line depth and in game shuffling
“Kind of found out later on, after we had that practice he’s (Andrew Whitworth) positive for COVID. We were potentially going to get Joe Noteboom back. If we were playing on Monday, he would have been back. Joe’s a guy that we look at really as a starting caliber tackle...Because of how well Coleman Shelton had played, felt like let’s put him at left guard. Let’s move big Dave Edwards out to left tackle. We lose Brian Allen fairly early in the game, Coleman slides in (moves back to center), David goes back to his original spot, and then Alaric Jackson man, he’s a pretty impressive rookie. ”
The head coach went on to credit the offensive line and Kevin Carberry (offensive line coach). He added that rookie Alaric Jackson, who stepped in at left tackle for his first regular season reps of his career, was “unphased.”
Flight home thought. It's not just the Rams 4-game streak, but what they overcame & who they won with in December:— J.B. Long (@JB_Long) December 27, 2021
Alaric Jackson, Coleman Shelton, Bobby Evans, Ben Skowronek, Travin Howard, Kareem Orr, Marquise Copeland, Kendall Blanton, Dont'e Deayon, Brandon Powell…special.
McVay pumped about Brandon Powell’s impact as a punt and kickoff returner
“Unbelievable...He is an impressive guy. He’s brought a great spark to our team. I think he’s been excellent really in both phases of the return, not only in kick return and punt return. You felt his presence made immediately when he started returning against Jacksonville.”
It looks like the Rams have finally found their answer in the return game. Better late than never!
McVay has no updates on the injuries suffered in Minnesota
“Don’t have any updates on those guys. None of those guys were able to return. Hopefully we’ll get some news back, but don’t have any updates on those guys yet. Haven’t got with (Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his group yet.”
The injuries piled up early and often. Los Angeles was forced to play without center Brian Allen, running back Darrell Henderson (suffered a knee sprain), defensive lineman Greg Gaines (who returned late in the fourth quarter), and middle linebacker Ernest Jones (high ankle sprain).
McVay has his bell cow in Sony Michel
“Sony, really for the last month he’s been a workhorse. He’s been one of the standouts for us when we’ve gone 4-0 in the month of December. Really pleased with him.”
I’m starting to get used to this. Michel had another big game, rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. That’s 4.9 yards per carry. You love to see it.
Powell thanks his blockers for his 61-yard punt for a touchdown
“I just did the easy part. I just caught the ball and ran up the sideline. I give all the props to the 10 guys out blocking for me.”
He is unselfish and giving props to his blockers. I hope this is just the beginning for him.
Powell on going to the playoffs
“A few months ago I was actually in Miami at my house, on the beach reading a book...Kept working, kept believing in myself, trusting in God and now I’m here with the Rams. Four years in the league and this is my first time going to the playoffs. I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”
His 229 return yards in the past four weeks have been exactly what this Rams special teams unit needed. Powell has provided stability at both punt and kick returner
Howard says preparation was key for his interception
“I just came in with the mindset of I was a starter, so prepare like a starter even though I was playing mostly special teams. When Ernest went down I went in and made plays.”
Howard made a clutch red zone interception, practically taking would be Minnesota points off of the board. Troy Reeder also played well. This team has depth across the board.
Stafford unhappy with his performance
“I can definitely play way better. Frustrated a little bit with how I played. But, in the second half, we needed some plays. We were able to do enough in the pass game to come away with a win.”
Bad Stafford made an appearance today, throwing three interceptions and missing his fair share of open pass catchers. “This guy” cannot show up moving forward.
Stafford excited about clinching a playoff birth
“We obviously guaranteed ourselves a spot. Would love to make that spot as good as we can make it from here on out and control where we sit in the seedings and I think it’s important to go into it playing good football.”
Keeping the win streak going and peaking at the right time would be a great way start the postseason. You never want to limp into the playoffs. I’m looking at you Arizona Cardinals (aka Fraudinals), who actually earned a spot in the tournament thanks to us knocking off the Vikings.
Kupp credits the defense for the win
“I thought they just played lights out today. They really saved us. Most games you turn the ball over three times, it doesn’t look good for you.”
The defense was put in bad situations all day long, thanks to those three Stafford interceptions. Considering the circumstances, the unit played well. It’s not too often a team scores 30 points while having three giveaways.
Kupp focused on winning, not his historic season
“I’m just glad we won the game. At the end of the day, I just want to execute my job over and over again.”
The NFL triple crown wide receiver is doing his job better than anyone else in football at his position. He leads the league with 132 receptions, 1,734 receiving yards, and 14 touchdowns.