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Rams-Buccaneers final score: Aaron Donald helps hold off Tom Brady from another comeback

L.A. will host the 49ers in the NFC Championship game

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams took down the defending Super Bowl champions 30-27 for the second time this season and will move on to face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. A complete disaster in the final quarter of play set up a miraculous comeback by Brady and a tying score by Leonard Fournette in the last seconds of regulation. A last second effort by Stafford and Kupp set up the game winning field goal. Here is how it all went down.

First Quarter

Starting at their own 20 yard line, Leonard Fournette started out fast with two rushes that both went for 10 yards. Tome Brady’s first pass of the game was called incomplete and set up the Rams first opportunity to make a stop. Darious Williams was able to break up a pass that was intended for Rob Gronkowski and force the first punt of the game.

Los Angeles came out the gates passing, finding Odell Beckham Jr. for a quick six yard gain on Matthew Stafford’s first pass and follow thedat up with another six yard pass to Cam Akers. With the run game getting stuffed, Stafford found Beckham for a 20 yard gain that overcame a holding penalty on center Brian Allen, then followed that up with a pass to Tyler HIgbee that set up the Rams in the red zone. After three attempts to put up six, they instead settled for a Matt Gay field goal.

Brady felt the presence of Aaron Donald on a third-and-9 and his pass fell incomplete.

A quick three-and-out by LA’s defense set up their offense at the 29 yard line. Stafford’s first pass went nine yards to Beckham and his second fell incomplete to Van Jefferson on a deep pass, but a pass interference call on Tampa Bay put Los Angeles at the 50 yard line. A taunting penalty on Ndamukong Suh awarded the offense with an additional 15 yards and Cam Akers finally found some room with a nine yard gain. On first-and-goal, Kendall Blanton snuck out of coverage and walked in for the Rams first touchdown of the game.

The Buccaneers went to the screen game to throw off the Rams defensive line and found Fournette for a 13 yard gain. Brady again was facing some heavy pressure but found Gronkowski in the middle of the field for 29 yards. Brady missed his target on a third-and-4 and Ryan Succop put Tampa’s first points on the board with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.

Score: Rams 10, Buccaneers 3

Second Quarter

It appeared that the Buccaneers defense was coming to life after sacking Stafford for a 10 yard loss and setting up a third-and-20. However, on the next play Kupp was left wide open on the right side of the field and after the catch found the end zone for a quick 70 yard touchdown.

The defense awarded their team with yet another three-and-out following the touchdown and a good return by Brandon Powell gave Matthew Stafford and company great field position at their own 49 yard line. Three plays later the defense for the Buccaneers retuned the favor with their own three-and-out. Johnny Hekker’s punt nearly was downed at the one yard line, but Ben Skowronek’s effort fell short and Brady took the field at his own 25.

Mike Evans first reception of the game went for nine yards and converted a third-and-7. His second reception went for 21 yard with Jalen Ramsey in coverage on a third-and-6.

A fired up Brady following a hit from Von Miller was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty but found Fournette for a 20 yard gain to overcome the deficit. On third-and-9 the pass rush continued to hit home and forced Brady to throw it into the ground. Succop’s second field goal attempt went wide right.

The Rams next first down was an Akers special. Sean McVay’s first play call was a run that went no where and Stafford found him twice in the passing game for the first down. Tyler Higbee caught a pass on third-and-5 for six yards to convert a first down and set up LA on the 39 yard line. A screen pass to Akers took the offense four yards back to set up third-and-14. Kupp took a receiver screen 11 yards and nearly made the first down with some fancy footwork. Gay’s field goal was good from 40 yards out.

Donald continued to destroy the Buccaneers offensive line. Brady’s first pass attempt on the next drive ended in a seven yard sack at the hands of the game wrecker. His second pass attempt was high floater to Gronkowski but Nick Scott came flying in to make the interception.

On the first play of the series, Akers took his first carry and ran hard into the line for a gain of seven yards. On the second play, Kupp settled in coverage and converted the first down on a seven yard pass. Van Jefferson followed that up with a 12 yard gain to set up first-and-goal. Akers goal line run with seven seconds left in the game ruined an opportunity for Los Angeles to score before the half. An official review overturned the play and Akers was credited with a fumble.

Score: Rams 20, Buccaneers 3

Third Quarter

Stafford’s first throw of the second half went for 17 yards to OBJ. On the next play, the Buccaneers continued to show their stoutness against the run and dropped Akers in the backfield for a three yard loss. A delay-of-game penalty set up a second-and-17, but Stafford’s pass to Kupp made up most of the yards with a 13 yard gain. His next throw was batted away by Devin White to set up a Hekker punt which fell out-of-bounds at the five yard line.

Fournette created some room with a seven yard rush but an incompletion on third-and-3 forced Tampa to punt after just three plays. Powell took the punt back for a 33 yard return, putting the offense with good field position at the 28 yard line.

Beckham continued to prove an asset to the Rams offense on a beautiful catch that put LA at the Bucs three yard line.

Two runs by Akers set up a third-and-goal at the one yard line and Stafford took it the rest of the way on a QB sneak for LA’s third touchdown of the game.

OJ Howard earned the first down for Tampa Bay after a seven yard gain that followed a four yard gain by Evans. Gronkowski was left wide open for a 42 yard gain and set Brady up at the Rams 23 yard line. He found Evans for an 11 yard gain with David Long Jr. in coverage. A tremendous defensive effort by the line held the Bucs offense in check. Down by 24 points, Tampa settled with a field goal.

The stadium in Florida came to life following a Cooper Kupp fumble that was caused by Jamal Dean and gave Brady back the ball at the Rams 30 yard line.

Three plays later and a gain of a yard set up a fourth-and-9. Brady found Scotty Miller in soft coverage for a gain of 16 yards and a first down. Tyler Johnson nearly scored the Buccaneers first touchdown of the game on a nine yard reception, but it was Fournette who took it in from the one yard line.

Score: Rams 27, Buccaneers 13

Fourth Quarter

Following an ugly three-and-out by the Rams offense, the Buccaneers took over at their own 30 yard line down by two scores. On the first play of the drive, Miller came around the corner with speed and hit the ball out of Brady’s hand. Los Angeles recovered the ball.

The Rams first snap ended much like the Bucs—the snap was launched early and flew well passed Stafford. Buccaneers got the ball back with even better field position.

On third-and-5 following the Rams mistake, Leonard Floyd bailed his offense out with a sack that dropped Brady back nine yards. Brady launched a deep pass on fourth down intended for Evans, but Ramsey’s coverage forced the ball to fall incomplete.

Jefferson had the Rams best carry of the game up to this point on an end-around that he took for 15 yard gain. McVay stuck to the run and Akers awarded him with an eight yard gain that was then followed up with an 18 yard gain from Jefferson. Akers next attempt went for a loss of three. McVay played it safe in field goal position and after three runs in a row, Gay’s kick fell short.

Brady came out with two quick strikes that got the first down and Williams was called for an defensive pass interference that set the ball up on the LA 32 yard line. Long made an incredible play on third-and-6 when he tackled Fournette in the backfield for a loss of three that set up fourth-and-9. Brady missed his target and the Rams defense once again made the necessary plays to make a stop.

LA continued to struggle on the offensive side of the ball and were forced off the field in three plays, but Tampa Bay was forced to use all of their timeouts. With 3:56 left in the game, Brady took to the field to attempt one of his miraculous comebacks. His first pass went to S. Miller for a 21 yard gain, his next to Fournette for a gain of three. His third pass was a 55 yard touchdown to Evans with Ramsey in coverage. 33 seconds off the clock.

Then disaster. With the run gain moving well, Akers had his second drop of the game and the Bucs took over at the Rams 30 yard line with 2:25 left. Despite no timeouts, Bruce Arians stuck to the run and Fournette took two carries for gains of three on each play. With 1:15 left Brady took a shot at the end zone but the pass fell incomplete. His next throw was a nine yard gain and set up fourth-and-1 at the eight yard line with 46 seconds left. Fournette then made the game tying score on a nine yard run.

Kupp to the rescue. Staff

Score: Rams 30, Buccaneers 27