The underdogs began taking over the Divisional round on Saturday with the Cincinnati Bengals defeating the Tennessee Titans and then the San Francisco 49ers beating the Green Bay Packers and on Sunday the Los Angeles Rams joined the party by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-27. It was a game full of great play and critical mistakes on both sides that led up to a game winning drive by the Rams and a walk off field goal. Here are my top three takeaways from the game.
MATTHEW STAFFORD COMES THROUGH AGAIN
After playing mistake free from the quarterback position with zero interceptions and zero lost fumbles, Stafford was set up for a last minute drive to win the game and when it was all tied up with 42 seconds left to play, Stafford completed two passes to Cooper Kupp of 20 yards and then 44 yards to get the Rams in field goal range. Then Stafford leads the offense to quickly get to the line and spike it with just seconds left to set up Matt Gay for the winning kick.
RAMS DROP THE BALL BUT NOT THE GAME
The score was 20-3 in favor of the Rams on what would have been the last drive of the first half when LA had the ball at the Tampa Bay six yard line. The Rams attempted a run with Cam Akers but it was fumbled and lost to the defense and what was likely to be a touchdown ended in zero points. That was the first of four fumbles by the Rams. Kupp fumbled. Akers fumbled for a second time. Brian Allen set off a shotgun snap out of sync with Stafford and the defense recovered. Despite the four fumbles the Rams pulled out the win.
COOPER KUPP HAD A DAY
Kupp had nine receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown. While he did commit one costly fumble, he more than made up for it with a 70 yard touchdown in the first half and then by making the two critical catches on the game winning drive including the 44 yard catch to put the Rams in range for the game winning field goal.
WATCH: MATTHEW STAFFORD CONNECTS DEEP TO COOPER KUPP TO SET UP GAME WINNER VS BUCCANEERS
And now for today’s links:
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams outlast Tampa Bay Buccaneers in memorable playoff game that was ‘a whole lot of fun’ (ESPN)
Kansas City Chiefs open as touchdown favorites, Los Angeles Rams 3.5-point favorites in conference championship games (ESPN)
2021 NFL playoffs: What we learned from Rams’ win over Buccaneers in Divisional Round (NFL.com)
Matthew Stafford is exactly the game-changing QB the Rams thought he’d be (RamsWire)
2021 NFL playoffs: What we learned from Chiefs’ win over Bills in Divisional Round (NFL.com)
Bills QB Josh Allen not complaining about OT rules: ‘If it was the other way around, we’d be celebrating, too’ (NFL.com)
Tom Brady says his thoughts are on Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ playoff exit, not own future (ESPN)
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to mull ‘tough decision’ about future (ESPN)