The 2021 season was filled with banner moves by the leagues best General Manager and with it came high expectations. In the end the Los Angeles Rams are the Super Bowl Champions. The Super Bowl itself was a reflection of the type of dramatic path that it took to get to the top in the first place. This offseason we’ll have a look back game by game to capture what took place on the road to becoming Super Bowl Champions.
WEEK 2: LOS ANGELES RAMS VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
In the second week of the regular season, the Rams were undefeated with a 1-0 record and seeking to win their first road game. The Colts were 0-1 after losing their season opener to the Seattle Seahawks.
Was this Week 2 game the best reflection of what was to come in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl 56? Here are some reasons why it could be.
The game started with a first quarter fourth down stop. Like the Cincinnati Bengals did in the Super Bowl, the Colts also decided to try a fourth down conversion against a championship caliber defense and it did not work out for them. On this play, the Colts had the ball at the Rams one yard line. Carson Wentz dropped back to pass with Leonard Floyd and Justin Hollins firing off the edges. Both Floyd and Hollins made quick work of their blockers and Floyd from the passers front side was able to disrupt the play and finish the play for a sack and a fourth down stop.
Cooper Kupp scored early and often. Similar to when the Rams eliminated the San Francisco 49ers and in the Super Bowl, Kupp scored two touchdowns against the Colts, one to set up a lead in the first half and another in the fourth quarter to overcome a deficit. By now we know that Kupp had one of the most consistently productive seasons by any receiver in history so we’ll be tracking that path along with how it guided the Rams to their championship. In this game, Kupp lined up in the backfield in the first quarter and from that position ran up the seam to break off the mid level defender and split the deep safeties to score a touchdown on the Rams first score. Later we’ll look at how he scored his second touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game, like he did in both the NFC championship game and the Super Bowl.
Special teams error adds to the drama. In the Super Bowl, the Rams mishandled an extra point attempt early in the game that would end up playing critical factor in a game that had the Rams needing four points to tie at the end of regulation. In Week 2 against the Colts, the Rams got practice at overcoming a special teams error. In the fourth quarter, Johnny Hekker lined up to punt from the Rams own 11 yard line. The snap was bounced off the set back blocker and the play was set into damage control mode with a free ball bouncing in the end zone. Ultimately the ball was recovered by the Colts for a touchdown and Indy was up 21-17 in the fourth quarter.
Both the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl both came down to a fourth quarter situation with the Rams down and in need of one score and one stop in order to secure the win. The case was the same in Week 2 against the Colts. In the fourth quarter, the Rams were down when Matthew Stafford connected with Kupp for a second touchdown by the duo, this time putting the Rams ahead by three points. The Colts would then drive the ball enough to even the score with a field goal.
From that point, with the score tied at 24-24, the Rams put together a late fourth quarter drive which included a clutch third down conversion by Kupp and a couple of big gains by Sony Michel to set up the Matt Gay field goal and put the Rams up by three and one stop away from the win with just under two minutes left. In the championship games, it was Aaron Donald on both occasions providing the main impact to set up the finishing interception in the NFC title game and the fourth down incompletion in the Super Bowl, but against the Colts when one stop was needed to win, it was Jalen Ramsey who came up with the game winning play by making a great read and break to intercept Wentz and seal the game.
Rams win 27-24 and head home at 2-0 to take on the 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.