NFL Playoffs: Rams hold off Bucs comeback to shock defending champs!

Tampa, Florida - The Los Angeles Rams continue to roll through the NFL playoffs as they dethroned the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Rams Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp had nine catches for 183 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs.
Rams Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp had nine catches for 183 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs.  © imago/Icon SMI

The Rams outlasted a late rush to beat the Bucs 30-27, securing their spot in this Sunday’s NFC Championship Game and denying another potential Super Bowl repeat champion.

The Rams ran out early with 10 straight points before the Bucs answered back to close the first quarter trailing LA 10-3.

But the Rams continued to control the momentum with 10 more points through the second quarter as they went into halftime with a commanding 20-3 lead.

Texas school shooting: Pro athletes mourn the victims
Athletes Texas school shooting: Pro athletes mourn the victims

Starting off the second half with more of the same as LA found the end zone once more to go up 27-3. It looked like the game was all theirs from that point on.

The Bucs, however, banded together right after that and went on a 24-point spree that lasted through the third quarter and into the fourth, knotting things up at 27-27 with less than a minute to go in regulation.

With the ball in their possession, the Rams shot right down the field to get into field goal-range for a game-winning kick to run away with the win.

The player spotlight

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford scored three touchdowns against the Bucs.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford scored three touchdowns against the Bucs.  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

In probably the best season he’s ever had over a 13-year career, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (33) continues to show the league he’s certainly one of the best passers around.

And while this matchup ended with a game-winning kick, it was Stafford’s passing that shined bright enough to overshadow Bucs quarterback Tom Brady.

His second-half performance wasn’t nearly as productive as the first, but he did pass for 64 yards in the game’s final 42 seconds to set up his team’s game-winning kick. It was his 43rd game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most of any player since the QB first featured in the NFL in 2009.

NBA Playoffs: Dončić keeps Mavs alive with crucial win over Warriors
NBA NBA Playoffs: Dončić keeps Mavs alive with crucial win over Warriors

Stafford finished the game with 28-for-38 passing, 366 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions along with a rushing touchdown.

The big picture

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay watched his team pull off a huge shock.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay watched his team pull off a huge shock.  © Imago/UPI Photo

Stafford had plenty to say after that later shocker: "In my mind, I live for those kinds of moments. I would have loved to have been taking a knee up three scores, but it's a whole lot more fun when you've got to make a play like that to win the game and just steal somebody's soul."

With both their offense and defense clicking very well, the Rams charge on to host the NFC Championship Game, having pulled off a major shock.

LA is now the heavy favorite to come away from this Sunday’s title game with a trip to the Super Bowl, as they match up against the sixth-seeded 49ers.

The Rams and the 49ers matchup for a spot in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday night.

Cover photo: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

More on the topic NFL: