The great drought is over. In just his first season with the LA Rams, quarterback Matthew Stafford has won his first NFL postseason game. Did he lead the team to come from behind from a 14 point deficit? No. Did he throw for 450 yards and five touchdowns? No. He did all that he needed to do. He completed 13 of 17 for 202 yards and two touchdowns. But the biggest statistic of all? He threw no interceptions.
His counterpart, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, was not as careful with ball security. Murray threw 17 of 34 passes for 137 yards, 0 touchdowns, and two interceptions.
But while the history of Stafford’s postseason career has been all about how well Stafford threw, the LA Rams answered some prayers. In this game, the LA Rams did not place Matthew Stafford into the ‘it’s all on you, Matthew Stafford,’ role. Instead, this one was pretty much giving the guy a ride through his first playoff win.
Let’s be crystal clear. The LA Rams ran 32 times against a run deficient defense with running backs. That set the tone for the game. The Rams ended this one with a huge advantage in Time Of Possession, Turnovers, Yards gained, and final score.
Stafford wins his first playoff game
For Stafford, the questions are now behind him. Yes, Matthew Stafford can win a playoff game. But I can say with great relief that the LA Rams did not abandon Stafford in this one. Sony Michel put up 58 yards. Cam Akers put up 55 yards. Even Jake Funk came in at the end in relief and rushed for five yards. The Rams ran the football, effectively, even after the team lost Andrew Whitworth to a knee injury.
Stafford led the team to three of four red-zone conversions.
It was a good win. This was a meaningful win. It was a full team effort type of win. Now, the fact that the Rams will travel to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers instead of traveling to take on the Green Bay Packers.
So long LA. Hello, Tampa Bay
The LA Rams are advancing to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. And the message has been sent loud and clear. Not only do the LA Rams fully believe in the play of starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. But it was quite clear in the LA Rams’ Wildcard Round performance. The Rams are here for Matthew Stafford. He is not alone.
We cited this in a recent article entitled 14 LA Rams ‘To Do’s,’ to win Super Bowl LVI:
"‘One of the first strategies that many would like to see from the LA Rams organization is perhaps the simplest and most obvious. It’s the basic football principle of running the football. Simply taking the football, and the burden of advancing the football, out of the quarterback’s hands and placing it into the hands of a running back.’- per 14 LA Rams resolutions to win Super Bowl LVI at Sofi Stadium"
The Rams ran. Cam Akers ran. Sony Michel ran. The LA Rams defense scored a touchdown. The entire team showed Matthew Stafford that the NFL is, ultimately, a team sport. Matthew Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr. are giving their NFL careers a facelift. Now, what’s next? We’ll talk about that soon