How did LA Rams clinch a playoff berth in Week 17?

Sean Mcvay, Los Angeles Rams
Sean Mcvay, Los Angeles Rams / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
2 of 3

Rams ride success back into the heat of competition

Having fallen to a record of 3-6, the LA Rams had unintentionally dug themselves into a hole that had only two options of escaping. Either the Rams needed Divine Intervention, or the team had to find a way to play consistently very good football over the course of the final eight games on the Rams schedule. It appears that the Rams chose the second option.

But suddenly flicking the switch is no easy task. Young players do not possess the experience to suddenly start playing consistently well. That is through no fault of their own. Rather, they simply have not had enough experience in the game to recognize what is occuring to them and around them after the snap of the football.

Thankfully, the Rams schedule afforded the team a nice beachhead into the second half of the season for the young players. The Rams repeated games with the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals, two NFC West Division rivals who the Rams had played, and defeated, earlier in the season. The young Rams players knew what to expect in those initial two games, and the Rams had improved to 5-6 in just two games.

The Rams would go on to defeat a very good Cleveland Browns team, lose in overtime to the AFC's best, the Baltimore Ravens in overtime, then return home to SoFi Stadium to defeat the Washington Commanders and the New Orleans Saints. With just one loss in the last six games, the Rams had improved to 8-7 and were finally appearing to be a playoff team.

But four of the games on the Rams schedule after the BYE were played at home. The Rams were only 1-1 on the road, and Week 17 would be on the road to face a New York Giants team with nothing to lose.