For the first time since Kurt Warner was league MVP, the Los Angeles Rams are going to the Super Bowl. After struggling out of the gate, the Rams overcame an early 13-point deficit to win 26-23 and advance to their first Super Bowl in 17 years. This game wasn’t without controversy, as the Rams won in large part due to an uncalled penalty on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman which, if called, would have all-but ensured a New Orleans Saints victory.
Los Angeles Rams Defeat New Orleans Saints, Advance to Super Bowl LIII
This game was too good to be decided in regulation. New Orleans won the coin toss and got the ball to start overtime. Giving Drew Brees extra chances is normally a kiss of death, the Los Angeles Rams defense came up huge on the opening drive.
Facing 2nd and 16 from their own 34, pressure got in Brees’ face, forcing an inaccurate pass. The ball landed in the arms of John Johnson, giving the Rams the ball at the 46-yard line. Needing just a field goal to win the game and advance to the Super Bowl, Jared Goff and the offense went to work. The offense did just enough to set up Greg Zuerlein for a game-winning 57-yard field goal. The ever-reliable kicker answered the call and made the longest kick in Rams postseason history.
An Instant-Classic Fourth Quarter
The legend of Jared Goff grew after Sunday’s instant-classic. Goff and company entered the fourth quarter facing a 20-17 deficit. After struggling on offense all day, the Rams offense came alive with a masterful nine-play, 85-yard drive to give Los Angeles the game-tying field goal.
Interestingly enough, head coach Sean McVay decided not to go for the touchdown on fourth and one. McVay, normally one of the more aggressive coaches in the league, settled for the tie and bet on his defense to stop Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense.
That plan worked, but only to an extent. Brees and the Saints drove the downfield and would have iced the game were it not for a missed penalty on cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. However, New Orleans still got the field goal and took the lead with just 1:45 left in the game.
Goff and company did it again, making it all the way to the New Orleans 30 to set up Greg Zuerlein for the game-tying field goal. The reliable kicker knocked it through, sending the game to overtime.
The Early-Game Struggles
Despite the flashy finish, the Rams started this game in the worst way imaginable. The defense allowed Drew Brees and the Saints offense to score an opening drive field goal, and Jared Goff threw an interception deep in Rams territory. However, the Rams defense held and held the Saints to a 6-0 lead. Los Angeles couldn’t do anything for the majority of the first half and found themselves trailing 13-3 at the two-minute warning.
However, the Rams offense finally found some life before halftime. Goff and the Rams offense went on a seven-play, 81-yard drive culminating in a Todd Gurley touchdown. Brandin Cooks was the star of the drive, recording two catches for 53 yards. Despite the rough start, Los Angeles was lucky to enter halftime down only three points. The teams exchanged touchdowns in the third quarter before absolute madness broke out in the fourth.
Embed from Getty Images