For a while, it was a car accident in slow motion. Then, in a blur, it was euphoria.
The Rams saw the entirety of their 27–3 second-half lead evaporate through a series of self-inflicted wounds and moments of brilliance from Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady, who guided the Bucs to a game-tying score with 42 seconds to play. Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles offense took the field with one timeout and in need of a miracle to avoid overtime, so they turned to the man who's been the star all season: Cooper Kupp.
Stafford found Kupp on back-to-back plays to gain a combined 64 yards, the latter of which was a 44-yard strike down the middle of the field to stun a Buccaneers crowd that had roared to life just moments ago.
Matt Gay delivered a 30-yard field goal as time expired on the next play, atoning for his earlier fourth-quarter miss and sending the Rams to the NFC championship game.
The Stafford-to-Kupp connection washed away a torrent Rams miscues, which included four lost fumbles, a missed field goal and giving up a 55-yard touchdown pass with under four minutes to play and a 14-point lead.
The win puts Los Angeles back in the NFC title game for the second time in four seasons, where they'll face division foe San Francisco at SoFi Stadium—also the site of Super Bowl LVI. The 49ers have beaten the Rams six times in a row.
More NFL Coverage:
- NFL Playoff Takeaways: Deebo, All-Time Meltdown Doom Packers
- Report: Brady Playing Beyond This Season Not Guaranteed
- Robbie Gould Practiced Field Goals During Packers Players Intros
- Ram Digest: Rams Defense Proves Capable of Overcoming Shorthanded Secondary
For more Rams news, head over to Ram Digest.