The NFL Playoffs are officially lit. Just ask the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The two did battle at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Sunday afternoon with a trip to the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers on the line.
For pretty much the entire game, it looked like the Rams were going to hand the defending champion Buccaneers a blowout loss at home.
Los Angeles held a 27-3 lead about midway through the third quarter with Tom Brady struggling to get anything going on offense.
However, multiple major mistakes on the part of the Los Angeles Rams coupled with some clutch play from Brady and Co. made this a game.
With the Rams up 27-20 with just over two minutes remaining, all they needed was to get a first down to end the game. That’s when Ndamukong Suh forced a fumble of Cam Akers to give Tampa the ball at the Rams’ 30.
A few plays later, and Leonard Fournette scored from nine yards out with 42 seconds remaining in the final stanza to tie the game.
At that point, it seemed like overtime was the name of the game.
Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp had other ideas. After the quarterback almost fumbled on the first play of the final drive, he hit Kupp on consecutive passes for 20 yards and 44 yards, respectively — setting up the Rams at Tampa Bay’s 12. Matt Gay would nail a 30-yard field goal for the 30-27 win.
The entire scene was absolutely ridiculous.
No one can say Matthew Stafford is not a big-game quarterback. After years of losing with the Detroit Lions, he put the Los Angeles Rams on his back to earn a trip to the conference title game.
As for Kupp, he ended the game catching nine passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. Remember, Kupp led the NFL in receptions (145), yards (1,947) and touchdowns (16) during the regular season.
Despite turning the ball over a resounding four times, the Rams were able to hold off a game Buccaneers squad. This will also lead to questions about Tom Brady’s future amid rumors of potential retirement.