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Final-second area aim thwarts Brady comeback try and sends Rams to NFC Championship recreation


Matthew Stafford outplayed Tom Brady within the closing minute, shifting the Rams into place for a last-second area aim that gave Los Angeles a 30-27 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday after the seven-time Tremendous Bowl champion led Tampa Bay on a late tying drive.

Stafford threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns, and Matt Homosexual’s 30-yard area aim as time expired despatched the Rams (14-5) into subsequent Sunday’s NFC championship recreation at dwelling in opposition to the San Francisco 49ers.

Brady rallied the Bucs from a 27-3 second-half deficit with assist from three Los Angeles turnovers, tying the sport on Leonard Fournette’s 9-yard run on fourth-and-inches with 42 seconds remaining. The NFL’s all-time passer chief did not get a chance to complete the job.

And it is unsure if that was the ultimate recreation for Brady, who’s undecided on retirement.

Stafford led the Rams downfield after the following kickoff, utilizing completions of 20 and 44 yards to league receiving chief Cooper Kupp to arrange Homosexual’s third area aim of the day.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matt Homosexual #8 of the Los Angeles Rams kicks the game-winning area aim within the final second in opposition to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers within the NFC Divisional Playoff recreation at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.

/ Getty Photographs


“We knew it wasn’t going to be straightforward,” Stafford stated. “I imply, we positive let ’em again within the recreation with a bunch of errors on offense. Our protection performed excellent. We have got to scrub some stuff up, do some higher job within the turnover division.

“It is a robust workforce, man, that is what we’re all about. Simply completely satisfied to get a win and carry on shifting.”

Earlier, Stafford discovered Kupp large open behind the Bucs secondary on a 70-yard scoring play that put Los Angeles up 17-3 early within the second quarter.

“Man, he is the guts and soul of this offense,” Stafford stated. “What he is in a position to do down in, down out, whether or not it is within the move recreation, run recreation — he is an unbelievable competitor.”

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams appears to throw the ball within the first quarter of the sport in opposition to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers within the NFC Divisional Playoff recreation at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.

/ Getty Photographs


Stafford, who had by no means gained a postseason recreation earlier than beating Arizona within the earlier week’s wild-card spherical, accomplished 28 of 38 passes with out an interception. The 13-year veteran additionally scored on a 1-yard run because the Rams (14-5) superior to subsequent Sunday’s NFC championship recreation at dwelling in opposition to the San Francisco 49ers.

Brady accomplished 30 of 54 passes for 329 yards, one landing and one interception. He was sacked 3 times and misplaced a fumble.

Fournette additionally scored on a 1-yard run for Tampa Bay, which pulled inside 27-20 on Brady’s 55-yard TD throw to Mike Evans, who made the catch with Jalen Ramsey in pursuit with 3:20 left.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers catches the ball earlier than scoring a landing within the fourth quarter of the sport in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams within the NFC Divisional Playoff recreation at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.

/ Getty Photographs


The Bucs (14-5), who misplaced to the Rams for third time in two seasons, had been making an attempt to change into the primary workforce to repeat as Tremendous Bowl champions for the reason that Brady-led New England Patriots in the course of the 2004 season.

Stafford performed certainly one of his finest video games of the season within the September assembly, when he threw for 4 touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-24 Rams win in Los Angeles. He bought off to a different quick begin Sunday, finishing 9 of his first 12 passes for 176 yards and the TDs to Blanton and Kupp to open a 17-3 lead early within the second quarter.

It was 20-3 at halftime, and the Bucs had been lucky their deficit wasn’t larger. With the Rams on the verge of scoring once more within the closing seconds of the second quarter, Cam Akers fumbled on the Tampa Bay 1 and Tampa Bay’s Antoine Winfield recovered to maintain the defending champs to maintain from falling behind.

Akers initially was dominated down by contact, however a prolonged evaluate of the play decided the ball was starting to come back unfastened earlier than the working again’s helmet hit the turf.

The Rams constructed the result in 27-3 on Stafford’s quarterback sneak, with assist alongside the way in which from some uncharacteristic errors by the Bucs. That included unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on defensive deal with Ndamukong Suh for taunting and Brady, who was flagged whereas arguing unsuccessfully for what he felt ought to have been a penalty on the Rams for successful that appeared to bloody his lip.

The Rams had been beneficiant, too, persevering with to harm themselves within the second half.

Kupp, who had 9 catches for 183 yards, misplaced a fumble, and the offense didn’t make the most of Von Miller sacking Brady to a pressure a fumble on the Tampa Bay 25 when heart Brian Allen snap sailed previous Stafford in shotgun formation and recovered by the Bucs.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appears on within the fourth quarter in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams within the NFC Divisional Playoff recreation at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.

/ Getty Photographs


Lastly, Suh pressured a second fumble by Akers on the Los Angeles 30, giving Brady a chance to tie it within the final two minutes.

Evans completed with eight catches for 119 yards. Fournette, activated from injured reserve after lacking 4 video games with a hamstring pressure, rushed for 51 yards on 13 carries and had 9 receptions for 56 yards.



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