By Tiffany Williams –
The Los Angeles Rams came into Monday night’s wildcard game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California against the Cardinals after ending their regular season with a 24-27 loss in overtime against the 49ers. Leading up to that week 18 game, the Rams had five solid consecutive wins.
This game tonight, was the first ever NFL play-off game at SoFi Stadium and 70,625 fan got to witness the first ever postseason playoff win at SoFi Stadium with the Rams claiming a 34-11 win.
The first half of this game was controlled by the Rams with Beckham getting the first TD of the game to get get the Rams an early lead and the point after attempt was good. At the end of the first quarter it was a 0-7 Rams lead. In the second quarter, Stafford got a TD for the Rams and the point after attempt was good. That was followed up with Long get an interception return and the point after attempt was good. At the end of the second quarter, it was 0-21 Rams lead.
In the third quarter, Kupp got a TD for the Rams and the point after attempt was good. That was followed up with Kyler Murray getting his first TD pass of the game, connecting with Conner and the point after attempt was good. At the end of the third quarter it was a 8-28 Rams lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Rams made two field goals while the Cardinals made one field goal. At the end of the fourth quarter it was an 11-34 Rams game.
After the game when Rams QB Matthew Stafford was asked about getting his first career playoff win he said, “Yeah, I mean, I’m just excited for our team to get the win. Obviously, what a team effort. I mean, our defense played outstanding tonight. Special teams basically set up a score with (P) Johnny (Hekker) pinning them down there. Did a great job on field goals. We were good enough on offense to score some points and come away with a win. Just happy to be moving on.” When asked about Odell Beckham Jr’s throw down the sideline to RB Cam Akers, Stafford said “Yeah that’s a play we practiced this week. Odell is a super talented guy. He made that throw right-handed, he could probably do it lefty, too. He’s a freak. But just really well executed. Cam did a great job walking underneath it, made a play. Kudos to Sean for calling it that time. It was an awesome call. I thought Sean did a great job of setting us up for success really all night and we made some plays when we had the chances.”
When Coach Sean McVay was asked about Odell Beckham Jr.’s long pass he said, “Well, he threw a touchdown pass off that same play a couple years ago when he was in New York. So he’s a very talented guy. We got a couple guys that can throw.” When Coach McVay was asked about what kind of challenge Tom Brady poses for the Rams next week he said, “You just said it. It’s a great challenge because they’re a complete team. They looked outstanding against Philly the other day. We know what a great football team this is. They’re a complete team. And they do an excellent job in all three phases. And certainly, we’ve got our work cut out for us. A lot has changed since Week 4. We’ve got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time to get up to speed and put together a good plan to try and put our players in the best spots on Sunday at 3:00 o’clock or whenever the game is.”
After the game Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury, when asked about what happened tonight said, “You come out against a really good team and don’t do anything right for the first two quarters, that’s what’s going to happen. We got to give them credit. They played a great game and we didn’t do much right coaching or playing the first half.” When asked what he tried to do to get the offense moving forward he said “Early on, we missed a couple things that were close and just got out of rhythm. When you’re dropping back against that group, it’s not a good recipe. And that’s where we found ourselves in. So, it just made it for a tough night.”
The Rams will now advance in their postseason for a divisional playoff game against the Buccaneers next Sunday in Tampa. The last matchup between these two clubs was in week 3 of the 2021 regular season and the Rams had a 34-24 win against the Buccaneers.
It was also the first career game played by Tom Brady at SoFi Stadium however it was not the first time that the Buccaneers had played at SoFi Stadium. In fact, for the second straight season the Rams defeated Tampa.
When asked about playing Tampa Bay next week QB Matthew Stafford called it “A huge challenge. Going into their place, a tough place to play, a place they’ve been really good this year. Obviously, a fantastic quarterback, great defense, a really good football team. It will be a big challenge for us. I think their team is different than when we played them last, and I think we are too. I think both personnel and scheme a little bit as you always evolve throughout the season. It’ll be interesting to see what they look like here as of late and we’ll go out there and attack and see what happens.”