TAMPA, Fla. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Matthew Stafford outplayed Tom Brady within the ultimate minute, shifting the Rams into place for a last-second area purpose that gave Los Angeles a 30-27 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday, January 23, 2022 after the seven-time Tremendous Bowl champion led Tampa Bay on a late tying drive.
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Stafford threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns, and Matt Homosexual’s 30-yard area purpose as time expired despatched the Rams (14-5) into subsequent Sunday’s NFC championship sport at residence 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 didn’t get a chance to complete the job.
And it’s unsure if that was the ultimate sport 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 purpose of the day.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be simple,” Stafford mentioned. “I imply, we positive let ’em again within the sport with a bunch of errors on offense. Our protection performed excellent. We’ve acquired to wash some stuff up, perform a little higher job within the turnover division.
“This can be a powerful staff, man, that is what we’re all about. Simply completely happy to get a win and carry on shifting.”
Earlier, Stafford discovered Kupp extensive 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’s the center and soul of this offense,” Stafford mentioned. “What he’s in a position to do down in, down out, whether or not it’s within the go sport, run sport — he’s an unbelievable competitor.”
Stafford, who had by no means received a postseason sport 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 sport at residence in opposition to the San Francisco 49ers.
Brady accomplished 30 of 54 passes for 329 yards, one landing and one interception. He was sacked thrice 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.
The Bucs (14-5), who misplaced to the Rams for third time in two seasons, had been attempting to turn out to be the primary staff to repeat as Tremendous Bowl champions because the 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 acquired 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.
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It was 20-3 at halftime, and the Bucs had been lucky their deficit wasn’t greater. 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 overview of the play decided the ball was starting to come back free earlier than the operating 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 sort out 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 a success 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 benefit from Von Miller sacking Brady to a pressure a fumble on the Tampa Bay 25 when middle Brian Allen snap sailed previous Stafford in shotgun formation and recovered by the Bucs.
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.
Rams: Performed with out LT Andrew Whitworth, who was harm in the course of the earlier week’s wild-card spherical victory over Arizona.
Buccaneers: Wirfs’ backup, Josh Wells, injured an ankle within the third quarter however returned. … Backup RB Ronald Jones (ankle) was inactive. … CB Carlton Davis left the sphere favoring his proper shoulder late within the first half however completed the sport. … Punt returner Jaelon Darden left with a attainable concussion within the fourth quarter..
Rams: Host the NFC championship sport in opposition to the NFC West-rival 49ers, who’ve overwhelmed Los Angeles six straight occasions.
Buccaneers: Await phrase on whether or not the 44-year-old Brady will retire or return for a twenty third NFL season.
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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Related Press contributed to this report.)