Matthew Stafford perfectly describes the Rams’ winning drive

Matthew Stafford put in a near perfect performance against the Arizona Cardinals in the wild card round, not needing to do much to help his team to a blowout victory. However, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, it was a different story. The Rams desperately needed him to be at his best late in the game with the score tied and only 42 seconds left on the clock.

For the 43rd time in his career, he led a game-winning drive, his first in the postseason. He hit Cooper Kupp with a 44-yard bomb to set up Matt Gay’s game-winning field goal, making his mark on his new team in the biggest game of his life.

After the Bucs mounted a miraculous 24-point comeback, the Rams clinched the win in the closing seconds, and Stafford summed up the sentiment perfectly. He says it felt like the Rams took the Buccaneers’ soul away after they erased the big deficit.

“I’m glad I didn’t get flagged for sticking it in there,” he said after the game. “All the guys on the sideline were like, ‘Man, you were in a dark place.’ And I said, ‘Sometimes you have to go to those places, you know? Make some plays happen. I was enjoying the moment. In my mind, I live for those kinds of moments. I would have loved to kneel to three points, but it’s so much more fun when you have to make a play like that to win the game and just steal someone’s soul. That’s what it feels like sometimes when they’re sitting there going, ‘Man, we just had this big comeback. And you can reach in there and take it off. This is very funny”.

Kupp said after the game that the play wasn’t even designed for him, but when Stafford conceded the Bucs’ blitz scoreless without a safety above, he threw it to his best receiver and Kupp made a play.

Kupp was supposed to be a decoy and open the cover to open things up underneath, but he hit his man deep and it worked like a charm.

This is how Stafford summed up the play, remembering what Kupp said to him after the play. He seemed surprised that the Bucs didn’t have coverage and let the big play happen.

“He’s always digging every route, whether it’s the lead or some bait, but I don’t know. That’s probably a better question for him,” Stafford said. “He came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Was it zero?’ And I was like, ‘yeah’. I think you probably didn’t feel a top shelf for coverage. He did his route and he was pulling and he didn’t feel any top shelf for cover and he said ‘I better get my eyes back’ and he said he looked up and he said that thing was floating and he got to a good spot. It was fun.”

With 35 seconds remaining and no timeouts, it looked like the game was headed for overtime. But Stafford and Kupp had other ideas.


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