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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Rams versus Buccaneers recap

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) hauls in a 40-yard pass over Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) late in the game to set up a game-winning field goal in the NFC Divisional Playoff at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022. Photo credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS

The Los Angeles Rams needed the final 42 seconds on Sunday to avoid a historic playoff collapse and to knock off the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 30-27 win.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, fresh off of his first career playoff win, connected twice with his All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp on the game’s final drive, with a 40-yard reception setting up Matt Gay’s 30-yard game-winning field goal.

In the first quarter, the Rams’ jumped out to an early 10-0 lead. Stafford threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Blanton with 3:28 remaining. The lead only grew from there.

Stafford finished the game going 28 for 38 for 355 yards, two touchdowns, with no turnovers. The Stafford-Cupp duo linked up for a 70-yard touchdown one minute into the second quarter to put the Rams ahead 17-3.

The Ram’s efficient offense and aggressive pass-rush on defense were in sync, a similar recipe to the one used in a previous matchup between the two teams in week three, a 34-24 Rams’ win.

Despite being down 20-3 at halftime, the Buccaneers caught a break at end of the first half when Rams’ running back Cam Akers fumbled on the goal line spoiling a chance for the Rams’ to go up by another score.

The Rams lead would extend to 27-3 early in the second half when Stafford reached over the goal line on a quarterback sneak from the one-yard line.

That’s when seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady and the Buccaneers started to chip away at the lead with some help from the Rams’ uncharacteristic mistakes.

There was 3:02 remaining in the third quarter, the Buccaneers recovered a Kupp fumble on the Rams 30-yard line. The second of the Rams’ four fumbles in the game.

The turnover led to the Buccaneers’ first touchdown on a one-yard rush from running-back Leonard Fournette to make it a 27-13 game.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Rams and Buccaneers traded turnovers in a crazy sequence of events.

Rams linebacker Von Miller stripped sacked Brady with 14:41 remaining in the game on the Buccaneers 25 yard line. One play later, the Rams gave the ball right back when an errant snap sailed over Stafford’s head.

The Buccaneers next score came with less than five minutes left in the game, when Brady found Mike Evans in one-on-one coverage for a 55-yard touchdown to make it a one-score game, 27-20.

On the ensuing drive, the Rams ran the ball to run the clock out. Two plays later, Akers’ fumbled for the second time on the Rams’ own 30 yard line with 2:32 remaining.

Brady led the Buccaneers on a game-tying drive capped off by another Fournette touchdown leaving the Rams’ 42 seconds to play with.

That’s all Stafford and would need as he connected with Kupp twice on the final drive to set the rams up for a game-winning field goal as the final score was 30-27.

The Rams advance to the NFC championship game next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. against the San Francisco 49ers.



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About the Contributor
Michael Cody Stephenson, Staff Writer
Michael Cody Stephenson is a staff writer for Talon Marks covering sports, Arts & Entertainment, Life, and opinion. Michael enjoys traveling, attending sporting events, listening to podcasts, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. He hopes to transfer to a four-year university in the Fall and one day pursue a career in the sports industry.
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Rams versus Buccaneers recap