The Los Angeles Rams eliminated the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night by a score of 30-22 in their first home playoff victory in Los Angeles since 1985. After a New Orleans Saints victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the Rams will face the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday at 12:05 p.m.
The Rams offense set the tone early outscoring the Cowboys 20-7 in the first half, scoring 17 unanswered points in the second quarter. Going into the fourth quarter the Rams led 30-15, Head coach Sean McVay opted to go for it on fourth down at the Dallas one yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Running back C.J Anderson plowed his way forward into the end zone giving the Rams some insurance. Los Angeles now led 30-15 with 7:16 left to go.
McVay said, “when you think about what our team is we always talk about attack and success, never fear and failure and I think that really just personifies kind of our team mindset and mentality we wanted to come out here and play fearless tonight,” when asked about his decision to go for it on fourth down.
The Cowboys drove the ball 75 yards on 12 plays that set up a rushing touchdown for quarterback Dak Prescott. With 2:11 left on the clock and the Rams leading by eight, it would be up to the Dallas defense to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff broke the hearts of Dallas fans as he rushed for 11 yards on a third and seven getting the first down. After Dallas used their final time outs, Anderson rushed for one final first down, securing a Rams victory.
Running backs Todd Gurley and C.J Anderson each rushed for over 100 yards becoming the first duo in franchise history to do so in a playoff game. Anderson powered his way for 123 yards and two touchdowns while Gurley rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Gurley said, “I guess it was a good thing I got hurt you know, CJ was able to come in and do his thing,” when asked what does getting a Christmas present like C.J do for him in the long-haul.
In just three games with the Rams, Anderson has rushed for over 120 yards in each contest and a total of 422 rushing yards to complement his four touchdowns.
The Rams offensive line shined as they did not allow a single sack and created openings for Gurley and Anderson. Veteran tackle and captain Andrew Whitworth received a game ball from coach McVay as they celebrated his first career playoff victory.
Rams defense performed when they needed it most, facing the league’s leading rusher Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott. Elliot was kept in check as he was held to 47 yards rushing and one touchdown. The Rams defense recorded six tackles for a loss and one sack by linebacker Dante Fowler Jr.
McVay became the youngest coach to ever win a playoff game at the age of 32 and led his team to their first playoff win since their 2004 season.
The Rams have their sights set on a Super Bowl LIII appearance but must be able to stop the Saints on the road. The Saints handed the Rams their first loss of the season in week nine by a score of 45-35 in New Orleans.
The Rams vs. Cowboys was the most-watched Saturday primetime telecast ever on Fox, bringing in over 34 million viewers.
According to Nielsen Media Research & Adobe Analytics, Fox digital posted their most streamed NFL playoff game ever with 618,673 average viewers per minute and Fox Deportes reported 127,000 viewers, their most watched divisional game in history.