The Rams got some help from the refs and kicker Greg Zuerlein did the rest in a 26-23 OT win over New Orleans in the NFC Championship.
From the infamous Tuck Rule play to the Minneapolis Miracle, there’s a lot of luck involved in being great and the New Orleans Saints were on the wrong side of destiny on Sunday.
Saints fans are going to complain about the blatant pass interference call that wasn’t called against the Rams. It may have cost Drew Brees another trip to the Super Bowl.
Sean Payton said the NFL admitted it erred by not calling pass interference on Rams CB Nickell Robey-Coleman on a critical late-game play: https://t.co/JAzo0c71ga
— USA TODAY NFL (@usatodaynfl) January 21, 2019
To dwell on that would only be disrespectful to the Rams, who after five quarters of playoff intensity football pulled off a franchise-changing win over the Saints. The refs had nothing to do with why the Saints blew a 13-0 first-half lead at home and fell to the Rams in OT 26-23 on a 57-yard field goal in Sunday’s NFC Championship game.
Greg the Leg with a *57-yard field goal* for the win!
and that could've been good from 80!
— SB Nation (@SBNation) January 20, 2019
Saints HC Sean Payton chose to dwell on that one play in the postgame presser as he was surely still feeling the effects of a gut-wrenching loss, but make no mistake, the Rams earned their ticket to the Super Bowl with consistency and opportunistic plays.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 20, 2019
The Rams kept balling and the Saints ran out of gas after a fast start out of the gate. Playoff deficits are hard to come back from, but LA quarterback Jared Goff kept his composure and eventually out-dueled Drew Brees, a future Hall of Famer in his own backyard.
The roar of the crowd and some shaky play by the Rams’ high-potent offense saw Sean McVay’s team fall behind early in a dome stadium where the Saints rarely lose and the fan noise can pierce eardrums.
In the end, the NFL world found out that the LA Rams have arrived. They have the heart of champions and a coach who matched the greatest offensive mind in the game (Sean Payton), chess piece for chess piece.
Sean McVay, who turns 33 on January 24, will be the youngest head coach in Super Bowl history. pic.twitter.com/fpBy2Sv0QR
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 20, 2019
Whether or not they can close the deal on Super Bowl Sunday is another animal, but just getting back to the game for the first time in 17 years is quite an accomplishment for the Rams. Most football experts considered the Rams a year away from reaching football’s ultimate prize.
With all of the hoopla about the Saints two-headed monster backfield of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, it was the Rams backfield that had the biggest impact on the game. Despite an MIA being put out on All-Pro Todd Gurley — who had four carries for 10 yards in the game — his less heralded fullback C.J. Anderson picked up some slack with 16 hard rushes. Anderson played a key role in the Rams comeback, establishing the running game and allowing QB Goff to find a rhythm.
Gurley’s ineffectiveness didn’t temper his sense of humor. After the game, he made light of the referee’s non-call on the PI and posted this to Instagram.
Todd Gurley really posted this on Instagram.
At least he's honest. pic.twitter.com/v0sJxhns9r
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 21, 2019
No one in the stadium was happier than Gurley, that the Rams pulled it out. His season could have ended with him being a non factor in the biggest game of his career. Instead, he gets a chance to redeem himself in the Super Bowl.