Connect with us
LA Dodgers

L.A. Rams

Rams Claim NFC West Championship

“Wild Card” Playoff Home Game vs. Cardinals, Monday, MLK, Jr. Memorial Holiday

(East Los Angeles, CA) January 12, 2022 [From The Editor’s Desk]: And to overtime, the Rams and their divisional opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, went. Both teams were forced to play the extra, but required and significant 5th period of NFL football to determine the winner of this finale to the 2021-2022 season. They battled each other just like fierce gladiators to a (24-24) tie in regulation——the 49ers hoping to extend their season into the playoffs, while the Rams were seeking to secure the #2 seed in their playoff journey.

(Photo-Graphic Courtesy Los Angeles Rams)

The announced distribution of tickets for “America’s Game of the Week” was set at 74,447, and if you asked all fans, whether they were present, watching on TV or “Live-Streaming” devices, or listening on Radio, if they were witnesses to a “scary roller-coaster” ride or a “heavyweight title bout,” of a game, they certainly would have claimed that it was, and yes again, that it met the price of admission in today’s sports world.

In going back to the size of the SoFi Stadium crowd, it has to be said that a good calculation of the 49ers crowd could easily have been measured at an even one-third, to nearly one-half depending on who you asked for their estimate. Red was everywhere in the Stadium, from T-shirts, baseball caps, jerseys, memorabilia, the ever-growing presence of “wild and crazy” regalia, incredibly face-painted fans, and the creative to generic game-day outfits, suitable for TV camera “drop-ins” or “pick-ups” that are fed to them by producers.

And, not to forget, the important game-theme on this day was “Inspire Change.” In a most unique and very befitting manner, the Rams paid a reflective, but extremely well-coordinated half-time tribute to Kenny Washington and his powerful legacy as the first African-American player to be signed by the team. As shown in the picture below, through the NFL and the Rams “Inspire Change” platform, we must heed the call as the phrase encourages us all…”The Time Is Now, Bring The World Together!” 

At this time, let’s get you the game perspective as I witnessed it from the incredible SoFi press box located in the high upper southwest end of the stadium’s 6th level. As this was our inaugural Rams game in covering it as credentialed media, it was an amazing experience for me, as well as for my digital photographer and videographer, Frankli Robles, who was credentialed for a pass to be on the Field Level #1, to shoot digital pictures and video before, and after the game. He also took eye-catching shots from the assigned photographers 6th level during the game. Please take time to view the great Photo Gallery that is included in our story.

(Photo Credit): Rico Cabrera, Sr./East LA Sports Scene

(Photo Gallery): Frankli Robles, East LA Sports Scene; (Photos From Press Box): Rico Cabrera, Sr., East LA Sports Scene

(Game Summary): {1st Qtr}: Rams started the game from their 13 yard line and drove 62 yards mixed with positive runs by Sony Michel and catches by Odell Beckham, Jr. and Cooper Kupp. The drive ended shorter than expected and Matt Gay was called on for a 43 yard field goal for the first points of the game. The score came at the (8:53) mark of the quarter, (3-0) Rams.

The 49ers, on their 1st possession, started from their own 8 yard line, resulting from a penalty on the receiving team. Their drive stalled and they punted. The Rams took over on their 39 yard  line.

{2nd Qtr}: The Rams showed pass and were successful with a 30 yard catch by #10/Cooper Kupp, moving it down to the 49ers 37 yard line. Stafford found #89/Tyler Higbee open with a great play call as he delivered a perfectly thrown, old school. but quick “jump pass” over the rushing defenders, from the 2 yard line for the score. Gay kicked the PAT, for a (10-0) lead at the (10:26 ) mark. Then, with (6:44) left in the half, Stafford connected with Higbee again on a 15 yard TD pass. This score came on a three play drive, upping the score to (17-0). A key play was a completion to #12/Van Jefferson followed by a personal foul penalty against the 49ers, (half the distance to the goal), which gave the Rams this easy scoring opportunity.  

Meanwhile, the Niners were having their troubles offensively as the Rams front four were hurrying #10/Jimmy Garoppolo, causing their drives to stall. A fumble caused by the Rams #94/A’Shawn Robinson, a tackle for loss by #91/Greg Gaines, an interception by #25/Taylor Rapp, and a very stiff overall Rams defense all combined to stifle the 49er offense for nearly the entire half. 

The Rams, after Trapp’s interception at the Niner’s 21 yard line, had another possession at the (3:43) mark but couldn’t muster any first downs and #6/Johnny Hekker came on to punt a deep 51 yarder, down to the 49ers 15 yard line.

San Francisco, with just (0:38) seconds left to play, started at their own 15 yard line, drove down inside Rams territory through the air, which included a “hook and lateral” play that produced a big first down giving them some late period momentum. After a quick 26 yard completion to WR/Brandon Aiyuk, they then finally got onto the scoreboard with just (00:03) seconds left, when #9, Robbie Gould buried a 35 yard field goal. 

[Halftime Score]: Rams 17   49ers  3

{3rd Quarter}: San Francisco scored on a 16 yd run by #19/Deebo Samuel with the PAT added on. This came at at the (10:32) mark. The drive took 7 plays and took (4:45) minutes off the clock.  Score was now Rams 17, Niners 10. The Rams were a “3 & out” and punted. The Niners took possession on their 26 yard line and marched down the field to the Rams 24, when Head Coach, Kyle Shanahan pulled one of his “flea-flicker” plays out of his back-pocket and asked Deebo Samuel to throw a pass downfield to a wide-open Jauan Jennings for a 24 yard TD pass. After the PAT was good, the score was now tied at (17-17). There was (1:54) left in the period. The subsequent Rams possession resulted in an interception by E. Moseley. The Rams did not score in this quarter.

{4th Quarter}: To start the quarter, the 49ers punted to the Rams 18 yard line. After two possessions, mixed with incomplete passes and a sack, the Rams gave the ball back. Then the 49ers stalled and returned the favor. But with (2:34) remaining, Stafford found Kupp in the deep, upper left corner of the end zone for a TD. The PAT was good for a (24-17) lead.

The 49ers took the kick-off at their own 25 yard line. Right before the (2:00) minute warning, Von Miller sacked Garoppolo at the 17 yard line, bringing up a punting situation. The Rams fielded the punt and started the line of scrimmage at their own 40 yard line. They went through a “3 & out” and punted back to the 49ers. With (1:37 ) left on the clock, Garoppolo then started to pick his targets for big gains, and with (00:31) seconds left, found Jennings alone at the 5 yard line and he stepped in untouched to the end zone for the TD. Gould kicked the PAT tying score at (24-24). With just (00:26) seconds, left, the Rams started at their 25 yard line but ended the game in regulation with a sack of Stafford.

{10 Minute Over-Time Period}: The 49ers won the coin-toss and elected to receive. Garoppolo managed to guide his team downfield with a mixture of runs and passes, good enough to reach the Rams 6 yard line where it all bogged down, but only after they chewed (7:15) off the clock. Gould was called on once again for a field goal attempt, and it was good from 24 yards out. This came at the (2:48) mark. The score was now 49ers (27), Rams (24).

Upon resumption of play, Stafford dropped back to pass and under pressure threw a badly-aimed pass well-behind his intended receiver, Odell Beckham, Jr. and it was intercepted by cornerback, A. Thomas ending the game.

 (FINAL SCORE IN OVERTIME): San Francisco  (27)   Los Angeles (24)        (Attendance/Tickets Distributed)74,447

With heavy melancholic emotions, the Rams, on the one hand, after suffering a bitter defeat, and then dropping from the #2 seed to the #4 playoff seed, were still declared and crowned the NFC West’s Champions. In addition, there is the huge “up-side” which will be another home game for their fans at SoFi Stadium, and a chance to move a game closer to their “Eyes on the Prize” goal of going to the Super Bowl.

(Of Major Game Significance)The Rams, young and multi-talented wide receiver, #10/Cooper Kupp, takes the NFL’s coveted “Triple Crown” receivers title, with a tremendous regular season finale game. He’s earned another opportunity in the upcoming Cardinals “Wild Card” playoff game to add even more astounding statistical numbers to his ever-growing Rams portfolio.

Here is a resumé of his record-setting 2021 season. He finished as the NFL’s leader in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16), becoming the first player since Steve Smith in 2005 to capture the league’s receiving “triple crown” and fourth-ever in league history, joining Smith, Sterling Sharpe (1992) and Jerry Rice (1990).

(Next Up): Arizona Cardinals, (11-6), #5 seed, in NFC “Wild Card” Playoff Game, Monday, January 17th, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s. Memorial Holiday. Kick-off is set for 5:15 PM. | PST. Media Coverage: TV: ESPN; Radio: ESPNLA, 710 AM; 92.1 JACK FM; Tu Liga Radio, KFWB 980; & National Radio: Westwood One

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

In-Studio Shows

More in L.A. Rams