Head Coach Sean McVay – Postgame Press Conference – January 9, 2021

(Opening statement…)
“The thought process going into the game was our starting quarterback had thumb surgery. He did everything in his power to get himself ready. We felt like him being ready, even in a limited capacity behind John [Wolford] was going to be the best option. He handled himself incredibly well, showed great leadership during throughout the course of the week. We felt like John [Wolford] was really getting ready to get into a rhythm, and then Jared stepped in and handled things incredibly well. You could see that he just battled. But I was really pleased with his effort. This is a guy you’re talking about who just had thumb surgery a couple of weeks ago so it’s like déjà vu but I feel just a little bit happier right now. A real credit to him. I thought overall the defense showed up in a big way, had some big time special teams plays. Offensively, I love the way we were able to run the ball. It was great to get Andrew Whitworth and [Cooper] Kupp back out on the field. Cam Akers is a stud. We’re excited about really competing to see who we play next and see if we can keep this thing rolling. We’ll enjoy this. A lot of respect for the Seahawks too. Coach Carroll, I have tremendous respect for the consistency at which they operate. A lot of their players, they’re a tough team. It’s why they’re the reigning division champs. We’re excited about our opportunity to move on to the divisional round.”

(On John Wolford’s status…)
“He must be good because he was in the locker room smiling, looking good. I think it was really just a stinger. But we’re hopeful. He definitely seemed good. He was just in the locker room so nothing too serious. We wanted to be as cautious as we could with something like that when you injure your neck. It looks like it’s trending in the positive direction. I’ll have further updates for you tomorrow or the following day, whenever we meet again.”

(On the hit that took John Wolford out of the game…)
“I didn’t see it, I was on the far side. What ends up happening is when he’s out there as a runner and he’s diving forward, you lose that protection that quarterbacks typically have. But I didn’t see it, I’d have to go back and look at the film to be able to give you a better answer.”

(On an update on Aaron Donald…)
“No update there. I will have more information for you later on.”

(On Jared Goff’s performance…)
“I think it says a lot about him. I think it says a lot about his ability to prepare himself mentally to be ready to go. [Offensive Coordinator] Kevin O’Connell and [Assistant Quarterbacks Coach] Liam Coen getting him ready. I thought he did a nice job handling things and really I thought our guys made some plays. You look at the down the field isolation where we had [Cooper] Kupp versus Jamal Adams and Cooper went up and got that ball for a big 44-yard gain. And then really as the game progressed, I thought Jared settled in. We were able to kind of identify where are the things that you feel good about play wise for us to activate because for him to be able to even throw the football is pretty impressive. There were a couple of limitations as you guys saw which was what led to the decision to go with John [Wolford]. I was really pleased with Jared and I think it’s a real credit to him being able to handle this week the right way and have himself mentally ready to go and there you go, he ends up playing the majority of the game for us.”

(On if John Wolford is okay, who would start the next game…)
“We’re working through all this stuff. Jared did a great job today. He’s our quarterback. A lot of that is going to be predicated on how does Jared’s thumb check out, how does he feel, what are those limitations moving forward. If Jared continues to progress, you feel good about that, but as you guys saw, it’s a shame for John to have gotten hurt. I’m really happy, I’m pleased with what Jared did today, but John was getting into a rhythm. I thought he was seeing the field really well. I’m really mad at myself for calling that stupid play that left him susceptible to getting injured.”

(On what it does for him as a play caller to have a defense that can shut down opposing offenses…)
“It’s unbelievable. It changes the way you feel like you have to call a game to win games. That’s my role as a head coach. It’s different than trying to just chunk up stats. It’s about winning and losing. It definitely enables you. Make no mistake about it, we’re going out to compete, we expect to score points. I’ll never use that as an excuse for why we haven’t been more productive offensively. But at the end of the day, you do play games to win them and when you get a feel for the flow of the game and the way our defense has played, I”ve been a tick more conservative than you normally would be in year’s past that you guys have seen. But it is about winning. That’s what we care about, that’s what our players care about and that’s why I love those guys so much.”

(On when he made the decision on the quarterbacks…)
“I made it last week. I think it’s a real credit to our players. I told the team early in the week. I thought it was the right decision just based on Jared coming back from an injury. He had thumb surgery and there were some limitations with when he was even going to be able to take a snap. As soon as we started our preparation this week, I announced it to the team and I think it’s pretty good that it stayed in house. It’s a real credit to the kind of guys that we have when there was a lot of people that knew about it and you guys were still wondering what the hell was going on.”

(On if he’s ever had to fight through this many injuries to win a big game before…)
“Right now I can’t really remember, especially losing so many key players. That was a tough, physical game. That’s a tough, physical football team we played. I thought we matched their intensity. I thought our guys did a great job. They were ready to go. Like I said, we have so much respect, but we did come up here expecting to get this thing done and now we move on to the next round.”

(On how big it was to have a healthy Cam Akers…)
“He was huge. I thought Jared [Goff’s] best play of the day was on the third down where he stepped up, slide in the pocket and found Cam for the explosive. You see what a great athlete Cam is. He’s tough. I thought he was really getting into a rhythm early on in the game. It was big. We were able to control the time of possession, able to just eat up yards a little bit at a time. He’s a special player, he’s really tough. I love the way Malcolm Brown came in and churned out some tough yards as well.”

(On having a tough defense in the playoffs and being able to run the ball when you need to…)
“I think so. I don’t know if that’s what it’s about in the postseason, but I think that’s been the Rams formula for success this year. I think you have to be flexible year in and year out, play to the strengths of your team. We have a really tough, physical football team. I’ve been really pleased with the way the defense has played and when we’re able to run the football, things do come up in those actions where I thought Jared did a great job of maximizing those opportunities, especially later on into the fourth quarter. That was a winning formula for us today and then we’ll figure out who we’ll play next and try to put it together in all three phases.”

(On how the defense was able to do so well against Russell Wilson…)
“I think it’s consistency. We’ve talked about it week in and week out, when you look at some of the plays Russell made, you have to tip your cap to him and say what an ability to extend plays, what a great job being able to change the platform and make some incredible throws. Our defense has been like that all year. Russell is a great player but we have a great defense and I think we play as 11 as one. I think our coaches do an excellent job. [Defensive Coordinator] Brandon [Staley] and his staff, they’ve done such a good job of putting together plans week in and week out to put our players in the right spots. The players are the ones who make it come to life. I love this group and I think you can see as the season has gone on, they love to be able to have that pressure of the expectations of living up to what they’ve done [by] being the top unit in the league. I thought they answered the bell in a big way today. Darious Williams’ play like I mentioned, Jalen [Ramsey] continues to show why he’s so special, John Johnson, obviously Aaron [Donald] is Aaron and Leonard Floyd, so many guys I could name. I think the depth of the unit as well is where the strength is. How exciting is it to see Nick Scott come over the top and bat a ball down on a play intended for [Tyler] Lockett down the field where Troy Hill is in tight coverage. I’m excited.”

(On the status of Blake Bortles…)
“We just went with two quarterbacks. The good news is that Blake has played in a lot of significant games. If Jared’s thumb was not able to respond the way that it did this week, he would’ve been our number two. But it’s been great having Blake around. His presence, his experience and really just being around him, he’s one of those guys that’s hard not to like. That was just a coach’s decision just having two quarterbacks up.”