Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – January 17, 2022

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – January 17, 2022


(Opening Statement)

“First of all, what a great job by our team. I thought our guys were ready to go. Defense was outstanding from the jump. (OLB) Von (Miller) made his presence felt right away making a couple sacks. I thought (CB) David Long’s (Jr.) touchdown to be able to put us up 21-nothing was how huge for us. Special teams was great. I thought we were able to sustain possession, being able to get both (RB) Sony (Michel) and (RB) Cam (Akers) going in the run game. I thought (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) made his plays early. (QB) Matthew (Stafford) made great decisions. That was exactly what we wanted to be able to do. A lot of respect to the Cardinals. They had a good year, but our guys were ready to go and now we got to get ready for the Bucs on a short week. We’re very pleased with it but now it’s time to move on.”


(On any injury updates)

“You know what, I don’t have those yet right now.”


(On how the offense was able to get settled with a balanced run game and pass game)

“Yeah, I think it was the early down efficiency. I thought our guys got great removal upfront. I thought our backs saw the lanes the right way. I thought Matthew when we did throw the football made great decisions, threw the ball accurately, got a lot of different guys involved. That’s exactly what we want to be able to do and that’s where you can be tough to defend.”


(On WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s long pass)

“Well, he threw a touchdown pass off that same play a couple years ago when he was in New York. So he’s a very talented guy. We got a couple guys that can throw.”


(On if this was the defense’s best performance of the season)

“I think so. I mean, they played really well overall I think. But, what they did in the first half, I think they held them to 40 yards. I think it was one of the best performances in playoff history in the first — you know, being able to hold a really explosive offense like that, to be able to get a defensive touchdown, a couple turnovers. Just so pleased with those guys and got a great challenge going against (Buccaneers QB) Tom Brady next week.


(On what he saw from RB Cam Akers today)

“It’s unbelievable. And, really, I don’t think the stats tell the story for how good he looked, leveling some runs off. He got a couple big time runs called back. Also, thoughts and prayers are with (Cardinals S) Budda Baker. I got tremendous respect for him. I’m hopeful that we’ll get some news that he’s going to be okay. But I thought Cam was outstanding. He did a great job. And he’s only getting more and more confident. And you know what I love the most about him is what a confident, secure individual he is. A play I think he would want back earlier in the game and then he makes a great catch off the double pass in kind of that same spot. That thing hung up like a (Seahawks QB) Russell Wilson moon ball. It was great plays by those guys.


(On what they were able to do defensively in the first half that they weren’t able to do in the first matchup this year at home)

“Well, I think we were able to do some similar things the second time we played them like that. But any time you’re able to apply pressure, kind of eliminate and knock out the run game, get them into some of those known passing situations, I thought we came out with just a great look in our eye. I thought the coaches put together a good game plan but ultimately the players executed. And there was a lot of guys that contributed, and the defense was phenomenal.


(On DL Marquise Copeland’s interception)

“You know what, you’ll have to ask him that. But that was awesome. To be able to get that many guys involved in making those kind of plays, that’s what you love.”


(On if we saw more success in a zone or man defense tonight)

“Yeah, I thought our guys did a good job playing and a complete game and that’s what we wanted to be able to do coming in here. I loved the way we responded from obviously a tough one last week. Our guys are really mentally tough and now we got to be able to stack another block next week against the Bucs.”


(On QB Matthew Stafford getting his first playoff win)

“Yeah, I thought he did a great job leading the way. He’s still the same great player to me, and he always was before this game as well. I think it’s good so you guys don’t have to talk about that anymore so he can get that one out of the way. But really proud of him. Just so lucky to be able to do this with him. He’s our leader. We wouldn’t be here without him.”


(On how the team was able to play under such control)

“I think it was a combination of everything. I thought he did a great job, number one, but we were able to stay in those manageable situations. I thought it was a really good, complementary football game that we played as a team. So many guys got involved and we were able to kind of control the possession.

Defensively was smothering all day and kind of enabled us to be able to operate like that. And Matthew did a great job with the opportunities he had throwing the football. And he really managed the run game well as well.”


(On what kind of challenge Buccaneers QB Tom Brady poses for our team next week)

“You just said it. It’s a great challenge because they’re a complete team. They looked outstanding against Philly the other day. We know what a great football team this is. They’re a complete team. And they do an excellent job in all three phases. And certainly, we’ve got our work cut out for us. A lot has changed since Week 4. We’ve got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time to get up to speed and put together a good plan to try and put our players in the best spots on Sunday at 3:00 o’clock or whenever the game is.”


(On putting together a signature win with a lot of chaos around the team with injuries in the secondary)

“Yeah, I mean, first of all, what a credit to (DB) Eric Weddle and even (DB) Blake Countess being ready to go and be available as well. But Eric is such a special player. I think it’s a credit to the creative thought process from our defensive coaches, (Secondary/Pass Game Coordinator) Coach (Ejiro) Evero, (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Raheem) Morris, being able to say, ‘Hey, this is a guy that if there’s anyone capable of doing what he did…’ Anyways, it was unbelievable what Eric Weddle was able to do. And then come in and contribute. He’s one of those guys that just elevates. We talk about igniters all the time, you make everybody around you better. That’s what Eric Weddle is. I think he’s only going to build on this for next week.”


(On how he copes with the chaos of the week and dealing with injuries in the secondary)

“Yeah, it’s really the people. I think we’ve got the right people. Hopefully we’ll get (S) Taylor Rapp back. Obviously, it’s a big loss losing (S) Jordan Fuller. I thought (ILB) Troy Reeder did an excellent job being able to have the dot (mic) today with great communication. Eric’s a special guy. I’m not in the least bit surprised but you’re certainly grateful that he was available and willing to do what he’s doing.”


(On playing on Martin Luther King Day today)

“Yeah, I think it’s special to be able to be the first team to be able to play on this special day with such a special man that had such an impact on the way that we operate moving forward. It’s amazing to be able to kind of have a tribute to him and I thought our guys did a great job recognizing him with the way they played today and, really, as a connected team. That’s the most important thing. I think one of the things that great leaders do like Dr. King, they make all the situations they’re a part of and they bring people together and that’s what I think our team demonstrated today.”