Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – January 23, 2022

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – January 23, 2022


(Opening statement)

“What an interesting game, what an amazing sign of resilience – the team picking each other up, a lot of things didn’t go our way in the second half, but guys just kept battling and found a way. There’s no style points in the playoffs, you either go home or you advance and I’m so proud of this group for them to come out to a lead and do what they did. I thought the defense did a great job on a lot of those sudden change situations – having those four turnovers in the second half is something we absolutely have to clean up, but my favorite part is, guys just stayed together. Nobody flinched, nobody blinked, they ended up tying the game up and then what can you say about – take a sack on the first down, hit Cooper [Kupp] for a big play on the second play of the drive and then really even though we got the clock stopped, we thought there was a chance we’d get a pressure right there, and for Matthew [Stafford] to kind of throw off drift, hit Cooper down the pipe and then be able to get it clocked, and then Matt [Gay] to be able to respond and knock it through as time expired – I mean it’s just the epitome of a team game. Really excited to be able to get back to SoFi in front of our fans, host the NFC Championship against what we know is a great opponent in the San Francisco 49ers. Tremendous respect for the Bucs – reigning world champs, they gave us everything and more, but hats off to them. Really excited for our players, they did a great job and that’s why you play four quarters and try to finish that game out, but that was something else, that was something else.”


(On his thoughts on the big play to WR Cooper Kupp to put the team in field goal range)

“It was incredible, you know they ended up getting the pressure off they kind of hit it from depth, Matthew recognized it, Cooper was on kind of a vertical route right down the pipe and he put great trajectory on it, Cooper was able to dig out and run underneath it, and the rest is history. It felt like that ball hung up for about 12 seconds. Those guys did a great job, I thought Matthew Stafford was unbelievable throughout the whole day, just his poise, his command, his demeanor, his decision making – we put a lot on him, they present a lot of different things – really not exclusive to the pass downs, but on early downs as well. Matthew got us in and out of a lot of the right stuff. What can you say about Cooper’s response? [I] still have tremendous faith and confidence in Cam Akers, he’s going to be a great player – there will be a couple plays that he wants back, then we had a little miscommunication on the one snap after we end up getting the turnover in their territory. Those are things that [we] can’t have, but we were able to overcome it and I’m excited for those guys.”


(On his thoughts on the second half comeback by the Buccaneers)

“Yeah I thought ‘this has got to be a dream,’ but our guys just kept battling. The defense, their response after a lot of the bad situations that the offense put our guys in, they just kept responding. Then they found a way and end up tying it up, and then the offense responds. The special teams comes back after an uncharacteristic missed field goal where we had a chance to go up 17 points. You know, that’s why you play four quarters, it’s a team game, I love this team, I love the way they stay connected and stay together. Certainly, those are things we have to clean up as you move forward into the NFC Championship but we’ll take it – it’s a lot easier to clean up after you find a way to get it done.”


(On the team’s mindset after the Buccaneers came back to tie the game)

“Well, I think it’s the confidence in themselves. We always talk about trust yourself, trust your teammates, and that’s what these guys do. They buy into it. They know that the preparation can be alignment with having a quieted mind, all the things that go on, let’s be totally and completely present, what can we control? It’s a 27-27 game, if we find a way to get into field goal range, we have all the confidence in the world in Matt Gay. Matthew and the rest of the offensive guys did an outstanding job putting our kicking unit in position and 30-27.”


(On what he like most about his defense)

“I just like the way that they responded. I though they put great pressure on them all day and I thought in the some of the sudden change situations that they were put in – to hold them to field goals a handful of times. Some of the turnovers, I thought the turnover by Nick Scott was a huge play. When you really look at it, we missed opportunities where the defense did a great job getting the offense short fields and we come away with no points. Those are tough things, but again, I’m really just proud of this group, I love the resilience. You talk about, what’s one thing that all successful people have – there’s a mental toughness, there’s a resilience that accompanies that, they navigate through the tough times and sometimes that occurs within the framework of a game and that’s what we saw today.”


(On QB Matthew Stafford’s performance today)

“I’ll tell you what, he certainly delivered in a big win today. That’s why you go get him. [I] always had a lot of confidence in Matthew. That never wavered. It never wavered, the confidence he had in himself, the teammates, the coaches. He had a look in his eye – what an awesome thing to see him clock that, and he basically knew Matt was going to come in and finish this thing off, but Matthew did a great job, he’s our leader, love him – what a great competitor, what an outstanding job he did on a huge stage today against the reigning world champs.”


(On what he said to Matthew Stafford after the 44-yard completion to set up the game-winning field goal

“Yeah if I said it, I’d get fined, it was exciting though. When you’re going through those king of things, the range of excitement and emotions and then you’re saying well let’s finish his off. We got ourselves in position, but we got to go finish it – good snap, good hold, kick goes in and then there was a lot of excitement. You know, you really enjoy this and then we have to get ready for a team that we know has been a really tough matchup for us. They’ve done an outstanding job, and it’s going to be a great game.”


(On what made him stick with RB Cam Akers’ late in the game)

“Yeah I think it’s really the confidence in Cam [Akers] but we do have confidence in Sony [Michel], it was tough to really be able to get anything in the run game going, they did a nice job. [We] always talk about that, to be able to have that great ball security, especially when you’re in those four-minute situations where you’re really just trying to run the clock out. Still, we needed to compete and wanted to be able to do that, he was making a tough run, as he was pulling through it, it got a little away from him, and this defense does an outstanding job attacking at the football – great learning [opportunity], and I know he’ll learn and he’ll respond the right way from it.”


(On the opportunity to host the NFC Championship Game)

“I think it’s great, I can’t wait to see the fans show up in Mr. Kroenke’s house that he built – to be able to do this in the first year that fans are here, it’s going to be a special opportunity to go put together a good performance, a great week of preparation and then go watch our guys shine against a great opponent next week.”


(On if there was an injury affecting Matt Gay on his missed field goal)

“No, I mean there were a few factors depending on which way you were kicking it that made it a little bit more difficult but that’s news to me.”


(On K Matt Gay’s performance and how he responded)

“Pretty awesome, the last two times he’s been back here, he ends up hitting game winners and we end up winning by three. He’s been great, he’s been clutch, I’m so glad for him that he got the opportunity to come back from an uncharacteristic miss. Those are things that inevitably occur. How do we respond? He did a great job in addition to the other 10 guys around him so I’m really happy for Matt.”


(On if there was any point in time when he was comfortable with the lead)

“Can I say yes? No. It got to 27-27. I think the thing is, there was a lot of uncharacteristic errors that occurred that allowed them to be able to get back into the game. That being said, they forced some of those, they did a good job being able to get points on the board. They’re a great team, got tremendous respect for them. I just love the way that we found a way at the end. We know we’ve got to minimize those things, but I think we all know it’s much easier to be able to clean those things up when you find a way to get it done, that’s why you just continue to play each snap, be totally and completely present, and you don’t eliminate yourself – a lot of things that we can look at, but I’m just excited to continue to be able to work.”