Rams QB Matthew Stafford – Media Availability – January 23, 2022

Rams QB Matthew Stafford – Media Availability – January 23, 2022


(On the final possession)

“Just try to get it into a good spot. We were going into the wind there a little bit. You could feel it on the field goal previous that we tried. Got beat up by the wind like crazy. Just trying to give ourselves a chance at it. The first down play, I don’t know. I was thinking I was going to run it. That was a poor idea. Then Cooper [Kupp] did a great job on the second [catch] of winning. Fought through some contact at the top of his route and did a great job of getting out of bounds. Then, we just kind of jumped the ball, which I thought was great. Sean [McVay] was in my ear telling me, ‘Hey, let’s go fast. Let’s not let them set their pressure, whatever it is.’ They decided to bring the house and go to zero [coverage]. The route that Cooper is running there is – we describe it a lot of times in our meetings is a ‘Love of the Game’ route. You’re really never getting the ball. You’re just clearing out some area, working for some other routes. They decided to bring everybody and that’s really the best option at that point. I felt it after the snap, kind of recognized it was going to be an all-out pressure and was able to put it to a good spot. Coop made a great catch. Then we just clocked it with enough time and Matt [Gay] came in and did his thing, which is awesome.”


(On what succeeding on final drive means to him personally)

“It means a lot. That’s a lot of hard work for a lot of years going into a short amount of time. A lot of hard work this year, too, with some great teammates. That’s the thing I’ve loved and I’ve really appreciated [about] being a part of this team is how many guys are pulling the rope in the right direction. Doing everything they can to be prepared for those moments. Like I said, [wide receiver Cooper Kupp] is the last guy I would have thought was going to get that ball before the ball was snapped. He was ready, he was running and made a great play. I don’t know. [I’m] taking it all in, loving every minute of it. Working my tail off, trying to enjoy every situation that we are in, every opportunity that we earn. I’m loving going to battle with these guys. Our defense is playing unbelievable. We put them in some tough spots tonight. Four fumbles is inexcusable. We can’t do it and we will be better for it.”


(On the resiliency of team)

“I think we are a resilient group. We’re a confident group. We knew some plays needed to be made, there’s no question about that. But I love those situations. I hate the way we got to it tonight. There’s some plays we all wish we had back that could have ended that game with probably me taking a knee and we need to get to that point. But at the same time, finding a way to win a football game is what it’s all about. We’ve got a group of guys in that locker room that all believe in each other and I believe in those guys. It was a whole lot of fun. [My] heart was racing. But at the same time, it was just [about] going out there and executing, having fun, and enjoying the moment. Glad we got it done.”


(On difficulty of facing zero-coverage on final completion)

“It’s one of those things. This one, we were going so fast, it happened on the fly. A lot of times, in those situations, you can kind of feel the demeanor of the defense. Maybe get to a play – that’s one where we were rolling the dice to go fast and our guys up front did an unbelievable job. Really all night, [kept] me clean. Battling against a really good front. Just kind of recognized that after I got the ball in my hands, the free safety I felt like was hunting up, lulling across over there to [tight end Tyler] Higbee. I just felt like I was getting no post-player and was able to stand in there and found Cooper [Kupp] on his angle. He did a great job with just putting his head down and digging. To me, that was, ‘Hey, I’m heading on this angle.’ I’m sure he wasn’t thinking that he was getting the rock before the play, either. But, I just tried to put it on a good spot, and he ran under it and made a great play. Special teams came out and executed the way they’ve done so many times this year in big time moments for us. It was huge.”


(On WR Cooper Kupp’s route on the final completion)

“He is always digging on every route, whether he is the primary or some bait. But, I don’t know, that is probably a better question for him. He came up to me afterwards and he said, ‘Was that (cover) zero?’ I said, ‘yeah.’ I think he probably felt no top-shelf to the coverage. He ran his route, was hauling, and felt no top-shelf to the coverage and was like, ‘I better get my eyes back.’ He looked up and he said that thing was floating, and he got to a good spot. It was fun.”


(On the ‘love of the game’ route)

“Oh, I’ve heard of it. It’s part of football sometimes, where you’re clearing out a zone or clearing out an area for another guy that’s coming underneath that. It was one of those. You’ve got to be ready for it.”


(On his exchange with Buccaneers DT Ndamukong Suh in first half)

“I was just kind of in the moment. He landed on me, and I just tried to get him off of me as fast as I could. He was talking, but I didn’t think too much of it, to be honest with you. I was on to the next play. But, it wasn’t a big deal.”


(On matching up with San Francisco 49ers in NFC Championship game)

“It’s a big challenge. They’re a team that’s playing really good football at the moment – physical, tough, finding ways to win. [Their] defense is playing outstanding, their offense is playing timely, and, obviously, their special teams made some big plays [yesterday]. It’s going to be a big challenge for us. Hopefully, it’s one of those games where we come out and it’s heavy blue and yellow, and we have a nice live, loud crowd that makes it tough on them. So, we will see. I’m excited about the opportunity. To be honest with you, before the game, I didn’t care if we were going to Green Bay or if they were coming to us. I just wanted the opportunity to continue to play with this group of guys. Now that we have that, I’m excited.”


(On the emotion during the final spike to stop clock before game-winning field goal)

“I don’t know what I said, to be honest with you. I’m glad they didn’t flag me for spiking it a little bit there. All the guys on the sideline were like, ‘Man, you were in a dark place.’ I said, ‘Sometimes, you just have to go to those places and make some plays happen.’ I was enjoying the moment. In my mind, I live for those kind of moments. I would have loved to have been taking a knee up three scores, but it’s a whole lot more fun when you’ve got to make a play like that to win the game and just steal somebody’s soul. That’s what it feels like sometimes, where they are just sitting there going, ‘Man, we just had this great comeback,’ and you get to reach in there and take it from them. That’s a whole lot of fun.”