Rams QB Matthew Stafford – Media Availability – September 19, 2021
RAMS QUARTERBACK MATTHEW STAFFORD
It was kind of an up-and-down-rollercoaster type of game. How would you take us through it catalytic moment after catalytic moment?
“We were just, we were explosive today on offense. We just weren’t as efficient as I think we can be and want to be. It starts with me. There were some opportunities to hit some guys. (I) didn’t hit them. We didn’t connect on a few plays that I think would have changed the game a little bit, just kind of kept the momentum going for us. It was an up-and-down game, like you said. Really all phases had great plays and plays I know they want back, but we stuck together against a team that’s a really talented football team, on the road, in a hostile environment and got a win, which is great, especially early in the season. Everybody’s out there trying to work the kinks out, get to playing as good of football as they can, and winning those along the way is a positive.”
What has enabled you and Cooper Kupp to be on the same page so often?
“I think he’s a really talented player. He understands the game really well. I think it’s probably just more of a testament to him than anything. He’s one of those guys that’s about as overlooked as anybody in the league. He’s extremely talented, does everything that we ask him to do, whether it’s blocking for his other guys on the team, whether it be receivers or running backs, running down the field making big plays, catching the ball behind the line of scrimmage and going for big plays. He’s a really talented player, and I’m just happy that I get to work with him.”
Obviously, you came back in and finished the game after you hit your hand. How is your hand?
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
How big was Sony Michel?
“It was great. There’s no flinch in that guy. He’s, obviously, new to our team. He’s done nothing but work hard and try to soak up this offense has best he can. He’s a guy that’s played in a lot of big football games. He understands what it’s all about. He understands how to be a pro, and that kind of stuff is really valuable. His ability to just kind of step in and we didn’t miss a beat. It was like, ‘hey, Sony’s in the game. Let’s go.’ And that was big for us today.”
You’ve had a lot of experience bringing teams back in these kinds of situations. This was your first opportunity with the Rams. Could you sense in the fourth quarter when the game was tied that your teammates could feel that?
“I don’t know if they could or not. I was just as calm as I could be. There were plays in the game where, shoot, I wish I would have had this, I wish I would have thrown that ball there. At that point in the game, it’s doing whatever it takes to win the game. And last time I played here – two-minute drive to win the game, field goal to win it. So, I felt like, why not go do it again? It was great to go ahead and get that touchdown and put us ahead, and then, obviously, the defense came out and made two great stops there at the end of the game.”
What were you seeing on that interception?
“Just, there was a lot of space in there, to be honest with you. I don’t know if it got tipped or if I was sailing it. I think I kind of short armed it, to be honest with you. It felt like I was going to hit maybe a helmet or a pad or something. I wish I just pulled it down a hair, to be honest with you, because Cooper (Kupp) is going to run for a long ways if I get it to him.”
How about on the third down pass to Cooper Kupp? It was a third-and-one, and you kind of side armed to him.
“Yeah, last guy I thought I was going to throw it to on that play, to be honest with you. They did a great job of covering it. We were trying to get Van (Jefferson) or ‘Woody’ (Robert Woods) on the front side of that play out and open, and they covered it. And our guys up front fought just hard enough to give me a little bit of time, and I was able to find Cooper. He’s really just an extra, to be honest with you, on that play. I was able to find him, and then he cut back. Scared the hell out of me. I thought he didn’t know where the sticks were. He knew and got the first, but it was a good one.”
There were a couple of maybe uncharacteristic drops today, too. One of them was from Robert Woods, and you went right back to him on the next play. What does that mean for you to do that?
“Listen, we’re all going to have plays we want back in the game. To be honest with you, there were a few that I thought Robert (Woods) bailed me out on in the game, too. I hit him on an in-cut earlier in the game that he went down and dug out, which was a great play. There’s going to be times where that’s going to happen. He’s a pro. I trust him just as much as anybody else on this team. As I do all those receivers, and I’m just going to keep throwing the ball where I think it needs to go. I definitely wasn’t at my best today. There were throws that I wanted back, whether it was a completion but man, if I hit him in his facemask, maybe he’s still running. So, there’s plenty of stuff for us to clean up, and I can do my part to be better, too.”
What about the third-and-six to Van Jefferson? It was a low throw and maybe bounced off his arms and chest a little bit.
“Yeah, that’s another one I wish I just threw right at his chin. It was a little bit of a safe throw, too. Just let him go down there and catch it, but I’ve got no problem. I’m going to throw it to those guys every single time. I trust them, and it’s really on me to get them better passes so they can just do their job easier.”
With the season’s end goal in mind, is it important to be able to go on the road and grind out a win like this?
“Yeah, they’re not all going to be pretty. We want them to be. That’s what we practice for. We practice to go out there and try to execute every single play and have it be a big play and be efficient. It’s not the case. That’s a good team. That’s a really good defense we were going against. I was proud of our guys to find a way to win, because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. You get a win, you go coach off that tape, we learn, we try to be better, but it’s nice to be 2-0 doing that rather than 1-1 or 0-2.”