The Los Angeles Rams are on their way to the Super Bowl after beating their division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, 20-17, in a hard-hitting NFC championship game Sunday.
The Rams, who overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, were driven by quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Cooper Kupp, who joined two touchdowns in the game.
“You can not write this story better,” Stafford said.
With the win, the Rams return to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2018 season. The Rams, who lost the first two games against the 49ers this season, must face the Cincinnati Bengals, who won the AFC crown by beating Kansas City earlier on Sunday.
The Rams will have home court advantage because the Super Bowl will be played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
It will also be the first appearance for Stafford, who joined the Rams after a dozen years with the Detroit Lions, where he had never won a playoff game.
After blowing a 24-point lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week before escaping with the win, the Rams jumped ahead early. But the 49ers went into the locker room ahead 10-7 at the break, adding a touchdown to go up 17-7 in the third quarter.
In the first half, the Rams held the ball much longer and had the more impressive offensive stats. But they hurt themselves several times. Stafford was picked off as he tried to reach Kupp in the goal zone in the first quarter. Rams kicker Matt Gay missed one field goal in the second.
Stafford teamed up with Kupp for two goals, but could have gotten a touchdown pass on another drive if Kupp and Ben Skowronek had not dropped passes.
In the third quarter, Stafford fell short with a quarterback snug on the fourth-and-1.
The 49ers took advantage of the next drive, which ended with 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hitting tight-end George Kittle for a 16-yard scoring and a 17-7 lead with two minutes left of the quarter.
Stafford collected the Rams on a fast-moving drive that ended with Stafford hitting Coup for their second touchdown, reducing the deficit to 17-14.
The 49ers made their own mistakes. Security Jaquiski Tartt dropped a safe interception of Stafford in the fourth quarter. The Rams eventually drove downfield, adding a field goal to equalize.