Matt Gay kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired as the Los Angeles Rams withstood the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ rally from a 24-point deficit for a 30-27 victory in an NFL divisional playoff game Sunday in Tampa, Fla.
The victory advanced the Rams into next Sunday’s NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, which will be played at SoFi Stadium, making it the first stadium to be the site of a conference championship game and Super Bowl in the same season. Super Bowl LVI is scheduled for Feb. 13 at the Inglewood stadium.
The reigning Super Bowl champions had tied the score 42 seconds earlier on Leonard Fournette’s 9-yard run.
The Rams built a 20-3 halftime lead on two touchdown passes by Matthew Stafford and two field goals by Gay. They increased the lead to 27-3 on Stafford’s 1-yard run with seven minutes, seven seconds left in the third quarter.
Tampa Bay then scored 24 unanswered points on Ryan Succop’s 31-yard field goal, a 1-yard touchdown run by Fournette, a 55-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Mike Evans and Fournette’s 9-yard run.
Stafford completed 28 of 38 passes for 366 yards and a 121.2 passer rating on a scale from 0 to 158.3 with a rating over 100 considered superior. Cooper Kupp made a team playoff record-equaling nine catches for 183 yards, the second-most in team playoff history, including a 70-yard catch for a second-quarter touchdown.
Brady completed 30 of 54 passes for 329 yards and one touchdown with one interception for a 72.2 passer rating.
The Rams outgained the Buccaneers, 428 yards to 359, and led 24-20 in first downs and 34:08-25:52 in time of possession before a crowd at Raymond James Stadium announced at 65,597.
The Rams lost four fumbles, which Tampa Bay converted into two touchdowns. Cam Akers committed the first fumble, when he was tackled by Antonie Winfield at the end of a 5-yard run to the Buccaneers’ 1-yard line with 19 seconds left in the first half, with Winfield recovering.
The Buccaneers also recovered a fumble by Akers at the Rams’ 30-yard line with 2:25 to play. Fournette ran for the game-tying touchdown on the ensuring drive.
The Rams were unable to convert Nick Scott’s interception of a Brady pass or Von Miller’s recovery of a fumble by Brady into points.