The Los Angeles Rams defeated Dallas Cowboys, 30-22, in an NFL divisional playoff game on Saturday at the Coliseum. Here’s a recap of what happened.
Rams are one win from returning to Super Bowl
No major mistakes on offense. Only a few lapses on defense. And none on special teams.
The Rams showed on Saturday night that they learned from their 2017 playoff flameout and moved to within one victory of playing in the Super Bowl.
C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley combined to rush for 238 yards and three touchdowns, Greg Zuerlein kicked three field goals and the Rams controlled Ezekiel Elliott en route to a 30-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC divisional playoff game before more than 77,187 at the Coliseum.
It marked the first playoff victory for Rams coach Sean McVay, quarterback Jared Goff, Gurley and others who were on the losing end of last season’s wild-card defeat by the Atlanta Falcons.
“A step in the right direction,” McVay said.
The Rams advance to the NFC championship game to play the winner of Sunday’s divisional-round game between the top-seeded New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles.
If the Saints beat the Eagles, the game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. If the Eagles win, the game will be played at the Coliseum next Sunday.
Gary Klein | 8:30 p.m.
Rams defeat Cowboys to advance to NFC championship game
The Rams offense maintained possession in the final minutes to drain the clock and stop a Cowboys comeback, defeating Dallas 30-22 to advance to the NFC championship game. The Rams offense dominated behind a strong rushing offense, with C.J. Anderson gaining 123 yards with two touchdowns and Todd Gurley running for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Blake Richardson | 8:18 p.m.
Cowboys trail Rams 30-22 in 4th quarter after touchdown run by Dak Prescott
After a 1-yard touchdown run by Dak Prescott, the Cowboys trail the Rams 30-22, with 2:11 left to close an eight-point deficit. The Cowboys got in position to score after a costly pass interference penalty was called on Aquib Talib, who returned to the game after being evaluated for a concussion. The Rams get possession entering the two-minute warning to try and run down the clock to prevent a Cowboys comeback.
Blake Richardson | 8:07 p.m.
C.J. Anderson’s second rushing touchdown gives Rams 30-15 lead in fourth quarter
On fourth-down on the 1-yard line, C.J. Anderson burst through the Cowboys defense to the end zone, giving the Rams a 30-15 lead. Anderson has rushed for 110 yards in 20 carries, with two touchdowns. His touchdown run secured a two-score lead for the Rams, putting pressure on the Cowboys in the final seven minutes of the game.
Blake Richardson | 7:52 p.m.
Aquib Talib being evaluated for concussion
After the Cowboys touchdown drive, Aquib Talib exited the game and went back to the Rams locker room. He is being evaluated for a concussion, the team announced.
Blake Richardson | 7:24 p.m.
Cowboys trail Rams 23-15 in third quarter after rushing touchdown, 2-point conversion
The Rams failed to stop the Cowboys on the goal line, twice, as Ezekiel Elliott scored a rushing touchdown and Dak Prescott found Amari Cooper in the end zone for the 2-point conversion. The touchdown was Elliott’s first of the game, after the Rams defense held him to 40 yards in the first half, making the Rams’ lead a one-possession deficit.
Blake Richardson | 7:21 p.m.
Greg Zuerlin’s third field goal gives Rams 23-7 lead
In his first playoff game, Greg Zuerlin made his third field goal of the night to start off the third quarter, extending the Rams’ lead over the Cowboys to 23-7. Zuerlin has only missed one kick so far — a 62-yard field goal in the final seconds of the second half. And even that was close.
Blake Richardson | 7:09 p.m.
Rams lead Cowboys 20-7 at halftime
The Rams started the first quarter by failing to score a touchdown on two red zone chances, but the offense came alive in the second quarter behind an unrelenting run game. C.J. Anderson earned 78 rushing yards in 12 carries with a touchdown, and Todd Gurley, in his first game back from a knee injury, totaled 80 yards in 10 carries, with a 35-yard touchdown run. The half ended with Greg Zuerlin’s missed 62-yard field goal attempt.
Blake Richardson | 6:42 p.m.
Todd Gurley breaks free for 35-yard touchdown run, Rams lead Cowboys 20-7 in 2nd quarter
After C.J. Anderson dominated the Rams’ run game for most of the first half, Todd Gurley broke free for a 35-yard touchdown run, giving the Rams a 20-7 lead over the Cowboys with 3 ½ minutes left in the half. Anderson still leads the Rams with 78 rushing yards in 12 carries, but Gurley’s touchdown run was the longest of the night.
Blake Richardson | 6:27 p.m.
C.J. Anderson gives Rams 13-7 lead in 2nd quarter with rushing touchdown
C.J. Anderson powered through the Cowboys defense, first for a 14-yard run, then for a 1-yard rushing touchdown, to give the Rams a 13-7 lead. The game had appeared slated to be a showdown between Ezekiel Elliott, who leads the NFL in rushing yards, and Todd Gurley, who leads the league in rushing touchdowns. But with 65 rushing yards in 10 carries, Anderson has stolen the show. He has more rushing yards than Gurley and Elliott combined.
Blake Richardson | 6:20 p.m.
Rams make field goal, but fall short of touchdown once again in red zone, trail Cowboys 7-6 in 2nd quarter
For the second time, the Rams failed to convert a red zone chance into a touchdown. Greg Zuerlin made a second field goal, this one 23 yards, leaving the Rams trailing the Cowboys 7-6. Jared Goff found Brandin Cooks in the end zone, but Cooks was ruled out of bounds after review of the play, as the Rams once again fell short, with miniscule margin of error in the post-season.
Blake Richardson | 6:00 p.m.
Dak Prescott connects with Amari Cooper for 29-yard touchdown play, Cowboys lead Rams 7-3 in 1st quarter
The Cowboys took a 7-3 lead over the Rams when Dak Prescott found Amari Cooper open down the field, for a 29-yard touchdown play. Marcus Peters’ 15-yard unnecessary roughness call on the play before put the Cowboys in position to score. Like the Rams’ failure to score a touchdown in the red zone, instead settling for a field goal, the error by Peters could prove costly to the Rams later on, as they forfeit an early lead to the Cowboys.
Blake Richardson | 5:40 p.m.
Rams lead Cowboys 3-0 in 1st quarter after Greg Zuerlin’s 25-yard field goal
The Rams punished the Cowboys with an unrelenting rush attack, but miscommunication on Jared Goff’s pass intended for Gerald Everett left the Rams short of the touchdown. Goff made one completion in three attempts on the drive, but Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson combined for 38 yards in seven carries. Greg Zuerlin’s 25-yard field goal gave the Rams a 3-0 lead.
Blake Richardson | 5:29 p.m.
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Peyton Manning comes to Coliseum with his son in tow
When Peyton Manning told his son he would bring him to any sports event he wanted, Marshall said he wanted to see the Rams play. So Manning brought his son to the NFC Divisional Playoff at the Coliseum, where Marshall will wear Todd Gurley’s jersey in the first half and Aaron Donald’s in the second. The two spoke with Donald on the field before the game
Sam Farmer | 4:40 p.m.
Rams release list of inactive players vs. Cowboys
Darious Williams, Justin Davis, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Trevon Young, Jamil Demby, Sebastian Joseph-Day and Tanzel Smart are inactive as the Rams face the Cowboys, the team announced before the game. The rest of the Rams took to the field to warm up in preparation of the NFC Divisional Playoff Round.
Gary Klein | 3:57 p.m.
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Rams hoping to build on last year’s playoff experience
The experience was new for most Rams players.
Quarterback Jared Goff had never played in an NFL playoff game. Neither had star running back Todd Gurley, nor star defensive lineman Aaron Donald, as well as less-heralded teammates.
Sean McVay also made his postseason debut as head coach last season in a wild-card game against the playoff-tested and defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons.
The collective inexperience showed in a defeat that jump-started a flurry of high-profile offseason moves by the Rams.
A year later, the Rams are back in the playoffs. A 13-3 record helped them earn a bye through the wild-card round, setting up Saturday’s NFC divisional-round game against the Dallas Cowboys at the Coliseum.
“It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve played,” Goff said. “We’re excited to go.”
3:45 p.m. | Gary Klein