Rams reach Super Bowl with overtime win over Saints
Los Angeles Rams 26-23 New Orleans Saints (OT)
Last Updated: 28/01/19 9:21am
The Los Angeles Rams are through to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on February 3 after clinching a dramatic 26-23 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game on Sunday.
The Rams recovered from a 13-0 first-quarter deficit to eventually tie the game up at 20-20, and again at 23-23 in the fourth quarter. Greg Zuerlein kicked a 48-yard field goal with 19 seconds left to send the game into overtime and then won it with a 57-yarder after a Drew Brees interception in the extra period.
John Johnson came up with the crucial turnover for the Rams after Brees' pass floated high following a hit from linebacker Dante Fowler as he threw.
The Saints, however, will feel rightly aggrieved at a no-call from officials in the fourth quarter that cost them the chance to clinch victory. In the final two minutes, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman was not flagged for what appeared a clear pass interference penalty on receiver Tommylee Lewis.
Had the penalty been called, the Saints would have got a fresh set of downs at the Rams five-yard line, giving them the opportunity to score a touchdown or to run down the clock and kick a field goal to win it.
Instead, New Orleans did kick a field goal but with one minute and 45 seconds still on the clock, which proved enough time for Los Angeles to drive down the field and tie the game, ultimately winning in overtime.
Earlier, it had looked like the Saints were well set for that NFC Super Bowl spot as they scored two field goals - either side of a Jared Goff interception - and a touchdown on their opening three offensive possessions.
But, the Rams came back into the contest in the second quarter with the first of Zuerlein's four field goals and then a Todd Gurley six-yard touchdown run just before half time. It was an otherwise strange outing from Gurley, who badly dropped two of his three targets in the passing game - the first resulting in the early interception - and had only four rushing carries.
After a Rams three-and-out to start the second half, the Saints got back on the scoreboard with a two-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Taysom Hill on their first series. But Goff responded with his first TD pass of the day, to Tyler Higbee, to bring L.A. back to within three.
Defense dominated thereafter - both units impressing - as only field goals were added late in the fourth quarter amid the officiating controversy late on. But it was Zuerlein who had the final say, and the Rams move on to the Super Bowl.
Rams 0-3 Saints: Will Lutz 37-yard field goal
Rams 0-6 Saints: Lutz 29-yard field goal
Rams 0-13 Saints: Drew Brees five-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Griffin (Lutz extra point good)
Rams 3-13 Saints: Greg Zuerlein 36-yard field goal
Rams 10-13 Saints: Todd Gurley six-yard touchdown run (Zuerlein extra point good)
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Rams 10-20 Saints: Brees two-yard touchdown pass to Taysom Hill (Lutz extra point good)
Rams 17-20 Saints: Jared Goff one-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Higbee (Zuerlein extra point good)
Rams 20-20 Saints: Zuerlein 24-yard field goal
Rams 20-23 Saints: Lutz 31-yard field goal
Rams 23-23 Saints: Zuerlein 48-yard field goal
Rams 26-23 Saints: Zuerlein 57-yard field goal
Game's key stats
|LOS ANGELES||NEW ORLEANS|
|Passing||C/A Yds TD Int||Passing||C/A Yds TD Int|
|Jared Goff||24/38 291 1 1||Drew Brees||26/40 249 2 1|
|Rushing||Att Yds TD||Rushing||Att Yds TD|
|C.J. Anderson||16 44 0||Mark Ingram||9 31 0|
|Todd Gurley||4 10 1||Alvin Kamara||8 15 0|
|Receiving||Rec Yds TD||Receiving||Rec Yds TD|
|Brandin Cooks||7 107 0||Alvin Kamara||11 96 0|
|Josh Reynolds||4 74 0||Ted Ginn||3 58 0|
|Gerald Everett||2 50 0||Michael Thomas||4 36 0|
|Robert Woods||6 33 0||Garrett Griffin||2 12 1|
|Tyler Higbee||4 25 1||Taysom Hill||1 2 1|
|Total yards||378||Total yards||290|