NFL

BREAKING NEWS: Brady's Bucs dethrone Mahomes and Chiefs in Super Bowl LV

By Sports Desk February 07, 2021

Tom Brady claimed a seventh Super Bowl crown after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first Lombardi Trophy since the 2002 season with a dominant victory over defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs.

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  • Watt: Cardinals' playoff defeat to Rams a massive failure Watt: Cardinals' playoff defeat to Rams a massive failure

    J.J. Watt reflected on the Arizona Cardinals' 34-11 playoff defeat to the Los Angeles Rams as "a massive failure".

    The Cardinals ended their season with a whimper at SoFi Stadium on Monday as the Rams dominated the Wild Card round clash between the NFC West rivals.

    Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford ended his wait for a first playoff win, throwing touchdown passes for Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp while running in another.

    Los Angeles will face defending champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida next Sunday in the divisional round. 

    The Cardinals, on the other hand, are left to lick their wounds following a fifth defeat in seven games that brought their campaign to a juddering halt.

    Watt returned from a shoulder injury to face the Rams and the defensive end pulled no punches with his verdict on the Cardinals' performance.

    He said: "It was a massive failure from what we were capable of doing and from what we showed we can do [up until the game Monday], there's no other way to describe it than as a failure.

    Quarterback Kyler Murray endured a game to forget, passing for 137 yards and throwing two interceptions in the Cardinals' first playoff game since 2015.

    He said: "I play to win the Super Bowl. That's the goal, that's the mission, is to win the Super Bowl not to make the playoffs or go to the second round. We fell short."

    He added: "It's disappointing that we didn't make it a game and come out and play the football we know we're capable of playing, that's really the most disappointing part.

    "Losing is one thing, but when you don't even make it competitive, it's another thing.

    "I put a lot on my shoulders, put a lot on myself and to dream of this moment and then be in the playoffs, the first game of the playoffs and then to play the way I did, to play the way we did, it's, like I said, disappointing."

    Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury: "When you're dropping back against that that group, it's not a good recipe.

    "And that's what we've found ourselves in. So, we just made it a tough night."

  • 'We wouldn't be here without him' – McVay hails Stafford after QB ends wait for playoff win 'We wouldn't be here without him' – McVay hails Stafford after QB ends wait for playoff win

    Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is thrilled that quarterback Matthew Stafford will no longer have to face questions about never winning a game in the NFL playoffs.

    NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals were convincingly swatted aside by the Rams in the Wild Card round on Monday, the hosts triumphing 34-11.

    The Rams will now move on to face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a huge Divisional Round game with a place in the NFC Championship up for grabs.

    Stafford had only previously reached the playoffs three times in 12 years with the Detroit Lions before his trade to LA ahead of the 2021 campaign and had been winless in each of those postseason appearances.

    "I thought he did a great job leading the way," McVay said, per ESPN, after Stafford threw touchdown passes to Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp.

    "He's still the same great player to me, and he always was before this game.

    "So I think it's good so you guys don't have to talk about [him not having a playoff win] anymore. So he can get that one out of the way. 

    "I am really proud of him. Just so lucky to be able to do this with him. He's our leader. We wouldn't be here without him."

    Stafford only had to throw a season-low 17 pass attempts, but he was impressive in completing 13 of them, with three of his four incompletions being dropped passes.

    The Rams' defense played a big part in the win too. The Cardinals were 21-0 behind before they were even able to record a first down, while cornerback David Long had a three-yard pick six on Kyler Murray, the shortest in playoff history.

    "I'm just excited for our team to get the win," said Stafford. 

    "What a team effort. Our defense played outstanding, special teams basically set up a score with [punter] Johnny [Hekker] pinning them down there, we did a great job on field goals. 

    "And we were good enough on offense to score some points and come away with the win. Just happy to be moving on."

    The Rams must now beat the defending NFL champions on the road to progress further in a postseason schedule which will culminate with the Super Bowl being hosted at their own SoFi Stadium.

    LA were one of only three teams who beat the Bucs in the regular season but Stafford is under no illusions over the size of the task facing them.

    He added: "It is a huge challenge. Obviously, a fantastic quarterback, great defense, a really good football team.

    "I think their team is different than when we played them last [in Week 3], and I think we are, too, both [in] personnel and scheme a little bit. You always evolve throughout the season. 

    "So it'll be interesting to see what they look like here as of late, and we'll go out there, attack and see what happens."

  • Stafford ends playoff hoodoo as Rams blow out Cardinals Stafford ends playoff hoodoo as Rams blow out Cardinals

    Matthew Stafford celebrated the end of his long wait for an NFL playoff win as the Los Angeles Rams sealed a stress-free victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday.

    The quarterback produced an immaculate performance as the Rams won 34-11 at SoFi Stadium, the venue for this year's Super Bowl, in the first match to be played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

    Stafford was 0-3 in playoff games over 12 years with the Detroit Lions but threw touchdown passes for Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp while running for another to ensure there would be no disappointment this time.

    His reward is a showdown with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida next Sunday in the divisional round. The Rams were one of just three teams to beat the reigning champions in the regular season – a 34-24 win back in Week 3.

    A 52-yard drive in the first quarter ended with Stafford finding OBJ with a four-yard pass for the opening TD of the game, the latter's first in the postseason.

    It marked what would prove to be a display of efficiency from Stafford, who threw 13 of 17 passes – his lowest of the season – for 202 yards but did not commit a single turnover.

    Von Miller – playing in his first postseason game since being MVP of Super Bowl 50 – sacked Kyler Murray as the Cardinals failed to respond, and in the first drive of the second quarter, Stafford found Beckham again for a 31-yard gain that led to his chance to run in touchdown number two.

    Things went from bad to worse for the Cardinals as a Rams punt ended on the Arizona 1, and Murray thought he finally had a first down when he threw to AJ Green, but Nick Scott tackled the ball away from him to what was eventually called an incomplete pass. On the next play, Murray was panicked into rushing his throw from his own endzone, leading to a pick six as David Long intercepted and ran in for the TD.

    It took until more than halfway through the second quarter for the Cardinals to get a first down as they fell 21-0 behind at halftime, and they were not back on the scoreboard until a little over four minutes remained in the third quarter.

    Having surrendered a 17-0 lead over the San Francisco 49ers last week, the Rams were determined to avoid a repeat, Beckham making NFL history as the first player in the postseason to finish with 30-yard receptions and completions in the same game.

    Stafford's seven-yard pass let Kupp, who finished with a team-high five catches for 61 yards, quell any fears of a late Arizona response.

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