LOS ANGELES — The Rams rushed for a franchise playoff record 273 yards against the Cowboys in Saturday’s NFC divisional game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson combining for 238 of the total.
But one of the most important carries came on an 11-yard scramble by quarterback Jared Goff on third-and-7 with two minutes remaining.
Starting at the Rams 28-yard-line, Goff dropped back, saw an opening to his right and took off running, banging his way past the first-down marker. It forced Dallas to start calling timeouts. Runs of 5 and 6 yards by Anderson gave the Rams another first down that clinched the 30-22 Los Angeles victory.
Rams head coach Sean McVay said Goff “showed his athleticism” on the crucial play. It wasn’t clear if he was joking.
“It was a great decision by him,” McVay said. “It was a big time deal to be able to convert with his legs and stay in bounds and keep the clock moving and have C.J. close it out.”
Goff ran for 12 total yards, his highest rushing total in eight games.
“I wanted to stay in bounds and keep the clock moving, even if I didn’t get the first down,” Goff said of his run. “But [the Cowboys] got depth and I saw a lane and spun inside and got the first got down.”
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It was a big win for not only the Rams but also Goff, the first pick of the 2016 draft. The Rams reached the wild-card round last season, only to lose at home to the Falcons. Now Goff, who slumped a bit in December, has his first playoff win and the Rams in the NFC Championship for the first time since 2001.
“It feels good,” said Goff, who completed 15 of 28 passes for 186 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. “It really feels good to do it with the people we have. To be able to do this with these people and these coaches and be able to pull off a playoff win at home is exciting.”
The Rams defense did its part, holding Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott to just 47 yards on 20 carries. Quarterback Dak Prescott had to do much of the work, completing 20 of 32 for 266 yards and one touchdown. But the Rams controlled the game with their balanced attacked leading in time of possession 36:13 to 23:47.
The Rams will meet the winner of Sunday’s NFC divisional game featuring the Saints and Eagles. If the Eagles win, the game will be in Los Angeles. If the Saints win, the game will be in New Orleans. The winner advances to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
“This was a big game and next week will be a big game as well,” Goff said. “We’re in the final four one win away from the Super Bowl. We’re going to enjoy the moment and then prepare our butts off.”