INGLEWOOD — The Rams are going to — that is, staying for — the Super Bowl.
Doing it in familiar, dramatic fashion, they beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 to win the NFC championship game Sunday in front of 73,202 Rams and Niners fans at SoFi Stadium, where Super Bowl LVI will be played in two weeks.
It will be the Rams vs. the Cincinnati Bengals on Feb. 13.
The familiar was quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp combining for a 25-yard pass and run to set up a game-winning field goal, and Matt Gay coming through with the 30-yard kick with 1:46 on the clock.
The same combo, right down to the distance of the field goal, had beaten the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional playoff round the week before.
Stafford completed 31 of 45 passes for 337 yards, two touchdowns and an interception Sunday. Kupp had 11 catches for 142 yards and two scores.
The unfamiliar was the Rams doing this against the 49ers, who had beaten them six times in a row.
But that was the regular season. The Rams got it all back Sunday.
After Gay’s second field goal of the day, it was up to the defense.
Linebacker Travin Howard’s interception of a Jimmy Garoppolo pass off the hands of JaMycal Hasty gave the Rams the ball back at the 49ers’ 15 with 1:08 left.
The Rams had made it 17-17 with 6:49 to play when Gay kicked a 40-yard field goal. They had driven from their own 15-yard line, helped by an unnecessary-roughness penalty on 49ers for a late hit on wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The Rams cut the 49ers’ lead to 17-14 when Stafford connected with Kupp for 11 yards and their second touchdown of the day with 13:30 to go in the game.
The 49ers had led 17-7 going to the fourth quarter after Garoppolo hit tight end George Kittle for a 15-yard touchdown with 1:59 to play in the third.
The 49ers had gotten the ball after a ruling that could have been pivotal.
Stafford tried to sneak for a first down on fourth and 1 at the Niners’ 43 and was marked short of the line to gain. Rams coach Sean McVay threw the challenge flag. The review confirmed the ruling.
The 49ers led at halftime 10-7 after a defensive display that allowed for just enough of the pass-receiving stars that the decidedly mixed crowd of Rams and 49ers fans came paid big bucks to see.
Stafford forced a pass to Kupp at the goal line on third down at the 49ers’ three in the first quarter, but cornerback K’Waun Willaims got a hand on it and Jimmie Ward intercepted it.
After a 49ers punt pinned the Rams back at their 3, running back Cam Akers and Sony Michel got the ball close to midfield, and then Stafford went back to Kupp. Completions for seven and 15 yards put the ball at the 13. A sack of Stafford made it third and 13.
Stafford lofted a pass to the right corner of the end zone, where Kupp made a tumbling catch behind cornerback Emanuel Moseley to put the Rams ahead 7-0 with 8:46 to play in the half.
It was an 18-play, 97-yard drive.
There aren’t too many answers to Kupp, but the 49ers have one in Deebo Samuel.
On the Niners’ next drive, on second down and 7 at the L.A. 44, Garoppolo threw to the wide receiver behind the line of scrimmage, and Samuel weaved through the secondary to tie the game 7-7 with 6:10 to go in the half.
The touchdown was Samuel’s fourth touchdown against the Rams in the teams’ three meetings this season.
Gay missed a 54-yard attempt that would have given the Rams the lead back.
Robbie Gould, whose field goal beat the Rams in overtime in the regular-season finale, didn’t miss from 38 as the half expired.
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/30/rams-rally-to-beat-49ers-and-reach-the-super-bowl-at-sofi-stadium/ Rams rally to beat 49ers and reach the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium – San Bernardino Sun