The Los Angeles Rams overcame a dismal day from starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. The defense, special teams and run game lifted L.A. to a playoff berth with a 30-23 road win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Sunday marked the worst game Stafford has experienced in a Rams jersey, and the veteran QB was the first to admit it.
"Obviously, a great team win," Stafford said, via the official team transcript. "... Less than spectacular in the pass game. Three turnovers is going to hurt us in a lot of games. It's nice to come away with a win, there's no doubt about that. I can play better. We can play better. So there's always that."
Stafford threw three interceptions and passed for a piddling 197 yards on 21-of-37 for a grotesque 5.3 yards per attempt. The QB looked rattled at times behind a makeshift offensive line, and his INTs were a couple of boneheaded decisions.
The last time Stafford threw 3-plus INTs was Week 1, 2018, with the Detroit Lions versus the New York Jets (4 INTs in what will be remembered as Sam Darnold's first -- and perhaps the high-point -- game with the New York Jets). Stafford's 46.8 passer rating was his lowest since Week 15, 2012 (37.6 passer rating in a 38-10 loss to Arizona).
"I sure wanted to make it interesting today, huh?" Stafford quipped in a postgame interview with NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. "Didn't play as good of football as I can play. Our defense played spectacular. We ran the ball great. A couple timely throws here and there, but a lot for me to clean up. But I'm glad we got ourselves a chance in the tournament."
Stafford took ownership of the interceptions that put his team in a bind and kept the score close.
"A tip here, a poor play by me on a couple others," Stafford said of his picks. "Those can't happen for us to be as good as we want to be. Got to clean those up. But our defense played great today."
The last time the Rams won a game with a quarterback throwing three or more interceptions was in Week 8, 2005, versus Jacksonville. The Rams won that day 24-21, with QB Jamie Martin throwing 3 INTs, 2 TDs, and 200 yards.
L.A.'s ability to overcome the poor play from the veteran QB showed the sort of mettle the Rams will need to march deep into January.
"Can't say enough about the resiliency of this group, the mental toughness," coach Sean McVay said. "Now we want to stay on top of this division. We've got a great opportunity and a great challenge against a Baltimore Ravens football team next week. It will be good to hopefully get some guys back and have somewhat of a normal week of preparation. These last three weeks have truly been a whirlwind. For our guys to be able to go undefeated in the month of December after the month of November we had, that says about as much about this group that you need to know. We'll keep it rolling."