USA About: Rams Publish: 02/13/2022 Edit: 02/13/2022 Author: Gardener
Before becoming quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams ahead of the 2021-22 season, Matthew Stafford spent 12 years with the Detroit Lions. With a 0-3 record in postseason appearances over his time at Detroit, Stafford was saddled with a reputation as a talented quarterback who couldn't win games when it counted. In one season in Los Angeles, Stafford flipped that script. The Rams have won three straight postseason contests with a 20-17 comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship, in which Stafford made great throws, rushed for 337 yards and two touchdowns. In the game against the 49ers, Stafford led his 44th career win (playoffs included), which always puts him in eighth place. The stage is set for Super Bowl LVI as the Los Angeles Rams are ready to take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, February 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. 2022 NFL Playoff Results and Beyond To appreciate Stafford's turnaround, it's important to consider the lost seasons before his time in Los Angeles. After a distinguished career at the University of Georgia, Stafford was the #1 draft pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the Lions. While Stafford didn't make a lasting impression for Detroit in the postseason, he rewrote the Lions' record books. During Stafford's 12 years with the Lions, Detroit set a winning record only four times and made the playoffs only three times, never winning a division title and never advancing to the wild card round. At 33 and after 12 years with a team, Stafford became part of the biggest offseason trade in the NFL upon the conclusion of the 2020 season. The Lions traded Stafford to the Rams for QB Jared Goff and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and a third-round player in 2021. The trade benefited both parties as it gave a rebuilding Lions team plenty of draft capital and Stafford a chance to advance into the postseason. The Rams, who have adopted a "Super Bowl or Bust" mentality, won't have a first-round pick in the NFL draft until 2024 because they traded away picks to acquire players who can help the team win now. RELATED: How to Watch Super Bowl 2022: Live Stream Online Without Cable, TV Channel, Time for NFL Game Rams vs. Bengals In his first season with the Rams, Stafford was one of the league's top QBs. He finished the regular season with 404 completions in 601 attempts for 4,886 yards, which was good for third overall. Stafford finished the league level on points with 17 interceptions but also finished second overall in the regular season with 41 touchdowns. Stafford's success continued into the postseason as he led the Rams to their second Super Bowl appearance in four years. RELATED: Rams Super Bowl Story: When was the last time Los Angeles won the Super Bowl? Rams head coach Sean McVay has also been instrumental in the team's success. With his appearance in Super Bowl LIII, when the Rams lost to the New England Patriots, McVay became the youngest head coach in Super Bowl history. While last year's Super Bowl was the oldest coaching match in the game's history with Bruce Arians and Andy Reid (both 68 years old at the time), this year's Super Bowl will be the youngest coaching match in history as Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is just 38 years old. McVay is causing a stir in the NFL because of his youth in the coaching ranks. Together, however, McVay and Stafford have a chance to do something no one has done before: win a Lombardi Trophy.
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