Rams Avoid Epic Collapse, Chiefs Beat Bills In All-Time Classic To Set Conference Championship Matchups

Rams Avoid Epic Collapse, Chiefs Beat Bills In All-Time Classic To Set Conference Championship Matchups

We may have just witnessed the wildest weekend of playoff football in NFL history.

Following a Saturday in which the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers won in walk-off fashion, we couldn’t possibly expect an encore.

The encore occurred on Sunday, and it was somehow crazier than the original performance.

LA Rams 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27

In a game in which the Los Angeles Rams tried every way they possibly could to lose, the quarterback that cost two first-round draft picks to acquire made the big plays when LA needed it most.

Matthew Stafford led the Rams into field goal range after getting the ball with 0:42 seconds left, completing two passes for 64 yards to wide receiver Cooper Kupp, setting up Matt Gay for the game winning 30-yard field goal as time expired.

RAMS WIN. WHAT A GAME.#LARvsTB | #NFLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/FyEPdaXaqd

— NFL (@NFL) January 23, 2022

It was a bailout of epic proportions by Stafford, as the Rams would have gone down in history for blowing a 27-3 third quarter lead if it wasn’t for the first-year Rams quarterback.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Stafford said. “I mean, we sure let ’em back in the game with a bunch of mistakes on offense. Our defense played outstanding. We’ve got to clean some stuff up, do a little better job in the turnover department.”

“This is a tough team, man, this is what we’re all about. Just happy to get a win and keep on moving.”

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers down 24 points in the third quarter, NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth started asking whether this was the last time we’d see Tom Brady on the football field. Reports surfaced prior to the game that Brady would take his time in deciding whether to return for his 23rd NFL season.

Thanks to the Los Angeles Rams inability to hold onto the football, that conversation was nearly put on hold for another week.

Four fumbles by the Rams — three in the second half — allowed Tampa Bay to hang around, nearly forcing LA into a nightmare overtime scenario.

After Brady connected with receiver Mike Evans for a 55-yard touchdown, cutting the game to 27-20, Los Angeles took over the ball with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter. With no timeouts remaining, Tampa Bay needed a three-and-out in order to give Brady the ball back with enough time to go down the field. They did one better, forcing Rams running back Cam Akers into a fumble on LA’s own 30-yard line with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Seven plays later, Bucs running back Leonard Fournette punched it in from nine yards out on fourth-and-1, tying the game 27-27.

But it was the connection that drove the Rams offense all year long that ended Tampa Bay’s season, with Stafford and Kupp connecting for gains of 20 and 44-yards to get LA down to the Tampa Bay 12-yard line with 0:04 seconds remaining in the game.

.@CooperKupp put the team on his back.

This ending was WILD. #LARvsTB pic.twitter.com/6clEXf9SQq

— NFL (@NFL) January 23, 2022

Kupp finished the day with nine catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. The Rams will get their division rival in the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.

Kansas City Chiefs 42 Buffalo Bills 36

In one of the wildest finishes in NFL playoff history, the Kansas Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills 42-36 in overtime to advance to their fourth consecutive AFC Championship Game.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes, never allowing Josh Allen and the Bills to possess the ball in OT, in one of the more excruciating playoff losses you’ll ever see.

MAHOMES TO KELCE.

THE @CHIEFS WIN THE GAME OF THE YEAR! #NFLPlayoffs #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/9eM2Ur15O0

— NFL (@NFL) January 24, 2022

Football may be four quarters, but Sunday night’s game in Kansas City was decided in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime.

Down 26-21, Allen took the Bills on what appeared to be a career-defining, 17-play drive late in the fourth quarter to give Buffalo a three-point lead — Buffalo converted the two-point conversion attempt — on a 27-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis on fourth-and-13.

THE @BUFFALOBILLS HAVE THE LEAD. #NFLPlayoffs

📺: #BUFvsKC on CBS
📱: https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh pic.twitter.com/NrxNk9jSHq

— NFL (@NFL) January 24, 2022

Five plays later, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes connected with Tyreek Hill for a 64-yard touchdown, giving Kansas City a 33-29 lead.

MAHOMES. TYREEK.

CHIEFS RETAKE THE LEAD. #NFLPlayoffs

📺: #BUFvsKC on CBS
📱: https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh pic.twitter.com/QCPXcRYAT7

— NFL (@NFL) January 24, 2022

Six plays after Kansas City took the lead, Allen connected with Davis for his fourth touchdown catch of the night, giving Buffalo a 36-33 lead with 13 seconds on the clock.

JOSH ALLEN AND GABRIEL DAVIS’ 4TH TD GIVES THE BILLS THE LEAD WITH 17 SECONDS.

📺: #BUFvsKC on CBS
📱: https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh pic.twitter.com/DgdL4Pwvnd

— NFL (@NFL) January 24, 2022

Mahomes took over from the Kansas City Chiefs 25-yard line, and somehow went 44-yards in two plays — Buffalo allowed a 24-yard gain to Kelce with eight seconds on the clock — and Harrison Butker sent the game into overtime on a 49-yard field goal.

Allen finished the game 27-37 for 329 yards and four touchdowns, adding 68 yards on the ground. Mahomes was 33-44 for 378 yards and three touchdowns, adding a rushing touchdown and 69 yards on the ground.

The Chiefs welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected]

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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