NFC wild-card: Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons boot Los Angeles Rams

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Mariota had 205 yards passing and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead 22-yard strike to Eric Decker with six minutes left.

That could mean an end-zone trip for Kupp, who caught 62 passes (on a team-leading 94 targets) for 869 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games.

Even though the Falcons represented the NFC in the Super Bowl past year, and were considered one of the early favorites to earn a trip to Minnesota this season, it was clear the offense wasn't almost the same from their epic run from a season ago. January 7, 1979, was the last time the Rams held a postseason game in L.A. They moved their home games to Anaheim Stadium the following season, and the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995.

But the Falcons win over the Rams was one of the more impressive games Atlanta would have in the playoffs until their wins over the Seahawks and Packers. Gurley finished with 101 yards on 14 carries, though 61 yards came in the fourth quarter.

Phillips knew he could work with McVay based on the young coach's relationship with Phillips' son, Wes, who served as McVay's tight ends coach for the previous three seasons while McVay ran the Washington Redskins' offense. Cooper bobbled several other kicks as jitters were clearly a factor.

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Rashford's finishing let the hosts' approach play down, though, when the striker skied over the bar after being played through. Meanwhile, Rowett responded to Mourinho's changes by finally bringing Vydra on with 23 minutes remaining.


The Rams already had a solid defense last season under coordinator Gregg Williams. The fourth-year defensive tackle from Pitt was a disruptive force on almost every play. Phillips has been a head coach, a defensive mastermind and a steady mentor to generations of football talent during an all-encompassing career, and he shows zero signs of slowing down.

While McVay transformed the offense, Phillips got the most out of a team that allowed 20.6 points per game this season, down from 24.6 a year ago.

Not only did McVay change the culture in Los Angeles, the Rams also made effective roster changes. They were the third NFC South team to make the field, and they enter the playoffs with very modest expectations nationally - even as the only team in the conference to return to the postseason from last season.

For the first time in 39 years, the city of Los Angeles will host a playoff game for the Rams. They also have an MVP candidate in running back Todd Gurley, who led the National Football League with 2,093 yards from scrimmage to go with 19 touchdowns during the regular season. Teammate Robert Woods paced the receivers with 142 yards on nine receptions. A 52-yard catch-and-run by Mohamed Sanu helped make the score possible. If this game wasn't in Southern California, the Rams would definitely have a harder time.

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