Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Terry Bradshaw, err, Matthew Stafford, Leads Rams to Playoff Win Over Cardinals

 By John Turney 
Terry Bradshaw

Someone kidnapped Sean McVay and replaced him with Chuck Noll. His gunslinger quarterback threw just 17 passes, completing 13 of them for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 31-11 win over the Cardinals.

This from a coach who has been fairly criticized for abandoning the run, going "pass-happy" and not doing the "4th down thing" right. 

Last night he stayed committed to the run. He let Johnny Hekker pin the Cardinals inside the twenty-yard line, let his defense do some work. He let his quarterback throw darts on the plays he does well. But didn't overdo it. 

It was 1970s Steelers football when Noll would run Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier and often limit Bradshaw's throws and let his defense dominate. 

Four times in the 1970s Bradshaw, in playoff games, threw20 or fewer passes and gained 200 or more yards. He won all four. And his offense scored an average of 32 points per game. 

No one else has more than one. Stafford now has joined that group.
Matthew Stafford
Stafford played extremely well. He was accurate, threw passes with authority and with touch. Didn't make any "Harry High School" plays, as Steve Young called them in ESPN's pregame show referring to Stafford's pick-sixes and other plays inside his own 15 plays that gave opponents easy scores. In fact, it was Kyler Murray who did that last night.

Last night's strategy may not work against Tampa Bay but last night it was great to see some 1970s-style football by the Rams—38 rushes. 18 passes (one a gimmick) for a 67% run-to-pass ratio, 5 punts all inside the 20, no missed field goals or PATs, 183 total yards allowed, allowing 61 yards rushing, a 40.9 defensive passer rating, two picks including a pick-six, a great pass rush all night, keeping the Cardinals 0-9 on third downs.

Yes, Chuck Noll (and Don Shula, Vince Lombardi) are likely all smiling in football heaven. McVay performed as though he were one of them last night. 


  1. Good running by Akers and Michel in this game ... need to carry the ball another 35+ times to beat TB and help Stafford ...