NFL playoffs: Rams must score big to beat Brady and Bucs, says Stafford
The Los Angeles Rams must see off defending Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if they are to make it to the NFC Championship Game.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford believes his team will have to score big if they're to beat reigning Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs.
Sunday's Divisional Round game at Raymond James Stadium will be the third NFL postseason meeting between the Rams and Buccaneers.
The Rams have won the previous two as the teams combined for just 26 points in those games (9-0 Rams in 1989 NFC Championship, 11-6 Rams in 1999 NFC Championship).
But Stafford, whose side cruised past the Arizona Cardinals in a 34-11 win last week, expects a high-scoring affair this time around.
"You know you're going to have to go out there and score points"
Their Week 3 matchup this season did see plenty of scoring, and the Rams won 34-24, but Brady is a formidable opponent in the playoffs.
"The biggest thing about going against a guy like Tom is just knowing his consistency and his ability to get his team in the end zone," said Stafford.
"He's done a great job throughout his career, both in New England and in Tampa of scoring points and doing it kind of every which way.
"Whether they're going to run it, throw it, throw it deep, throw underneath – whatever it is, he always has a great game plan to go out there and execute at a high level.
"So as an offense, we know we need to do the same. We have packed a great defense. Those guys are unbelievable players and dominated the game for us on Monday.
"But at the same time, as an offense, you know you're going to have to go out there and score points, and enough to compete with the team that's led by Tom. It's a challenge.
"He's shown year in and year out how capable he is at doing that, especially this time of year. So it's a fun, exciting opportunity. We are playing the whole team, but he [Brady] is definitely a big part of it."
The win over the Cardinals was Stafford's first career postseason victory, meaning the Bucs clash will be his first taste of action in the Divisional Round. He only had to throw a season-low 17 pass attempts last week.
"That was just flow the game and nobody's ever talking about that number," he said. "We know we want to be balanced, like we always are.
"We are just trying to go out there and feel the flow of the game, I think it's a credit to our guys up front, moving those guys in creating rush lanes, our guys did a great job around the football.
"And then our defense was doing such a good job of giving us a short field. There's so many times where we had the ball with great field position, and those don't sometimes equate to long drives.
"Less plays, less opportunities to throw the football, but I take it as a positive.
"I love throwing the ball, no doubt, but I love it when I hand it off, and our guys are getting 10 to 12 yards a pop. At this point I'll take [the yards] any way I can get them!
"This is a great opportunity. We've earned these opportunities as a team. I've loved being a part of this team. So I'm hoping that we continue to earn more opportunities. That's the goal at this point.
"Find ways to win games no matter what it looks like – hopefully, it looks great, like it did on Monday night, but sometimes games shake out all different, you've got to find ways to win them."