INGLEWOOD, Calif. – For quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Rams, it was a gut-check moment.
Los Angeles was trailing the Seattle Seahawks 16-7 with 14:05 remaining in the fourth quarter when Seahawks defensive end Mario Edwards delivered a clean but vicious hit to Stafford's midsection after Stafford launched a pass on a trick play that was intercepted by Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen.
Not only did Stafford not miss a single snap after that play, he also went on to help L.A. rally to score the final 10 points of Sunday's game in a 17-16 Rams victory.
"Wasn't great, but just needed a second really more than anything," Stafford said. "Unfortunate play, didn't want it to end the way it ended. Looked better when we repped it in practice, and obviously wasn't a successful play, but proud just proud of the guys for bouncing back."
On the next offensive series, Stafford completed each of his next four passes – gains of 23, 14 and 17 11 yards – to help set up running back Darrell Henderson Jr.'s 1-yard touchdown run that cut their deficit to two with 7:41 remaining.
The first play after the change of possession from defensive back Derion Kendrick's interception? A 32-yard completion to wide receiver Puka Nacua, on a drive that again reached inside the Seahawks 5-yard line and ended with what would be kicker Lucas Havrisik's game-winning field goal.
Stafford's numbers after the big hit and pick: 7 for 11 passing for 111 of yards – out of the 190 total passing yards he had on the afternoon and out of his 17 for 31 overall passing.
"It comes from our leader, from number nine," Nacua said. "The grit – you see him take some of those shots during the game, and the ability to stand back up and still command our offense and lead him in the way he does. When you have number nine in the backfield, a lot of things are going right."
Rams head coach Sean McVay postgame joked that maybe they should punch Stafford in the gut right before a game. But on a serious note, McVay also noted how Stafford's response only reinforced his legacy and reputation.
"I think the urgency went up, and I think this is one of the things that makes him great, is these types of moments," McVay said. "You can add it to his legacy and his storied career of these come-from-behind wins, when it looks like the chips are stacked against you and he just finds a way to be able to get the drives."