Seven Stats: Rams win the NFC Championship, advance to Super Bowl LIII

The Rams beat the Saints 26-23 in overtime in New Orleans and are headed to Super Bowl LIII.

The Rams won the NFC Championship game in a valiant effort in the ultra-loud Superdome with a patient running game, a few huge defensive stops, and two field goals from kicker Greg Zuerlein that will never be forgotten.

Here are seven stats that stood out in the NFC Championship game against the Saints:

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1. ZUERLEIN WINS IT, SETS PLAYOFF HIGH

Kicker Greg Zuerlein hit four field goals against the Saints, setting a Rams NFC Championship record, passing former kickers Jeff Wilkins and Frank Corral’s three makes-a-piece in the semifinal game.

Zuerlein’s third field goal sailed 48 yards through the uprights, sending the game into overtime. Then, after an unlikely interception from his seat by safety John Johnson, the fourth make from 57-yards out sent the Rams to the Super Bowl.

Zuerlein’s game-winning field goal set a new franchise postseason record for distance.

2. YOUNG GOFF

Quarterback Jared Goff became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to win an NFC Championship game in the first of championship Sunday’s semifinal games.

Goff is on to the Super Bowl at 24 years, 98 days after going 25-of-40 for 297 yards, with one touchdown, and one interception against the Saints.

3. FAKE 2.0

Head coach Sean McVay and punter Johnny Hekker redeemed their Week 9 failed attempt at catching the Saints off guard with a fake field goal by perfectly executing a fake punt to move the sticks and extend the Rams’ third offensive drive of the game.

Hekker is now three-of-five as a passer this season after hitting cornerback Sam Shields for the 12-yard pickup on 4th-and-5 from the Los Angeles 30.

The drive ended with a Rams field goal and first points of the contest.

4. WOODS CRACKS TOP 10

Wide receiver Robert Woods cracked the Rams’ top-10 list for playoff receptions on Sunday against Saints.

Woods needed just three receptions to make the list entering the Superdome and finished with six receptions for 33 yards.

The performance jumped Woods to No. 6 in all-time franchise playoff receptions, and No. 10 in postseason receiving yards.

5. COOKS PLAYOFF HIGH

Former Saints 1,000-yard receiver, wide receiver Brandin Cooks set a new career-high for single-game receiving yards against his former team.

Cooks finished with seven catches for 107 yards in the familiar Superdome. His former career-high 100 yards came last season in the AFC Championship game as a Patriot.

Cooks reeled in six receptions for 114 yards against the Saints in Week 9.

6. UNDER PRESSURE

The Rams did not record a sack on Brees in Week 9, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh rode his hot playoff hand and sacked the future Hall of Fame quarterback 1.5 times to go along with outside linebacker Dante Fowler’s half sack.

Brees was hit seven times — three times by defensive tackle Aaron Donald — but none was bigger than Fowler’s overtime hit on 2nd-and-16 from the New Orleans’ 34-yard line.

Fowler hit the ball and Brees’ arm as the 40-year-old heaved the ball down field to wide receiver Michael Thomas. The ball came out wobbly and fell into the arms of the Rams’ leader in interceptions this season, second-year safety John Johnson.

The Los Angeles offense turned the pick into a game-winning 57-yard field goal.

7. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL

The field goal was deemed GOOD and the Rams are still dancing.

Awaiting the winner of the Chiefs and Patriots in the AFC Championship game, the Rams became the first NFL team in five seasons to win a conference championship on the road.

In two weeks, Los Angeles will play in its first Super Bowl since the 2001 season.

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