The Rams (11-5) rested most of their top playmakers last weekend in that game against San Francisco, keeping them fresh for the franchise's first postseason game in Southern California since 1986.
The Falcons snuck into the postseason with a week 17 victory and have locked up the second wild card spot setting them up for a date on Saturday with the resurgent Los Angeles Rams who have been remarkable to watch this season and are a very risky team on both sides of the football.
Despite all the punchlines, the Rams hardly have reason to hang their heads. That trio alone already gives them an excellent long-term foundation for sustainable winning.More news: GOP senators send criminal referral to DOJ for dossier author
The juxtaposition of the two franchises makes for an interesting storyline as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is expecting 70,000 fans for the first National Football League playoff game at the stadium in 40 years. But Cooper was feeling better on Friday and was a full participant in practice, which has Rams coaches believing he will be available to play on Saturday. "I'm lucky to be where I am", Phillips said recently.
Atlanta let an early double-digit lead slip away before holding on at the Los Angeles Coliseum, setting up a showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles in next week's NFC divisional round. The Rams are the up-and-coming group and while the Falcons are not falling down to reality as the players are aging, they went backwards compared to previous year. Scarcely a day went by during the Rams' playoff push when McVay didn't publicly express his gratitude for being able to rely on the experiences and strategies accumulated by Phillips.
Goff was not the only young Rams player who was off on Saturday. Goff doesn't have as much responsibility in the Rams' offense as Ryan does in the Falcons', but he's been an integral part of their success. But because of the Rams offense's utter ineptitude, that defense wore down and struggled, particularly late in their 4-12 campaign.More news: Tesla Model 3 delay raises cashflow risks, but analysts upbeat
Notwithstanding the way the Super Bowl ended, most expected a smoother ride this season. While the Rams' average rankings in pass defense and run defense haven't changed drastically since last season, Phillips' defense has produced a whopping 48 sacks - fourth in the National Football League and 17 more than last season.
"This game was kind of the way our season was, we had to grind it out", Ryan said. Leading the charge was Aaron Donald. "I knew he was good, but I didn't know he was better than everybody". The Rams boast a very talented defensive line and a unit that racked up 48 sacks during the regular season.More news: Indian held for 'sexually assaulting' woman on U.S. flight