NEW ORLEANS — The Los Angeles Rams fought back against the New Orleans Saints back in Week 9 in this same building only to watch as the Saints torched them late. This time, the Rams turned the tables on the script — and this one had more at stake.
Rams safety John Johnson intercepted a deflected Drew Brees pass (tipped by Dante Fowler) in overtime, and kicker Greg Zuerlein hit a 57-yard field goal for a 26-23 OT victory in the NFC championship game to vault the Rams to their first Super Bowl in more than 17 years.
The Superdome fell silent for the first time the Rams were on offense all day. They were loud — painfully so — most of the afternoon, and the noise seemed to affect their rhythm early. But with Jared Goff heating up as the game went on and the defense making enough plays late, it was enough to get this transient franchise back in the biggest game.
The game was marred by controversy, however. The Rams appeared to get away with a blatant pass interference penalty on their final defensive play in regulation. It was third-and-10 at their own 13-yard line when DB Nickell Robey-Coleman arrived a full second early and blasted Saints WR Tommy Lee-Lewis on the sideline. The pass fell incomplete, and instead of getting a fresh set of downs in the red zone and milking the clock to set up a would-be game-winner as time expired, the Saints were forced to settle for a 31-yard field goal and give the ball back to the Rams with more than 90 seconds remaining.
The Rams drove 45 yards on nine plays to set up Zuerlein for the game-tying 48-yard field goal to force overtime, where he won it minutes later.
It’s the first Super Bowl for the Rams with the franchise situated in Los Angeles since the 1979 season, when they lost in XIV in early 1980 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rams made it to two Super Bowls when they were located in St. Louis, winning one and losing their last appearance in the 2001 season to the New England Patriots.