Rams rush their way past Cow­boys

The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - NFL PLAYOFFS - LOS AN­GE­LES

Dal­las de­fence falls into early hole it can’t climb out of as Los An­ge­les’ of­fence keeps game on the ground

C.J. An­der­son rushed for 123 yards and two touch­downs, and Todd Gur­ley rushed for 115 more yards and an­other TD in the Los An­ge­les Rams’ first play­off vic­tory in 14 years, 30-22 over the Dal­las Cow­boys in the di­vi­sional round on Satur­day night.

Gur­ley and An­der­son pun­ished the Cow­boys’ nor­mally sturdy run de­fence and sent the sec­ond-seeded Rams (14-3) to the NFC cham­pi­onship game for the first time in 17 years. Los An­ge­les racked up a fran­chise play­off-record 273 yards on the ground – also the most ever al­lowed in the post­sea­son by the Cow­boys, which were play­ing in their NFL-record 63rd post­sea­son game.

The long-strug­gling Rams had won only one post­sea­son game since their last trip to the Su­per Bowl in Fe­bru­ary, 2002, but 32year-old coach Sean McVay has added his first play­off vic­tory to his spec­tac­u­lar two-sea­son fran­chise turn­around.

Ezekiel El­liott rushed for a TD and Amari Cooper caught an early TD pass for the Cow­boys (11-7), who still haven’t won a play­off game on the road in 26 years. After win­ning the NFC East and beat­ing Seat­tle last week, Dal­las lost in the di­vi­sional play­off round for the sixth con­sec­u­tive time and fell short of its first trip to the NFC cham­pi­onship game since Jan­uary, 1996.

Next week­end, the Rams will face the top-seeded New Or­leans Saints.

The Rams are one win away from an­other Su­per Bowl trip after McVay’s high-fly­ing, in­ven­tive of­fence largely kept it on the ground, me­thod­i­cally pun­ish­ing the Cow­boys’ nor­mally sturdy run de­fence with their un­likely run­ning back tan­dem. The Cow­boys, which largely shut down Seat­tle’s league-best rush­ing at­tack last week, hadn’t al­lowed

two 100-yard rush­ers in a play­off game since the NFL-AFL merger.

Dak Prescott passed for 266 yards and rushed for a TD with 2 min­utes 11 sec­onds to play, but the Cow­boys couldn’t climb out after fall­ing into a 23-7 hole mid­way through the third quar­ter. El­liott

man­aged just 47 yards on 20 car­ries as Dal­las lost for just the sec­ond time in its past 10 games.

Jared Goff passed for 186 yards and spent much of the night hand­ing off, but the gan­gly quar­ter­back im­prob­a­bly scram­bled 11 yards for a first down with 1:51 to play, es­sen­tially wrap­ping up his first play­off vic­tory.

CHIEFS 31, COLTS 13

KANSAS CITY, MO. Patrick Ma­homes picked apart the Colts in his post­sea­son de­but, the Chiefs de­fence an­swered their cho­rus of crit­ics with a stout per­for­mance and Kansas City rolled to a vic­tory over In­di­anapo­lis in the di­vi­sional round to end 25 years of play­off frus­tra­tion.

Ma­homes threw for 278 yards while run­ning for a touch­down, and Damien Wil­liams ran through snow and muck for 129 yards and an­other score, as the Chiefs beat In­di­anapo­lis for the first time in five play­off meet­ings to earn their first AFC ti­tle game ap­pear­ance since Jan­uary, 1994.

The AFC West cham­pi­ons will play the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots next week­end for a spot in the Su­per Bowl in At­lanta.

An­drew Luck was held to 203 yards pass­ing for the Colts (11-7), while Mar­lon Mack was a non­fac­tor on the ground. He had 46 yards rush­ing be­fore leav­ing late in the fourth quar­ter with a hip in­jury.

With snow turn­ing Ar­row­head Sta­dium into a win­ter won­der­land, the Chiefs (13-4) waltzed all over a Colts de­fence that nearly shut out the Tex­ans a week ago. Ma­homes and Co. scored on their first three pos­ses­sions, then again just be­fore half­time, to take a 24-7 lead into the break.

If there was any ques­tion whether this would be Kansas City’s day, it was an­swered when Colts kicker Adam Vi­natieri missed a 23-yard field-goal try off the up­right just be­fore half­time.

SEAN M. HAFFEY/GETTY IMAGES

Rams de­fender Mark Bar­ron tack­les Dal­las Cow­boys wide re­ceiver Amari Cooper in a di­vi­sional play­off game in Los An­ge­les on Satur­day. Cooper caught an early TD pass, but it wasn’t enough to get Dal­las its first play­off win on the road in 26 years.

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