Crit­i­cism sparks Rams’ D

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Sports -

LOS AN­GE­LES — Ten min­utes af­ter the Rams’ first play­off win in 14 years qual­i­fied them for their first NFC Cham­pi­onship Game in 17 years, the dance party was go­ing strong in the Los An­ge­les locker room.

Af­ter stomp­ing the vaunted Dal­las Cow­boys run­ning game, it was me­dia skep­ti­cism the Rams were try­ing to grind into the floor.

“Keep run­ning that smack about how we couldn’t stop Zeke (El­liott), or how we can’t stop the run­ning game,” bel­lowed All-pro nose tackle Aaron Don­ald. “Keep re­mind­ing us how we lost to the Saints and the Ea­gles.

“Please.”

The Rams throt­tled the NFL’S rush­ing king, lim­it­ing a man who went for 143 yards last week in beat­ing Seattle to just 47 yards on 20 car­ries in Satur­day night’s 30-22 NFC Divi­sional Play­off vic­tory.

“You get tired of hear­ing this stuff,” said Ndamukong Suh, who played his best game in the horned hel­met with three tack­les for losses. “I don’t know how many times I heard we gave up more than five yards per carry, but it was too many.”

Even the crowd of 77,187 at the Col­i­seum had its doubts. More than half the crowd was root­ing for the Cow­boys.

They didn’t have much to cheer about.

“We were fired up to play this game,” said de­fen­sive end Michael Brock­ers, who ac­tu­ally made the stop on El­liott on the fourth down play open­ing the fourth quar­ter. “The bye week gave us plenty of time to hear peo­ple, fans and me­dia, trash­ing our de­fense.

“It re­ally be­came per­sonal. We had some­thing to prove tonight.”

The pun­dits hy­poth­e­sized that the Rams would have to score to keep up with Dal­las.

While Rams coach Sean Mcvay is known mainly as an of­fen­sive guru, he spent plenty of time with his de­fense get­ting

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