The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, January 18, 2022 1:00 am


Rams come out firing, whip Cardinals in wild-card game

Associated Press

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Matthew Stafford passed for 202 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score in his first playoff victory, and the Los Angeles Rams roared out of the wild-card round with a 34-11 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.

Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp had touchdown catches for the NFC West champion Rams (13-5), who will visit the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday for a spot in the NFC championship game. Los Angeles advanced in the postseason for the third time in the last four years under coach Sean McVay.

David Long also scored on a 3-yard interception return while the Rams' defense harassed Kyler Murray into a calamitous playoff debut. Los Angeles jumped to a 28-0 lead and cruised in the first playoff game at SoFi Stadium, which will host Super Bowl 56 next month.

After an inconsistent finish to the regular season, the Rams came together brilliantly on the postseason stage.

Stafford was outstanding in his first playoff game with the Rams, going 13 of 17 without an interception and coolly directing LA's offense while seizing his first playoff win in 13 NFL seasons — the first 12 spent in Detroit.

Beckham had four catches for 54 yards, including his first career playoff touchdown catch for the Rams' first points. He also threw a 40-yard pass during his own first postseason victory. Linebacker Von Miller added six tackles and a key early sack in his first postseason appearance since Super Bowl 50.

Raiders fire GM

The Las Vegas Raiders have fired general manager Mike Mayock after three seasons and will begin a search for a coach and GM following their second playoff berth in the past 19 seasons.

The Raiders have already made a request to interview Patriots director of player personnel Dave Ziegler for the general manager job, as well as Patriots assistant Jerod Mayo for head coach.

Coach Jon Gruden brought Mayock in to replace Reggie McKenzie following the 2018 season, but the Raiders had spotty results in the draft and free agency in recent years. Gruden resigned in October following the publication of his old offensive emails.

Interim coach Rich Bisaccia led the Raiders (10-8) to the playoffs, but his status remains unknown.

The Raiders had three first-round picks in Mayock's first draft, but those picks failed to transform the franchise. The 2020 draft may end up being what doomed Mayock. The team cut both first-round picks with receiver Henry Ruggs III getting released after being charged with felonies in a fatal DUI crash, and cornerback Damon Arnette getting released after making online threats. And two of the team's third-round picks never played a snap.

Bears interview pair from Colts

The Chicago Bears interviewed Indianapolis executive Ed Dodds for their general manager job and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for their head coaching position Monday.

Dodds has 19 years of experience in the NFL. He has spent the past five in Indianapolis' front office, including four as assistant GM under Chris Ballard. Before that, Dodds worked for Seattle from 2007 to 2016,.

Eberflus spent the past four years as Indianapolis' defensive coordinator.

Giants talk to 2 from 49ers

The New York Giants wrapped up the first round of interviews for their vacant general manager's job, interviewing two executives with the San Francisco 49ers: assistant general manager Adam Peters and director of player personnel Ran Carthon.

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