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One year after unofficially arriving in L.A., Matthew Stafford tries to take Rams to Super Bowl

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Mike Florio and Peter King break down the strong stable of wide receivers on both sides in the AFC Championship matchup between the Bengals and Chiefs.

On January 30, 2021, the Rams unofficially traded for quarterback Matthew Stafford. On January 30, 2022, the Rams and Stafford officially will compete for a berth in the next Super Bowl.

It validates the trade, but getting to the NFC title game wasn’t the goal. Especially with the Rams facing the prospect of watching their division rivals play in (and possibly win) the Super Bowl in Kroenke Land.

Coach Sean McVay recently was asked whether Stafford has reached a “higher plane mentally, physically, and performance-wise.”

“We’ve always had great confidence in him, but I thought he’s played outstanding football each of the last couple weeks,” McVay said. “He’s made great decisions. Put the ball where he wanted to. He’s managed the game excellently. He’s gotten us in and out of the right stuff. His command, his leadership, so he’s been outstanding. It’s amazing the amount of work that goes in for the team, but also when you look at Matthew accommodating himself and getting acclimated to his teammates, to this situation, learning a new offense, playing at such a high level, it’s really incredible. He deserves a whole lot of credit as well as [offensive coordinator] Kevin O’Connell and [assistant QB coach] Zac Robinson doing a great job helping him as well.”

The throw Stafford made to knock off the Bucs after Tom Brady did a Tom Brady thing and wiped out a 24-point, second-half deficit could be the throw that won the Super Bowl, if the Rams win it. That was the moment Stafford proved to himself and everyone that he can make the kind of championship throw that, for example, Jared Goff couldn’t with Super Bowl LIII on the line.

It’s why the Rams dumped Goff onto the Lions. It’s why the Rams gave up two first-round picks and a third-round pick to grease the gears on the quarterback-for-quarterback swap.