LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Rams are still in the running for Super Bowl LIII.
The Rams gashed a proud Dallas Cowboys defense for a franchise playoff record 273 yards rushing in a 30-22 NFC Divisional Playoff victory Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Los Angeles advanced to its first NFC Championship Game in 17 years.
The Rams will either visit New Orleans or host Philadelphia next Sunday at Noon PDT. The Saints and Eagles meet in the other NFC Divisional Playoff today in New Orleans.
C.J. Anderson carried 23 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and Todd Gurley II returned from knee inflammation for the fist time in a month with 16 carries for 115 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown.
In three games as a Ram, Anderson, signed after Gurley was shelved with left knee tendinitis, has rushed for 422 yards and four touchdowns.
On a third-and-seven with 100 seconds to play, Rams quarterback Jared Goff joined the party with an 11-yard scramble that sealed the club’s first playoff victory since the 2001 NFC title game victory over Philadelphia in St. Louis.
Defensively, the Rams held NFL rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott to 47 yards on 20 carries.
No stop was bigger than fourth-and-one at the Rams 35 on the play of the fourth quarter. Ndamukong Suh clogged the point of attack, and Michael Brockers and Cory Littleton finished the Dallas tailback off.
The Rams mounted a 65-yard scoring march consuming half the fourth quarter that Anderson finished off with a one-yard blast on fourth down.
“Big time win for us,” said Rams coach Sean McVay, who at age 32 became the youngest head coach ever to win an NFL playoff game. “They have a great defense that we have tremendous respect for.
“But we had a lot of guys who made big plays on defense tonight to help us win this game.”
The Rams mounted two long drives only to have to settle for Greg Zuerlein field goals and trailed 7-3 after the first quarter.
A Marcus Peters personal foul penalty positioned the ball at the Rams 29 yard line.
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott caught the Rams in their base defense, with safety Lamarcus Joyner covering Amari Cooper, and the Cowboys receiver turned a slant pattern into a 29-yard touchdown.
The Rams took a 13-7 lead on a 76-yard drive highlighted by a 20-yard strike to Brandin Cooks and 16-yard deep crossing pattern to Robert Woods.
Anderson carried 14 yards to the Dallas 1, and then carried the final yard with 7:00 let in the first half.
On their next series, a Dallas penalty on 3rd and 14 led to a 35-yard TD burst by Gurley, his first touchdown since Dec. 2 in Detroit.
“It’s kind of crazy, but we ran the ball today to set up our passing game,” Woods said. “C.J. and Todd really got us going on the ground, and then Jared put us in the right position to make plays.”