Matthew Stafford didn't win a single playoff game throughout his 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, but he is going to the Super Bowl in his first campaign with the Los Angeles Rams after Sunday's 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
"You can't write this story any better," he told Fox Sports' Erin Andrews following the victory:
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"You can't write this story any better."<a href="https://twitter.com/ErinAndrews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ErinAndrews</a> talked to <a href="https://twitter.com/RamsNFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RamsNFL</a> QB Matthew Stafford after winning the NFC Championship! <a href="https://t.co/rRHaoTwgHF">pic.twitter.com/rRHaoTwgHF</a>
A trip to the Super Bowl in his first season away from the Lions alone would be quite the story, especially since the game will be at SoFi Stadium, the home of the Rams. However, Sunday's win coming against the 49ers added another layer.
After all, San Francisco entered play with a six-game winning streak against its NFC West rivals. 49ers fans also took over the crowd for extended stretches both in the regular-season finale and again in the NFC Championship Game.
It looked to be more of the same when the visitors built a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Stafford found Cooper Kupp for a touchdown before directing two field-goal drives to take the lead for good.
Despite finding success early, Jimmy Garoppolo struggled in winning time on the other side as the 49ers were held scoreless in the fourth quarter. His interception to Travin Howard with 1:09 remaining ended any hope of a seventh straight win over the Rams.
Now, Stafford will have a chance to cement his legacy with a Super Bowl victory, but Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals will be standing in the way.
Burrow has dazzled with a group of weapons that includes Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon, while Stafford can counter with Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr.
If the Rams signal-caller plays like he did in crunch time of Sunday's game on his way to 337 passing yards and two touchdown throws, he will be lifting the Lombardi Trophy in two weeks. Otherwise, it may be Burrow who rises to the top of the sport in just his second season in the league.