NFL

Rams QB Wolford returned from hospital to celebrate victory over Seahawks

By Sports Desk January 10, 2021

Los Angeles Rams quarterback John Wolford returned from hospital to celebrate with his team-mates after they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 30-20 in the NFL playoffs on Saturday.

Wolford was in a neck brace when he was taken away from Lumen Field in an ambulance having been struck on the head by the shoulder of Seahawks safety Jamal Adams in the first quarter.

Asked for an update on the 25-year-old, Rams head coach Sean McVay told the media he had been released from hospital.

"He must be good because he was in the locker room smiling, looking good," said McVay.

"I think it was just a stinger, but he definitely seemed good. We wanted to be as cautious as we could with something like that. It looks like it's trending in a positive direction."

Wolford was selected to start the Wild Card game after completing 22 of 38 throws for 231 yards passing as the Rams clinched their playoff spot by defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17.

The fact starting quarterback Jared Goff underwent thumb surgery less than two weeks ago played a part in McVay's decision.

However, Goff came off the bench to replace Wolford and passed for 155 yards - the most by any player off the bench since Jay Fielder's 172 for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1999 Divisional Round.

He connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods, while Cam Akers had 176 scrimmage yards - the second-most by a rookie in his playoff debut - and Darious Williams scored a 42-yard interception return.

"For [Goff] to be able to throw the football is pretty impressive," McVay said.

"There were a couple limitations which led to the decision to go with John. I was real pleased with Jared, and I think it was a real credit to him to be able to handle this week the right way and have himself mentally ready to go."

Asked for his opinion on McVay's decision, Goff said: "It was tough. It was some long conversations we had, but ultimately, I respect his decision.

"He's the coach. He had to make a decision that he needed to make early in the week to get out in front of some stuff, and I get it, but as a competitor of course I wanted to play."

Goff suggested there was added motivation for the Rams after seeing the Seahawks celebrate clinching the NFC West division title by beating them 20-9 in Week 16.

"Two weeks ago, you saw them smoking cigars and getting all excited about beating us and winning the division, and we're able to come up here and beat them in their own place. It feels good," he said.

Related items

  • Mahomes, Chiefs ready to start from scratch in training camp after Super Bowl disappointment Mahomes, Chiefs ready to start from scratch in training camp after Super Bowl disappointment

    For Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, reminders of their blowout Super Bowl LV loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been everywhere. 

    From Tom Brady's trophy toss during the Bucs' boat parade to Thursday's unveiling of Tampa Bay's massive Super Bowl rings, the champs have stayed in the spotlight throughout the off-season. 

    With training camp finally set to begin next week, though, the Chiefs are ready to clear the slate and move on.

    "I think the best thing about getting to training camp is it all starts over," Mahomes said at a news conference Friday as the team's quarterbacks and rookies reported to camp.

    "No matter how you ended the year before, you have to go in with the mindset of starting from scratch. We’re excited to do that and try and make another run at it.”

    The Chiefs have made it to the final game two years in a row, with Mahomes taking MVP honors in their Super Bowl LIV triumph over the San Francisco 49ers. 

    To Mahomes, the path back to the Super Bowl starts immediately, not in the September 12 season opener against the Cleveland Browns. 

    "I think we’ve learned that if we put in the work now, that we’ll be where we want to be at the end of the season," he said.

    "It’s about putting in the work right now, day by day, getting better and better so that at the end of the year you have no regrets about what you did in the season.”

    Mahomes had surgery to repair a turf toe issue immediately following the Super Bowl but will be ready to go for training camp. 

    Head coach Andy Reid said his 25-year-old quarterback, already among the best in the league, has spent the off-season working to be even better and he expects more of the same in camp. 

    "He’s always looking for that next thing that makes him even better than what he is now, and that’s the part you love about him," Reid said. "He has that type of personality. He wants to be the best, and he’s not just talk."

    The Chiefs are one of a handful of NFL teams who spend training camp away from their team headquarters, setting up shop at Missouri Western State University about 60 miles north of Kansas City. 

    Reid said the more secluded location helps eliminate distractions and he looks forward to watching his team bond along the way. 

    "We come up, it’s a time for camaraderie and bringing things together as a team. It’s hard work. There are no shortcuts obviously," he said. 

    "We’re going to try to make sure we cover everything we possibly can, but there’s this concentration of football that you take in here.

    "You’re sleeping in a dorm, you’re eating over in the dorm and you’re doing all of that. You’re here and it’s football kind of 24/7 right now.”

    After months spent rehashing what went wrong in Tampa Bay, that probably is the best thing possible for the Chiefs. 

  • Saints' position among offensive elite under threat without Michael Thomas Saints' position among offensive elite under threat without Michael Thomas

    The New Orleans Saints have long since enjoyed the benefit of continuity on offense in Sean Payton era, but in 2021 they will have to contend with some significant changes.

    For the first time since the 2005 campaign, the Saints will begin a season with a quarterback not named Drew Brees as their starter.

    Brees' retirement was regarded by some as overdue but, if his decision to ride off into the sunset was not viewed as a damaging one for New Orleans, the loss of the receiver with whom he had built a devastating rapport certainly is a significant blow.

    NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported on Friday that Michael Thomas is expected to miss the start of the season having undergone ankle ligament surgery in June.

    Thomas was limited to just seven games last year because of persistent ankle injuries and the procedure to fix those problems will, at least in the opening weeks, rob the Saints' 2021 starting quarterback of a two-time first-team All-Pro who has blossomed from 2016 second-round pick into one of the most dependable wideouts in the NFL.

    Renowned for his route-running and his proficiency in making contested catches, Thomas produced at a historic level in 2019.

    He broke the single-season receptions record with 149, racking up a career-high 1,725 receiving yards at an average of 107.8 per game.

    Per Stats Perform data, Thomas registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted regardless of whether the ball is catchable, on 76.1 per cent of his 184 targets.

    That was the fourth-highest rate among wide receivers in the NFL. Only one player who finished above him, Corey Davis (69), had even 50 targets.

    Thomas was tied for the second-most burn yards per route, trailing only Stefon Diggs (3.9) with an average of 3.6.

    He got open on 83.2 per cent of his targets, though he did so with an average depth of target of 8.1 yards, illustrating the Saints' dependence on shorter passes in the latter stages of Brees' career.

    Thomas will now miss out on the chance to quickly develop an even better understanding with the two quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, vying to be Brees' successor.

    The frustration of that for the Saints will be two-fold. Winston's aggressiveness -- he was second in the NFL in air yards per attempt (10.7) in his last season as a starter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019 -- could unlock Thomas' potential as a downfield receiver to a greater extent than Brees did.

    Meanwhile, Thomas' dependability would be a significant aid to an interception-prone quarterback or to a passer in Hill whose only four pro starts came last season.

    Instead of enjoying those possible benefits, with Thomas on the sideline, Payton and the Saints have the imposing challenge of maintaining their offensive consistency without a Hall of Fame quarterback and without their All-Pro wide receiver.

    The Saints are used to life among the NFL's offensive elite, but with the two most important parts of the equation on that side of the ball out of the picture, at least for the start of 2021, they face being removed from the top table.

  • Brady, Buccaneers receive super-sized Super Bowl rings Brady, Buccaneers receive super-sized Super Bowl rings

    NFL players, as a rule, tend to be rather large men. Even taking that into consideration, the rings the Tampa Bay Buccaneers received Thursday for winning Super Bowl LV were something to behold. 

    The rings, which were presented in a private ceremony, feature 319 diamonds as a nod to the 31-9 final score of the Bucs' triumph over the Kansas City Chiefs in February. 

    The top of each ring twists off to reveal a rendering of Raymond James Stadium, where Tampa Bay became the first team to win a Super Bowl on their home field, and engraved scores from all of the Bucs' playoff games. 

    Beyond that first-of-its-kind feature, the rings are striking for their sheer size, dwarfing the fingers of the Super Bowl champs. 

    "They're not so much rings, they're more like trophies that you wear on your finger," Brady said in a video released by the team. "This is by far the most incredible ring that’s ever been made."

    That's saying something for a man who now has seven of them.

    Brady and other Bucs players had an input in the rings' design, with the final result a collaborative product that packs as much symbolism as possible into a piece of jewelry. 

    "You accomplish something of that magnitude, you want to be able to show for it," said linebacker Devin White. 

     

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.