The Wider World

The Rams can’t give it away, win game 30-27 with late field goal

THE RAMS defense stepped up after the offense faltered. Los Angeles defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-27 in an NFC Division round game on Sunday to advance to the NFC championship game next Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers (Brevin Townsell/LA Rams).

It wasn’t easy and was – at some moments – ugly, but the Los Angeles Rams survived a nightmarish second half to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-27 in the Divisional Round game Sunday to advance to the NFC Championship game against their long-time nemesis San Francisco 49ers.

After falling behind 27-3, Tom Brady rallied his team to tie it up at 27-all with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter. But rather than play it safe for overtime, the Rams went for broke, as Matthew Stafford completed two long passes to Cooper Kupp to get in position for a 30-yard field goal by Matt Gay as time expired to earn the win.

MATTHEW STAFFORD passed for two scores and ran for another (Kam Nedd/LA Rams).

Stafford finished with 28 completions in 38 attempts for 366 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran for another score. Kupp had nine catches for 183 yards and one touchdown. He also lost a fumble.

Brady’s late-game heroics were greatly aided by four Rams lost fumbles, and a couple of dropped passes in key situations. He completed 30-of-54 passes for 329 yards and one TD and one interception each.  ‘The Greatest of All Time” was harassed by a strong Rams pass rush which sacked him three times for 21 yards.

The Rams will host the 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 30 at SoFi Stadium for the conference title and a ticket to LVI Super Bowl, also to be played at SoFi two weeks later. The Niners have defeated the Rams six times in a row.

In the AFC Divisional Round game, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills 42-36 in overtime. They will play the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday for the American Football Conference championship.

News: U.S. drawing down from Ukraine embassy

TENSIONS between the U.S. and Russia remain high (Shutterstock).

As fears of a Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine mount, the U.S. State Department on Sunday ordered the families of all American Embassy employees to leave the country.

According to the Associated Press, “non-essential” embassy staff was told they could depart the capital city of Kyiv at the expense of the U.S. government. The embassy will remain open and these changes “do not constitute an evacuation,” the State Department added.

Americans outside Ukraine were also advised not to travel to that country or to Russia, “due to ongoing tension along the border” and related issues.

Omicron cases peaking in U.S.

THE OMICRON variant may losing steam (Shutterstock).

There may now be a peak and decline in new coronavirus cases in the United States. This week’s tally of new cases – fuelled largely by the Omicron virus – are now averaging about 720,000 cases a day, down from about 807,000 the previous week, reports The New York Times.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, said Sunday “What we would hope, as we get into the next weeks to month or so, we’ll see throughout the entire country the level of infection get to below what I call that area of control” in which the virus doesn’t “disrupt society.”

Weather: Sunny for a while more

The West Orange County area can look forward to at least two more days of sunny skies. The forecast for Monday is for a daytime high of 73 (overnight low of 47) under the sun. Tuesday will be a bit cooler at 70/48.  Partly cloudy weather will set in after that for the rest of the month, with daytime temps still in the 70s.



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