Rams turned on punt return hero Brandon Powell – Whittier Daily News

  • Brandon Powell of the Los Angeles Rams returns to the end zone on a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Dec. 26 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) runs to Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, December 26 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Los Angeles Rams’ Odell Beckham Jr. # 3 celebrates with Tyler Higbee # 89 after scoring a fourth quarter touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Rams’ Odell Beckham Jr. # 3 catches a catch in the end zone and scores a fourth quarter touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen / Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay watches from the sideline during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding / Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Rams’ Odell Beckham Jr. # 3 celebrates with Matthew Stafford # 9 after Beckham Jr. scored a fourth quarter touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding / Getty Images)

  • Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, December 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) steps onto the field in front of Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday December 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings defensive end DJ Wonnum (98) sits on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, December 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver KJ Osborn (17) catches a touchdown pass in front of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darious Williams (11) in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, 26 December 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin (83) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams free goaltender Taylor Rapp (24) after catching a pass during the second half of an NFL football game, on Sunday, Dec.26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darious Williams (11) prepares to play in the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, December 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Rams won 30-23. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Los Angeles Rams tight end Brycen Hopkins (88) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, December 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Rams won 30-23. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) is interviewed by Fox line reporter Shannon Spake after an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, December 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Rams won 30-23. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass past Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, December 26 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) runs to Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, December 26 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) breaks a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, December 26 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

  • Los Angeles Rams’ Brandon Powell (19) runs off Minnesota Vikings punter Jordan Berry (3) on a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second half of a football game in the NFL, Sunday, December 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​(8) fumbles for the ball as it is tackled by Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) in the second half of a NFL football, Sunday, December 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Rams won 30-23. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs to Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darious Williams (11) after catching a pass during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday December 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Bruce Kluckhohn)

  • Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) intercepts a pass past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, right, in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, 26 December 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

  • Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) breaks a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, December 26 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Brandon Powell’s season story started in Heaven and got better.

“A few months ago, I was in Miami, at home, on the beach, reading a book,” Powell said Sunday. “It was my life for three weeks, not knowing what was going to happen.

“Now I’m here with the Rams for the playoffs. ”

Powell, 26, a former Florida wide receiver who rebounded in the NFL like a beach ball, helped the Rams clinch a playoff berth by returning a 61-yard punt for a fourth-quarter touchdown in the game. ‘a 30-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis.

Signed by the Rams for their practice squad in November after being released by the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, the 5-foot-8, 181-pound Powell may have been unknown to LA fans before Sunday’s exploits.

But he was on the radar of Rams general manager Les Snead. He had played for the Falcons in 2020 when Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris was on staff at Atlanta. And he was an undrafted rookie with the Lions in 2018 when Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was in Detroit.

Stafford called Powell “everything fair in NFL football, a guy who works his cock.”

“He’s got a great ability in him,” said Stafford, recalling a 103-yard game by Powell in a Lions victory at Green Bay three years ago. “Really happy for him to make a huge play in a huge game.”

Powell was in the game as a wide receiver when Stafford was about to drop to one knee to miss time.

Stafford said: “I brought him into the group and said, ‘I have to give up for this guy. “”

Before Powell made an impact on the NFC playoff run in his fourth game against the Rams on Sunday, he was making an impression on his new teammates.

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who lines up punters in some situations, trained next to Powell.

“He’s a pro,” Kupp said. “He runs his business. He wants more and more responsibility. I just think he’s a really good football player.

“I was delighted to see him grab an opportunity there and make the most of it.”

Powell wore black eyes with the words “Be” and “You” printed during Sunday’s game, and reading glasses under a hoodie afterwards.

He said the phrase came from a book he was reading, about taking charge of his life, during those weeks of inactivity in Miami.

As for Powell’s somersault in the end zone at the end of his punt return on the straight sideline, he said it wasn’t normally him.

“Normally I just give the ball to the referee and go back to the sidelines to celebrate with my teammates,” said Powell. “But today it was a blessing to see it all turn out the way it did.

“My grandma, that’s (probably) what my grandma wanted to do, which is why I did a flip,” said Powell, picturing his family watching on TV. “My dad probably pulled his hamstrings running down the street.

“I was partying for them.”

HEALTH DEPARTMENT

Running back Darrell Henderson, on the bench as Sony Michel continued to start, once carried 17 yards in the fourth quarter and limped out, apparently with a knee injury.

Rams center Brian Allen (knee) and linebacker Ernest Jones (ankle) left the game in the first half and did not return, defensive lineman Greg Gaines (hand) exited in the second half and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. limped. of an incomplete pass but continued to play.

Coach Sean McVay said he had no updates on the status of these players after the game.

NUMEROLOGY

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s 197 passing yards were his smallest this season, but enough to put him up to 12th on the career pass list at 49,448.

Stafford topped Warren Moon (49,325) on the list led by Tom Brady (83,784).

IMAGE OF the qualifiers

The victory propelled the Rams (11-4) to first place over the Arizona Cardinals (10-4) and placed them one game behind the Green Bay Packers (12-3) in the race for the NFC ranking No. 1 and home pitch throughout the playoffs.

As a potential No.2 seed, the Rams would host the Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) in the first round if the playoffs started now.

FOLLOWING

The Rams return to Baltimore to face the Ravens (8-7) in the penultimate regular season game for both teams.

The Chargers’ loss to the Houston Texans propelled the Ravens to 7th and last place in the AFC playoff order despite their 41-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.

Kevin Modesti reported from Los Angeles.

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