The Los Angeles Rams‘ 2021-22 Super Bowl run was one that fans won’t soon forget. After winning the NFC West, the Rams then ran the table in the postseason, including beating the Cincinnati Bengals to win the championship at home at SoFi Stadium.
The Rams’ strategy for building a championship team was well-documented, trading a number of draft picks for stars and known commodities, making for a top-heavy roster.
L.A. received a lot of criticism for that strategy in the years leading up to that Super Bowl win, although winning it all finally silenced those critics.
The main reason the strategy paid off for the Rams is that their stars like Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Odell Backham Jr., Aaron Donald and Von Miller showed up when it mattered most.
It takes more than that to win a Super Bowl though, and the Rams had a number of players step up outside of their stars. So with that, here are five unsung heroes from L.A.’s championship run.
Just before the start of the playoffs, the Rams lost both of their starting safeties in Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp to injury. That forced Nick Scott, a former seventh-round pick who only had one career start to his name, into a starting role in the postseason.
Scott started all four postseason games, playing 100% of the snaps on defense and coming up with some huge plays. That includes a massive hit on AJ Green in the first round and then intercepting the GOAT Tom Brady in the second round. Overall in the postseason, Scott had 14 tackles and three passes defensed.
Scott wasn’t the only unexpected safety to come up big for the Rams in the playoffs as Eric Weddle fits that billing as well.
Weddle retired after playing the 2019 season with the Rams. Almost two years later, he got a phone call from his former team after Fuller and Rapp went down asking if he was interested in one final run.
Having never won a Super Bowl, Weddle accepted the invitation and was practicing with the Rams the next day. What he proceeded to do in the postseason, where the stakes are highest, is almost unheard of.
After playing 34% of the snaps in the opening round, that number increased to 85% in the second round and then 100% in the final two games, including the Super Bowl.
Weddle had 18 total tackles in the four playoff games, and that includes leading the team with nine tackles against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
After sitting on the couch and watching football for two years, Weddle finished his career with a storybook ending – winning the Super Bowl at 38 years of age. Hopefully someone already has the movie rights to this story because I would absolutely go see it.
Kendall Blanton/Brycen Hopkins
The next unsung hero for the Super Bowl Champion Rams is a combination of backup tight ends Kendall Blanton and Brycen Hopkins.
L.A.’s starting tight end, Tyler Higbee, was banged up toward the end of the season and wound up missing the Super Bowl.
Neither Blanton nor Hopkins contributed much during the regular season. But in the divisional round against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Blanton caught his first career touchdown. He then followed that up with five receptions for 57 yards in the NFC Championship Games, making a couple of big catches during the game-winning drive.
Hopkins then took over that role with four big catches for 47 yards in the Super Bowl.
Van Jefferson is not necessarily an unsung hero for what he did on the field, although he did have a career year for the Rams in 2021 with over 800 yards.
What makes Jefferson an unsung hero is that he played in the Super Bowl knowing his wife was about to go into labor.
In another story that is fit for the movies, Jefferson’s wife went into labor right at the end of the game. When Jefferson was celebrating with his teammates after the Super Bowl victory, someone came running up to him on the field to tell him that his wife was headed to the hospital. He got there as quickly as he could to see the birth of his son, who has a very fitting name: Champ.
While Sony Michel didn’t contribute much in the playoffs after Cam Akers returned, he was instrumental in getting the Rams back on track after their winless November. In the team’s final six regular season games, Michel rushed for 540 yards and three touchdowns while helping the offense rediscover its identity going into the postseason.