Chiefs take out Colts in the AFC:


By Harry Allison

C. J. Anderson rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns and Todd Gurley (above) rushed for 115 yards and another touchdown in the first playoff victory for the Los Angeles Rams in 14 years — a 30-22 win over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC divisional round on Saturday night.

The Rams will host next Sunday’s NFC title game against either the Eagles or Saints, who play tonight.

Gurley and Anderson punished the Cowboys’ normally sturdy run defense and sent the second-seeded Rams to the conference championship game for the first time in 17 years. Los Angeles gained a franchise playoff-record 273 yards on the ground — also the most ever allowed in the postseason by the Cowboys, who were playing in their NFL record 63rd postseason game.

The long-struggling franchise had won only one postseason game since its last trip to the Super Bowl, as the St. Louis Rams in February 2002, but it has had a spectacular turnaround under Sean McVay, its 32-year-old coach.

Ezekiel Elliott rushed for a touchdown and Amari Cooper caught an early scoring pass for the Cowboys (11-7), who have not won a playoff game on the road in 26 years. After winning the N.F.C. East and beating Seattle last week, Dallas lost in the divisional playoff round for the sixth consecutive time and fell short of its first trip to the N.F.C. Championship game since January 1993.

The Rams are one win from another Super Bowl trip after McVay’s high-flying, inventive offense largely kept it on the ground, methodically shredding the Cowboys’ defense with their unlikely running back tandem.

“It’s scary,” Anderson said. “We’ve got two different styles, and we can keep teams off balance.”

The Cowboys, who largely shut down Seattle’s league-best rushing attack last week, had not allowed two 100-yard rushers in a playoff game since the N.F.L.’s merger with the American Football League in 1970.

Dak Prescott passed for 266 yards, and he rushed for a touchdown with 2 minutes 11 seconds to play, but the Cowboys could not climb out after falling into a 23-7 hole midway through the third quarter. Elliott managed just 47 yards on 20 carries as Dallas lost for the second time in 10 games.

Jared Goff passed for 186 yards and spent much of the night handing off, but the gangly quarterback improbably scrambled 11 yards for a first down with 1:51 to play, essentially wrapping up his first playoff victory.

“Incredible what they did today,” Goff said of his offensive line. “We know this defense and we prepared for it well all week.”

It was also the first postseason victory for the anchor of that line, 37-year-old left tackle Andrew Whitworth, and the veteran defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.

Gurley and Anderson became the fourth set of teammates in N.F.L. history to rush for 100 yards apiece in a postseason game, an improbable development just a few weeks ago. Gurley is the Rams’ offensive centerpiece and one of the league’s elite running backs, but Anderson is a veteran playing only his third game with the Rams after signing last month when Gurley was struggling with a knee injury.

They ran with equal verve while Los Angeles racked up more yards than the Cowboys had allowed on the ground all season. Dallas had not given up 200 yards in a playoff game since Eric Dickerson did it for the Rams in 1986.

But with the Rams’ veteran offensive line cutting holes in the Cowboys’ defense, Anderson became the third Rams player with more than 100 yards and two rushing scores in a game, joining Dickerson and Marshall Faulk.

Three years to the day after the NFL approved the Rams’ return to Los Angeles, the franchise earned its first playoff victory since coming home after 21 years in St. Louis.

The Rams chewed up the ground and the clock on four lengthy scoring drives in the first half. They kept it up after halftime, particularly on a decisive 12-play, 65-yard drive in the fourth quarter capped by Anderson’s 1-yard touchdown plunge on fourth down with 7:16 to play.

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