Sean McVay: ‘Our best players stepped up in the most crucial and critical moments’

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

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Rams coach Sean McVay, a graduate of The Marist School in DeKalb County, reflects on his team's 23-20 victory over the Bengals in Super Bowl 56.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

Excerpts from the postgame news conference with Rams coach Sean McVay. The former Marist High player won his first Super Bowl with a 23-20 victory over the Bengals.

On the resilience of the team: “I can’t say enough about the resilience of this team. Guys stepping up when they had to, and it’s going to sound like a broken record, but that’s what makes this team great. That’s why they’re world champs. Our best players stepped up in the most crucial and critical moments. You end up losing some guys, and guys were asked to step up. I just can’t say enough about how much I love this group. They play for one another. There’s something really powerful about being a part of something bigger than yourself, and you can see that in the way these guys competed.”

On being mentally prepared for the final seconds: “These guys did it. They are a mentally tough group. Give (Bengals coach) Zac Taylor and that group a lot of credit. I love Zac Taylor, and he’s a close friend of mine. They play the same way that we did, but we found a way to make a couple more plays than they did. It’s such a tribute to that group. I really just appreciate being a part of it, and these players delivered in a big way.”

On the preparation for the last drive: “It was unbelievable. We were able to go tempo, kind of regulate them and be able to play some zone. A lot of the third-down situations, they were doubling (Cooper Kupp). Especially once Odell (Beckham Jr.) went out, they were able to hone in on him. (Quarterback) Matthew (Stafford) and Cooper made the most of their opportunities in the most important and critical times. I thought the offensive line did a great job protecting, and then for (Aaron Donald) being able to finish it up. They went into the gun on the fourth-down situation and you could see that they were probably not able to run it. He had his opportunity, and he delivered in a big way. He’s a world champ.”

On his trust in Stafford: “A lot of trust in him. You wanted to put the game in one of your best players’ hands and the guy you feel like has led you to this position.”

On getting the ball to Kupp late in game: “It was a credit to he and Matthew being able to deliver a showing. I thought we were able to get him in some more regulated looks where they weren’t able to. When you’re able to go fast, it did some things to be able to help him get those touches, but they were still tight window throws.”

On his fourth-and-1 decision: “You know what, sometimes you go with a gut feel. I felt like based on the way they had played some of those short-yardage situations that Kupp would have a chance to circle the defense. They defended it really well, but it was a great player making a great play. We don’t make that play, we’re not sitting up here winning that game, for sure. Big-time play.”

On how he feels about winning a Super Bowl: “I would say this, I think the biggest thing that I’ve realized about this group is that you’re reminded of your real purpose. There’s a difference between passion and purpose. The purpose is when you’re doing it because you want to see the other people that you love and care so much about succeed more than yourself. Everybody’s got some innately selfish things, but I am so proud to be associated with this group. … I love this group so much. I love these coaches, and that drives you to try and be your best with the framework of your role. I think that’s what made this team special. I say a lot of stuff, at the moment that’s how I felt, you get over it. As a competitor you have to be able to do that. Certainly, this was really satisfying to see these guys and to see the looks on their faces.”