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  • Lindsey ThiryESPN Close
    • Covered Rams for two years for Los Angeles Times
    • Previously covered the Falcons
    • Has covered the NBA and college football and basketball

NEW ORLEANS — Jared Goff is typically poised under pressure and rarely displays emotion.

But even the Los Angeles Rams quarterback let loose Sunday, even if just for a few moments, after an improbable come-from-behind overtime victory against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints to win the NFC Championship Game and advance to the Super Bowl.

"Very excited, man," Goff said, shortly after he took part in a quick dance party with teammates inside the visitor's locker room. "Get to play in the Super Bowl and we earned it."

The Rams will play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.

Goff, 24, is the fourth-youngest quarterback to win in the conference championship round, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And as the top overall pick in 2016, Goff will become the only quarterback taken first overall to start a Super Bowl by his third season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"He's the commander in chief, other than Coach McVay," Todd Gurley said. "He did his thing, man, and we really appreciate him."

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Gurley gets emotional after NFC Championship Game win

Todd Gurley II tears up after the Rams beat the Saints to earn a spot in Super Bowl LIII.

Said coach Sean McVay: "Jared's mental toughness was a big part of us being able to win that today."

Throughout the season, Goff displayed an even-keeled demeanor as the Rams got off to an 11-1 start, and his behavior did not change amid back-to-back losses and a personal three-game slump.

So it came as little surprise Sunday that the third-year pro maintained composure despite a shaky start.

Before taking the field inside the raucous Superdome, Goff said his helmet speaker quit functioning, and he was forced to use backup quarterback Sean Mannion's helmet in the first series, which lasted three plays and ended with an intercepted pass. Even after the equipment staff repaired the helmet, Goff said he was unable to hear and communicate because of the crowd noise. It was evident as the Rams stumbled through the first quarter and the Saints scored 13-unanswered points.

Eventually, the Rams put tape over the holes in Goff's helmet to eliminate as much noise as possible, and Goff found a way to get the offense in sync.

"Trying to communicate, it was difficult," Goff said. "But I think once we got into a rhythm, outside those first two or three drives, felt pretty good. I think once I was able to kind of settle in and really understand what was coming in the helmet and kind of anticipate some stuff and try to be very direct with where I needed to say it to."

Goff orchestrated a seven-play, 81-yard touchdown drive at the end of the first half to pull the Rams within 13-10. In the second half, Goff delivered a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Higbee and later — trailing by three points late in the fourth quarter — delivered a 19-yard pass to Josh Reynolds and a 16-yard pass to Robert Woods to move the Rams into field goal territory, where Greg Zuerlein would kick a field goal to force overtime.

"No matter what was going on, we looked to his face, and he was so calm and relaxed," receiver Brandin Cooks said of Goff. "That's a special player."

Goff completed 25 of 40 passes for 297 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the 26-23 overtime victory. And, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, Goff made some of his best plays in the toughest situations. He completed a career-best seven passes from outside the pocket, including 4-of-4 for 71 yards and a touchdown in the second half and overtime.

Even though Goff started the game 2-of-6 with an interception while under duress, he completed his last four attempts for 90 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime.

"Jared was Jared," center John Sullivan said. "He's calm, cool, collected. He's an incredibly poised guy."

The Rams traded up from the 15th pick to No. 1 overall in 2016 to select Goff, who started three seasons at California. As a rookie, Goff made seven winless starts as the Rams stumbled to a 4-12 season, and coach Jeff Fisher was fired.

But in his second season, and in McVay's first as coach, Goff led the Rams to 11 wins and an NFC West title.

His upward trend continued this season as Goff helped the Rams secure back-to-back division titles for the first time since 1979, and he has led the organization to its first Super Bowl appearance since the 2001 season.

"We're sure glad he's our quarterback, have a lot of belief in him," McVay said. "I think when you just look at the trajectory of his career, what he's done over the last two years, since our coaching staff has had a chance to work with him, we feel like he certainly has been one of the best quarterbacks in this league, and I wouldn't want anyone else leading this football team."

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