INGLEWOOD (CBSLA) — With the Los Angeles Rams playing host in their matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in the final playoff game of Wild Card Weekend - the first playoff game ever held at SoFi Stadium - thousands of Angelenos flooded the stadium in preparation for what was an electric matchup between fierce NFC West rivals.
As usual, the star power of Los Angeles was out in force as Will Ferrel, Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra, Sugar Ray Leonard and Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union could be seen in the stands. Current stars from sports other than football were on hand as well, including the likes of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Mookie Betts.
The two teams traded spots in the standings throughout the season, with the Rams ending up as division champions. The two faced-off twice this season, splitting the series 1-to-1.
Arizona took the Week 4 matchup on Oct. 3, 37-20, on the back of a 268 yard, 2 touchdown performance from Kyler Murray and nearly 270 rushing yards. Matt Stafford answered with his own two touchdowns, and a 280-yard performance, but one interception was a part of the two turnovers the Rams had, leading to their defeat.
They wouldn't see each other again until Dec. 3 in Week 14, when the two would go down-to-the-wire, with the Rams emerging victorious, 30-23. Stafford threw for three touchdowns and 287 yards, and a change of fate, the Rams defense - despite allowing nearly 400 yards passing to Murray - would pick the quarterback off twice and sack him four times on their way to a game that ending up clinching them the division.
As fate would have it, they met on Monday night in an eventful showdown between two of the NFC's top teams, with the Rams emerging victorious in front of their hometown faithful, 34-11.
With the game slated to begin at 5:15, Rams fans were on scene hours ahead of time to tailgate and remind the league that SoFi Stadium is the Rams' house - with the Super Bowl set to take place in the same location in less than a month.
Rams' fan Corbin Paul spoke with CBS reporters ahead of the showdown to discuss how nice it was to see the Rams play playoff football in front of their home crowd, "It feels good," he said, "It feels real good to see the atmosphere here in Inglewood. I've been watching this stadium being built since day one."
As fans continued to pile into the stadium, they noted the electric atmosphere and the energy surrounding them, "This is my first NFL game ever. I'm super excited - you know I'm a California native but I've never been to SoFi Stadium," said Kam Blount, another Rams fan. "The energy and the atmosphere is just really right," she continued.
The Rams will now face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, following their steep 34-11 victory.
CBSLA's Jake Reiner was on the scene after the victory, where he spoke to overjoyed fans as they filed out of SoFi Stadium.
One fan didn't hold back after the Rams' dominant performance, "I thought it was a ton of fun! The Rams showed up - honestly, it felt like they were playing a college team," she said, "Sorry, Cardinals. You didn't do your best."
Others noted the electric atmosphere that could be felt both inside and outside of the NFL's newest stadium. "Energetic," said another fan on Monday night, "What an amazing stadium."
That sentiment was echoed again:
"The stadium is beautiful - really fun energy. It was a blast, honestly."
"It was great. It's a great family environment. It's great to get everybody together, just the camaraderie and the energy - you can't get that sitting at home! You get the comforts of home, but there's something about being around a big crowd, everyone cheering. It just brings out the best in everybody."
One thing was for sure on Monday night following the victory: Los Angeles fans are ready for more.
Should they continue throughout the playoffs, they stand a chance to become just the second team in the history of the NFL to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
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