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Fowler's big hit of Brees sends Rams to Super Bowl

Postgame narratives tend to bury key plays in an avalanche of takes and powerless outrage. In the aftermath of the Los Angeles Rams' overtime victory over the New Orleans Saints one key play goes overlooked.

The non-call pass interference on Tommylee Lewis will be a talking point all offseason. Jared Goff will spend the next two weeks getting sea-poems written about his heroics. And Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein earned high praise for nailing his 57-yard game-winning field goal.

Those storylines might not carry the same weight without Dante Fowler's huge hit of Drew Brees on the first possession in overtime that caused a game-changing interception.

Fowler started on the left side of the Rams D-line, bulled his way into the middle, then spun free of Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, into Brees' face. Fowler hit the quarterback upon the release, sending the ball fluttering into the air. The blow caused the pass to come up well short of its intended target and land in the grasp of L.A.'s safety John Johnson as he was falling to the turf.

"Drew Brees still had the ball in his hand and was looking downfield, which he always does -- good quarterbacks always do," Fowler said of how the play unfolded, via the team's official website. "But I think he didn't see me -- he saw me last minute. He tried to throw it and I saw his hand -- it was too late."

Johnson deserves credit for corralling the floating pigskin, but the ball isn't a wayward duck if not for Fowler's pressure.

The Ramsimported the former first-round pass rusher from the Jacksonville Jaguars at the trade deadline in exchange for a 2019 third-round pick and 2020 fifth-rounder. Following Fowler's performance in the playoffs, we could assume L.A. general manager Les Snead would do that deal again.

The pass rusher compiled five tackles, 0.5 sacks, two QB hits and a tackle for loss in Sunday's win. In the Divisional Round, Fowler added the Rams only sack to go with a tackle for loss and a QB hit. After a mostly disappointing regular season in L.A. (two sacks in eight games), Fowler surged in the postseason.

"These are big stages. I've been here last year (with Jacksonville) and I watched these games growing up and I just knew what it took. I just know the blueprint, just to really get to the quarterback, guys like these," Fowler said. "I played (Tom) Brady last year, I knew that I had to get to him -- which I did good in the first half, but I didn't in the second half and that's when they won. This second half, I told myself that wasn't going to happen again and I was able to get the opportunity in overtime and I just came up with it. I was happy that I could make the play for this team."

He made one of the biggest plays of the game in overtime which set up the Rams to kick a game-winning field goal after gaining just 15 yards.

With Fowler and Ndamukong Suh playing their best games of the season the past two weeks, the Rams' sometimes porous defense has firmed, creating a dangerous game-wrecking front. Sean McVay's team will need a repeat performance from the duo in two weeks in the Super Bowl. Perhaps Fowler can exact revenge on Brady for last year's playoff falter.

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