Brandin Cooks caught seven passes for 107 yards in the NFC Championship Game, but it was one pass that he didn't catch that propelled the Los Angeles Rams to victory.
When the Rams took over possession following an interception in overtime, Jared Goff threw a third-down pass to Cooks, who was four yards behind the line of scrimmage.
When it appeared certain that the play would be blown up, Cooks dropped a perfectly thrown ball by Goff.
"Brandin Cooks, talk about a smart football player," Sean McVay said. "Having the presence when I give him a terrible play call on the third down to drop it, knowing that it would have been a terrible play where he intentionally drops it."
"I think it's one of those things where you see what happened, one of the D-ends and Marshon [Lattimore], the way that they played it, being able to be in the backfield before I technically really was able to catch the ball and get upfield," Cooks explained, "I think it was more important to save those yards, not that Greg (Zuerlein) needs them, but rather play it safe than sorry."
Zuerlein won the game with a 57-yard field goal on the next play. Had Cooks caught the pass, the attempt would have been more than 60 yards.
"Yeah, I was not aware at the time that he did that intentionally," Goff said. "Afterwards, I found out that that was a pre-decision. I probably shouldn't have even thrown it to him. I should've just thrown it at his feet. But yeah, it was smart. Saved us about four yards there, made that kick 57 (yards) instead of 61. I think Greg would've made it from there, but I don't think we want to even chance that. So it was a good decision by him."