Brandon Powell (L) celebrates with Mike Hoecht Sunday.

The Los Angeles Rams are heading to the NFL playoffs again, and a punt return from Brandon Howell is a big part of the reason why. Howell’s 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter put the Rams up 20-10 on the Minnesota Vikings, en route to a 30-23 win (their fourth consecutive victory). Here’s that return:

Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford said afterwards the team took a moment to recognize Powell even before the final whistle:

The Rams’ win here improved their season record to 11-4 and clinched a playoff berth. They haven’t yet clinched their division, but the 10-5 Arizona Cardinals’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts Saturday put the Rams in good shape there. We’ll see what happens in their two season-closing games against the Baltimore Ravens (next Sunday) and the San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, Jan. 9). But Powell’s return here certainly played a big role in boosting their chances of winning the division.

[NFL.com; photo from Jeffrey Becker/USA Today Sports]

 

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.