Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams overcome turnovers and mistakes but must play cleaner

Matthew Stafford overcame three turnovers to produce a game-winning drive that lifted the Los Angeles Rams to a 20-19 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The next hurdle the quarterback stared down: the potential of a spotty Wi-Fi connection during the team charter's return to Los Angeles and the possibility of not seeing how the Arizona Cardinals-Dallas Cowboys matchup would play out.

"Sometimes the pilot gives us updates," Stafford said, smiling. "So hopefully he can be current with his updates. ... Grew up a Cowboy fan, a Cowboy fan tonight."

The Rams were at 36,000 feet somewhere over central West Virginia when the Cardinals defeated the Cowboys, which -- at least temporarily -- squashed their hopes of clinching a third NFC West title in five seasons under coach Sean McVay.

"It would be phenomenal," receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said before takeoff about the potential of winning the division. "I don't think in my career I've been a conference champ or anything like that, so it definitely would be a true accomplishment."

With a playoff berth in hand, the Rams have another chance to win the division in their regular-season finale next Sunday at home versus the San Francisco 49ers (9-7), to whom they've lost five straight. The Cardinals (11-5) will host the Seattle Seahawks (6-10) at State Farm Stadium. The Rams can clinch with a win over the Niners or a Cardinals loss to the Seahawks.

On Sunday, the Rams departed Baltimore uncertain of their division fate. But despite getting to 12 wins for the second time in McVay's five years as coach, they know they have to play better to reach their Super Bowl goal.

"We found a lot of different ways to do things that we can't do as we move forward," McVay said. "But we ended up overcoming it."

Stafford turned in another up-and-down performance, while receiver Cooper Kupp continued to log a historic season. The defense, despite some inner turmoil, came through in clutch moments.

"The resilience continues to shine through," McVay said. "It certainly wasn't perfect."

Stafford completed 26 of 35 passes for 309 yards and two touchdown passes with two interceptions, and a lost fumble deep in Ravens territory. It was his second consecutive game with multiple turnovers and his fifth this season.

"I hate going over all of these, to be honest with you," Stafford said while explaining the scenarios that caused each turnover. "I am tired of doing it."

Stafford watched as safety Chuck Clark intercepted a first-quarter pass and returned it for a 17-yard touchdown. In the second quarter, Stafford launched a deep ball for Beckham, who was surrounded by purple jerseys, which Clark also picked off. Finally, in the third quarter, Stafford took pressure from the right side, was strip-sacked by Baltimore outside linebacker Tyus Bowser and lost a fumble.

Thirteen of the Ravens' 19 points were earned off Rams turnovers.

Stafford now has four interceptions returned for a touchdown this season, the most in the NFL and tied for the most of any season in his 13-year career (he also threw four in 2012). His four pick-sixes equals the number that quarterback Jared Goff threw during his five seasons in Los Angeles before the Rams traded him, along with two first-round picks, to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Stafford this past offseason.

"There are some things that we need to get better at," McVay said. "And he would be the first person to tell you that. I thought he was at his best when his best was required."

Despite the eye-popping turnover numbers, Stafford also leads the NFL in another crucial category: game-winning drives since 2009.

He produced the 42nd of his career Sunday against the Ravens, leading a nine-play, 75-yard drive that he capped with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Beckham with 57 seconds left to give the Rams a one-point victory.

"Know that they believe in me to make those plays," said Beckham, who also caught a critical 5-yard pass on fourth-and-5 to sustain the winning drive. "Just finding a way to dig deep. It wasn't our best day, find a way to dig deep and get the win."

"I love that situation, to be honest with you," Stafford said about the opportunity to win the game. "I like to take a knee in the fourth quarter a whole lot more. There is no question about that. But second to that, is that situation."

Stafford went 14-for-14 in the second half.

Kupp finished with six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, becoming the Rams' single-season receiving yards record holder after breaking Isaac Bruce's mark of 1,781 yards in 1995. With his 15th touchdown reception of the season, Kupp also joined elite company, becoming the fourth player in NFL history with 100 receptions, 1,500 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns in a single season, along with Randy Moss (2003), Marvin Harrison (2001) and Jerry Rice (1995).

Defensively, the Rams overcame a troubling start that saw cornerback Jalen Ramsey and safety Taylor Rapp get into a momentary altercation on the field. The secondary appeared divided on the sideline following the drive, but McVay said cooler heads prevailed.

"Two great competitors. They both wanted to do right. There was a little bit of a mix-up there," McVay said. "They moved on. I don't think it affected our ability to move forward."

Safety Jordan Fuller later recorded his first interception of the season, which the offense converted into an 18-yard touchdown reception by Kupp to get the Rams on the board before halftime, slicing Baltimore's lead to 10-7.

Outside linebacker Von Miller, who was acquired in a blockbuster trade ahead of the trade deadline in November, came through with a timely sack of quarterback Tyler Huntley on Baltimore’s final drive of the game that halted any chance of a last-second Ravens victory.