Brandin Cooks caught seven passes for 107 yards in the NFC Championship Game, but his biggest contribution came on a drop.
The Rams receiver intentionally dropped a third-and-seven pass from Jared Goff in overtime from the New Orleans 39-yard line, coach Sean McVay revealed Thursday. It appeared cornerback Marshon Lattimore would have tackled Cooks for a 4-yard loss, which would have made Greg Zuerlein‘s attempt 61 yards.
Zuerlein easily made the 57-yard game-winner.
“Brandin Cooks, talk about a smart football player,” McVay told reporters, via NFL.com. “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.”
Goff didn’t realize it was an intentional drop until later and said he should have thrown the ball at Cooks’ feet. Cooks saved him.
“I think it’s one of those things where you see what happened, one of the D-ends and Marshon, 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 said. “I think it was more important to save those yards, not that Greg needs them, but rather play it safe than sorry.”