The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Rams 27-17 in a backup quarterback battle. The Rams’ Matthew Stafford was out with a concussion and the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Colt McCoy started for the Cardinals while John Wolford started for the home team.
The Cardinals improved to 4-6 year-over-year while the defending Super Bowl champion fell to 3-6. In addition to losing another crucial division game, the Rams also lost All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Kupp, who ended the game with three catches for -1 yards (no misprint!), appeared to aggravate his right ankle in the third quarter and didn’t return. He originally injured that ankle late in a Week 8 blowout loss to the 49ers.
The game started slowly offensively, with only one field goal at a time until the end of the second quarter, when the Cardinals finally got into the end zone. James Conner was ultimately to thank for the TD, who came in with a 4-yard rush.
The Cardinals got some momentum from the first touchdown and came back before the end of the half to score another goal, this time in a McCoy pass to AJ Green.
The Cardinals already have their support and after an injury to McCoy in the third quarter, they were forced to bring in their QB Trace McSorley from the third row. McCoy later rejoined the game.
Why the Cardinals won
The Cardinals didn’t come out with momentum, with just a field goal on the board as the second quarter wound down, but once they found their rhythm, their game changed wildly. In less than two minutes, the Cardinals scored two touchdowns, made a statement, took a solid lead, and went into halftime with momentum.
McCoy showed he can throw some tough shots, finishing the game for 238 yards and a touchdown, despite being out of the game for a time with an injury. When McCoy went out for a couple of games and Trace McSorley came in, the offense adjusted and didn’t make any crucial mistakes with their third stringer.
The matchup featured was DeAndre Hopkins vs. Jalen Ramsey, and D-Hop was able to make a lot of plays against coverage, which ultimately made a big difference on offense. Hopkins finished the day with 98 yards on 10 receptions. James Conner was the rushing leader with 69 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
Why the Rams lost
The Rams only got into the end zone once before their trash time TD, which rarely gets you a win in the NFL these days. Their second touchdown late in the game wasn’t nearly enough to win, and they needed to have that efficiency in the red before it was too late.
They also had two turnovers that day, a fumble and an interception, another stat that’s hard to come by and win in this league.
Los Angeles struggled on the ground and its rushing leader, Cam Akers, had just 22 yards on six carries.
The Rams fought particularly offensively in the second quarter, with no first downs in the quarter, as they took the ball at halftime with less than two minutes left.
The Rams’ defense did a good job of stopping the Cardinals early in the game but gave up two touchdowns with two minutes remaining at halftime. The offense never caught up, and the Cardinals didn’t lose that lead for the rest of the game.
Arizona’s second touchdown really set the tone for the game and the offense, running twice over the Rams defense in two minutes, further proved who was the more experienced and prepared quarterback on the day. The TD was a 6-yard reception from AJ Green that gave Arizona a comfortable 17-3 lead into the half.
game of the game
This incredible catch, which set up James Conner’s second touchdown of the day, is an easy game of the game pick.
The Cardinals host the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football on November 21. Whether or not Murray can play again will be the main story to watch.
The Rams travel to New Orleans next week to face the Saints, who lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.