Stafford throws for three TDs as Rams edge Cardinals
GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Los Angeles Rams edged the Arizona Cardinals 30-23 late Monday, Dec. 13.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray finished with 444 total yards and two interceptions while running back James Conner added two touchdowns.
Rams quarterback Matt Stafford finished with 287 yards and three touchdowns as Arizona missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot.
The Cardinals seemed to get into a groove early in the game, but after three incomplete passes by Murray the Cardinals settled for a field goal from Matt Prater on the opening drive, taking an early 3-0 lead. The Cardinals defense slowed the Rams’ dynamic offense after a quick three-and-out.
However, the Rams defense throttled Murray and the Cardinals in the first quarter.
As the Cardinals were marching down the field at first-and-goal, Rams linebacker Ernest Jones read Murray’s eyes and intercepted a short screen pass intended for tight end Zach Ertz. Jones returned the interception for 31 yards, giving the Rams the momentum they were searching for after the slow start.
The Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Suns are a lot more fun to talk about than politics and COVID-19 vaccines.
After the interception, Rams jumped on the board after a 2-yard pass from Stafford to veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, giving the Rams a 7-3 lead to open up the second quarter.
Murray and the Cardinals had a couple tricks up their sleeves though. With just over 6 minutes in the second quarter, Murray launched a 41-yard pass to Christian Kirk, setting up the Cardinals at the Rams 22-yard line. On third-and-goal, Murray threw to Ertz, who caught it just short at the goal line. Murray and the Cardinals decided to go for it on fourth down, and their decision paid off. Running back James Conner broke through the plane to tie the game at 10 apiece.
The Rams offense would not be silenced in the third quarter. A 52-yard bomb from Stafford to Van Jefferson gave the Rams a 20-17 lead. The Rams defense did not let up on Murray either on the next drive, with Rams linebacker Leonard Floyd picking off Murray once again. Rams quickly capitalized on the turnover with a short pass from Stafford to Cooper Kupp, and the Rams took a 27-13 lead.
The Red Birds came to life early in the fourth quarter, once again, thanks to a 36-yard deep pass from Murray to A.J. Green, which set up the Cardinals on the Rams 8-yard line. Conner found an open hole through the Rams line for his second touchdown of the night, cutting the lead to 27-20. On the following drive, a sack by Cardinals Jordan Phillips on Stafford stopped the Rams potential touchdown drive, holding them to a field goal. Rams took a 30-20 lead with just over 7 minutes in the fourth quarter.
However, Cardinals valiant effort was not enough for the win, and the Red Birds fell at home, dropping to 10-3 on the season. The Red Birds will travel to Detroit next Sunday to take on the Lions at 11 a.m.
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