INGLEWOOD, Calif. — In every quarter of a major win at the Rams’ home turf, Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals confirm they are no longer an annual consideration at the NFC West.
The unbeaten cards made their way in front of this highly competitive division with an offense that could drive the score on anyone, combined with a defense that Sean McVay managed to beat.
Murray passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 39 more yards, and the Cardinals made their longest perfect start since 2012 with a 37-20 win over Los Angeles on Sunday.
AJ Green caught a 41-yard TD pass, Chase Edmonds ran for 120 yards and James Conner ran for Arizona (4-0) for two short scores, marking eight consecutive wins in rivalry during McVay’s career Rams streak. terminated.
The Cards haven’t won the division or had a winning record since 2015, but they are making a roaring start to 2021, highlighted by this blow from an already unbeaten Rams.
“I think as a team, we’re headed for something,” said cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., who made the interception in the first half. “In how many years had we not defeated the rams? I don’t know the exact number. five years? But it’s definitely something growing.”
Cliff Kingsbury’s cards won with style, lighting the Rams’ defense for 465 total yards and scoring touchdowns after two early takeaways to confirm their status as a contender despite playing their first four games on the road. .
“Really not too concerned about what other people think,” Murray said. “I think the people in the locker room understand what we’re doing, what we’re capable of and where we can take it.”
Max Williams caught a TD pass from Murray, who scored 24 for 32 and repeatedly disappointed the Rams’ defence, while Cards scored seven for eight after the game-opening punt. The Arizona defense made several big plays, and it sealed the team’s first win over the Rams since January 1, 2017, stopping Matthew Stafford and the LA offense to play 1 at 12:05.
The NFL’s only remaining unbeaten teams are Arizona and Las Vegas, who face the Chargers at Sophie Stadium on Monday night. The Cardinals celebrated their victory on the same ground, but buttons were mostly pressed in post-game comments.
Stafford scored 26 of 41 for 280 yards and two touchdowns in his first unimpressive game for the Rams (3-1), who failed to start 4-0 for the first time since 2018. A week after a statement victory over defending Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay, Los Angeles on the same ground put up an ugly display on both sides of the ball.
“It’s a prove-it (sport), and you have to go out there and do it every time,” Stafford said. “I wasn’t good enough at doing that today. I think as a team, we probably weren’t good enough to go out in every single game and get it done.”
Van Jefferson caught an early TD pass and Robert Woods grabbed a TD with 1:14 to play, but Stafford was often close in his connection with his receivers. McVay regularly dropped his running game despite Darrell Henderson’s 89 yards—the second best performance of his career—on just 14 carries against a defense that didn’t hold up well this season.
The Rams had the NFL’s No. 1 defense and allowed points last season, but have conceded 911 yards and 61 points in the past two weeks. The Los Angeles defense had few answers for Murray, who consistently found open receivers or raised his own yard.
“He’s athleticism and he’s just a great playmate,” McVay said. “There were some instances where we think we could have been better, but you have to give him credit. He’s a playwright.”
Arizona scored a touchdown after both Los Angeles turnovers in the first half, and the Cardinals now have a plus-5 turnover gap this season.
Green’s long TD catch came after Murphy passed Stafford’s underthrow pass to Deason Jackson. Williams’ TD catch resulted in a drive that began with a fumble from Sonny Mitchell and included an extraordinary first-down scramble by Murray to 3 and 16.
Stafford had trouble getting the ball to NFL receiving leader Cooper Kupp, who ended up with only five catches on only 13 goals for 64 yards. Stafford has relied heavily on Kupp at the start of his first season, and the Cards knew.
“We know what kind of player he is,” Murphy said of Kupp. “This week, it was emphasized because we know on the third down, he is a favorite target.”
Murphy injured his ribs in the first half, but returned to the game. He has three interceptions in the Cardinals’ first four games.
Cardinals: Host the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday.
Rams: Thursday night a week before the Seattle Seahawks leave.
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