Murray keeps Cardinals unbeaten with 37-20 rout of Rams
Murray keeps Cardinals unbeaten with 37-20 rout of Rams.
Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals proved they’re no longer the NFC West’s yearly afterthought in every quarter of a dominating win on the Rams‘ home field.
With an offence that can run up the score on anybody and a defence that eventually outsmarted Sean McVay,
the Cardinals have pushed their way to the top of this ultra-competitive division.
Murray threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns and added 39 yards on the ground as the Cardinals won 37-20 against the Rams on Sunday,
extending their best winning streak since 2012.
For Arizona (4-0), A.J. Green grabbed a 41-yard touchdown pass, Chase Edmonds ran for 120 yards,
and James Conner carried for two short touchdowns,
ending the Rams‘ eight-game winning run in the rivalry under McVay’s tenure.
The Cardinals haven’t won the division or had a winning season since 2015,
but they’re off to a great start in 2021, highlighted by this rout of the previously undefeated Rams.
Byron Murphy Jr., who had an interception in the first half, said, “I feel like as a team, we’re working towards something.”
“How long had it been since we had defeated the Rams? I’m not sure what the actual figure is.
How about five years? However, this is something that is unquestionably growing.”
Despite spending three of their first four games on the road, Kliff Kingsbury’s Cards dominated the Rams‘ defence,
racking up 465 total yards and scoring touchdowns following two early turnovers to cement their position as a contender.
Murray said, “I’m not too concerned about what other people think.”
“I believe the players in the locker room have a good understanding of what we’re doing,
what we’re capable of, and where we can go.”
Murray, who went 24 for 32 and frequently tormented the Rams defence while the Cards scored on seven of eight drives following a game-opening punt,
threw a touchdown throw to Maxx Williams.
Arizona’s defence produced many key plays, including stopping Matthew Stafford and the Rams on downs at the 1 with 12:05 left to clinch the team’s first win against the Rams since January 1, 2017.
Arizona and Las Vegas are the only undefeated teams in the NFL,
with the Chargers visiting SoFi Stadium on Monday night.
The Cardinals celebrated their victory on the same field,
but their postgame remarks were largely reserved.
“Not a claim,” Kingsbury said. “We wanted to improve for a week.
The games in the division are crucial. We need to keep playing tough football and clean up our act.”
For the first time since 2018, Stafford finished 26 of 41 for 280 yards and two touchdowns in his first poor game for the Rams (3-1), who failed to start 4-0.
Los Angeles delivered an awful effort on both sides of the ball one week after a statement win against reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay on the same field.
Stafford said, “This is a prove-it (sport), and you have to go out there and do it every time.”
“I couldn’t do it today since I wasn’t up to it.
We definitely weren’t good enough as a team in terms of going out and executing every single play.”
Although Van Jefferson grabbed an early touchdown throw and Robert Woods made a TD catch with 1:14 remaining,
Stafford’s connections with his receivers were often awry.
Despite Darrell Henderson’s 89 yards on 14 rushes — his second-best performance of his career — against a team that has struggled to stop the run this season, McVay often abandoned his running game.
The past season, the Rams had the best defence in the NFL in terms of yards allowed and points allowed,
but they’ve given up 911 yards and 61 points in the last two games.
Murray’s defence had few answers for him, as he regularly found open receivers or gained yards on his own.
McVay said, “That’s the athleticism and just the tremendous playmaker that he is.” “We could have done a few things better in a number of situations, but you have to give him credit.” He’s a game-changer.”
SECURITY OF THE BALL
In the first half, Arizona scored touchdowns following both of Los Angeles’ turnovers, giving them a plus-5 turnover differential for the season.
Murphy intercepted Stafford’s underthrown ball to DeSean Jackson, which led to Green’s long touchdown reception. Williams’ touchdown grab capped a drive that started with a fumble by Sony Michel and featured an outstanding first-down scramble by Murray on 3rd and 16.
“We’re doing the best we can to preserve the football,” Kingsbury said.
Stafford struggled to deliver the ball to Cooper Kupp, the NFL’s leading receiver, who only had five receptions for 64 yards on a staggering 13 targets. The Cards were well aware of Stafford’s reliance on Kupp early in their first season together.
Murphy said of Kupp, “We know what kind of player he is.” “It was stressed this week because we know he’s a favourite target on third downs.”
REPORT OF AN INJURY
Murphy hurt his ribs in the first half but came back to play the rest of the game. In the Cardinals’ first four games, he has three interceptions.