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Cardinals @ Rams Preview

Setting the Stage
A narrow defeat by the Niners (on a Robbie Gould 33 yd FG on the last play of regulation) broke a 31 31 tie and cost the Rams a playoff spot. Cards followed up a decisive win over the Browns with an equally impressive win over the Seahawks in Seattle.


Most Recent Game
The 8 & 7 Rams lost to the 12 & 3 Niners on the final play of the game when SF's Robbie Gould booted a 33 yd FG to break open a 31 - 31 tie. If there's one thing that leaps out it would be the two long SF running plays (Samuel for 19 yds/Mostert for 16 yards). Those plus a 46 yd Warner interception return made the difference in this football game.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

LA - TD - Cooks - 10 Yds Pass fr Goff - Rams 7 - Niners 0

SF - FG - Gould - 26 yds - Rams 7 - Niners 3

FIRST QUARTER SCORE: Rams 7 - Niners 3

2nd Quarter

LA - TD - Gurley - 5 yd run - Rams 14 - Niners 3

SF - TD - Samuel- 19 Yd run - Rams 14 - Niners 10

LA - TD - Gurley - 1 yd run - Rams 21 - Niners 10

SF - TD - Mostert - 16 yd run -Rams 21 - Niners 17

SF - TD - Warner - 46 yd Interception return - Niners 24 - Rams 21

2ND QUARTER SCORE: Niners 24 - Rams 21

3rd Quarter

LA - TD - Kupp - 22 yd pass fr Goff - Rams 28 - Niners 24

3RD QUARTER SCORE: Rams 28 - Niners 24

4th Quarter

SF - TD - Kittle - 7 Yd pass fr Garoppolo - SF 31 - Rams 28

LA - FG - Zuerlein, 52 yds - Niners 31 - Rams 31

SF - FG (Final Play) - Gould - 33 yds - Niners 34 - Rams 31

4th QUARTER SCORE: Niners 34 - Rams 31


Rams in a Nutshell
s up).

QB ...16 Goff...05 Bortles

Running Backs
RB....30 Gurley II..34 M Brown...27 Henderson Jr

Wide Receivers
WR...18 Kupp...14 Webster
WR ...12 Cooks...88 M Thomas
WR...17 Woods...83 Reynolds

Tight Ends
TE...89 Higbee...81 Everett...82 Mundt...86 Blanton

Offensive Line
LT....77 Whitworth...67 Brewer
LG...63 Corbett
OC...66 Blythe...65 Shelton
RG...73 Edwards....64 Demby
RT....79 Havenstein...71 Evans

Cardinal Defense

Defensive Interior Line
LDE - 92 Kerr...91 Dogbe
NT - 98 Peters...M Brown
RDE - 94 Reid

SAM - 55 C Jones...43 Reddick...57 Dora
ILB - ..59 Walker...47 Turner...44 Bierra
MLB - 58 Hicks, 42 Gardeck
WILL - 54 Marsh Sr...49 Fitts

Defensive Backs
RCB - 33 Murphy...30 J Davis...22 Chachere
LCB - 21 P Peterson... 25 C Jones.
SS - 34 J Thompson...35 D Thompson
FS - 32 Baker...38 Banjo... 28 C Washington...
40 Tillman*

Matchup: Ram Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Goff completed (365 of 581 = 62.82% of his_) passes for 19 TDs and 16 Ints.\Top targets are Kupp (87 receptions) and Woods (83 receptions). Higbee ranks 3rd with 61. All four average over 10.7 per catch.

Rams sacked their opponentd 49 times for 300 yds *By comparison, Ram passers were sacked just 21 times for 162 yards). Goff was intercepted 17 times (vs. 11 picks alowed by their opponents)

Key Matchups - Peterson vs. Kupp...Murphy vs. Woods...J Thompson vs. Higbee... Baker vs. Gurley...Chan Jones vs. Whitworth

Matchup: Ram Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
They hitch their wagon to Gurley (789 yds on 203 carries and 12 TDs) so you'd assume that LA emphasizes a crunching running attack; but the stats show the Rams gaining 1368 yds on the ground (vs. 1,738 yds by opponents. Their Run/Pass Ratio is 368: 587 (vs 427: 519 for their opponents).

Key Matchups - Baker vs. Gurley. Ram OL vs. Kerr, Peters, Reid, Hicks and Walker

Cardinals Offense

01 Murray, 07 Hundley

Running Back
41 Drake...31 D Johnson, 29 Edmonds

Wide Receivers
WR - 11 Fitzgerald...89 Isabella, 12 Cooper
WR - 13 Kirk....16 Sherfield...14 Byrd...19 KS Johnson.

Tight Ends
TE - 85 Clay ....81 Daniels
TE - 87 - M Williams...82 Arnold

Offensive Line
LT- ...74 Humphries...66 Miles,
LG - 67 Pugh
OC- 53 Shipley, 52 Cole
RG- 64 Sweezy...73 Garcia, 65 Gailliard.
RT - 71 J Murray..

Ram Defense
Started out the season full of heralded gamebreakers, but profile as more lunchpail as the season wraps up. Littleton leads Ram tacklers with 131 followed by Weddle (101) , Rapp (94), Brockers (61), Fowler (56) and Reeders (52)

Defensive Line
DE....90 Brockers...97 Fox
NT...69 Joseph-Day...91 Gaines
DT....99 Donald...92 Smart

WILL 56 Fowler Jr....50 Ebukam....45 Okoronkwo
OLB..52 Matthews...57 Patrick
ILBL...58 Littleton...48 Howard

ILB...51 Reeder...41 Young

Defensive Backs
LCB...22 Hill...23 Roby-Coleman...31 D Williams
RCB..20 Ramsay...25 Long Jr...21 Deayon
SS.....24 Rapp...26 Christian...39 Gervase

FS.....32 Weddle...33 Scott

Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs Ram Pass Defense
Cards like to mix Depends on who starts at QB (Murray has a pinched hamstring and is questionable for Sunday. If he can't go, Hundley will step in more as a game manager who (while not afraid to pick his spots) figures to be less of a riverboat gambler than the Cardinal starter.

Littleton, Hill and J Johnson lead in interceptions with 2 apiece. Brockers and Donald lead a star-filled Ram D-line. Ram pass rushers have bagged 49 sacks (By comparison, enemy pass rushers have bagged only 21. Rams have intercepted 17 passes (Ram foes have only picked off 11).

Key Matchups:
Card O-line interior vs. Donald and Brockers. Ramsay vs. Fitz...Hill vs. Kirk...Weddle vs. Arnold

Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. Ram Run Defense
Drake is a late-season signee who came out of nowhere to lead a Cardinal RB group struggling to bring David Johnson back to his previous Pro Bowl status. He has gained well in excess of 120 yards during the past two games. Rams are tough in the trenches, and the matchup with Drake figures to be an exciting one.

Key Matchups
Drake vs. Brockers and Donald

Special Teams

Ram Special Teams
     ..04 Zuerlein
P ..... 06 Hekker
H      06 Hecker
LS    44 McQuaid
KR  .27Henderson Jr
PR   14 Webster

Cardinals Special Teams
P - ...02 Lee
K- ....05 Gonzalez
H - ...02 Lee
LS - 46 Brewer
KR -12 Cooper... 89 Isabella...
PR - 12 Cooper...13 Kirk.

Matchup Ram Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
II'd give Zuerlein a tiny edge over Gonzalez. Lee looked like he was playing injured vs. the Seahawks. The Cards are beginning to loosen the reins on Cooper in the return game. Don't know much about Henderson and Webster.

Key Matchups
Neither team has a huge edge. Card special teams unit has looked more aggressive and mistake free in recent games.

Coaching / Intangibles
HC/OC Sean McVay...OC None listed. DC Wade Phillips...ST: John Fassell
. Last year, McVay was considered a young rising star. Thus far this year, the so-called experts concede that he's intelligent but young and inexperienced and still has a lot to learn as an NFL head coach. (Note - the same could be said about Card HC Kingsbury - although no one has annointed him King just yet. Nevertheless, the dual between 2 young, creative head coaches figures to be an interesting one.

How to Beat Rams
Play hard and take advantage of a possible Ram letdown in the aftermath of their not making the playoffs. Win more individual battles than we lose. Don't give away the football. Consider each positive break "gold" which should not be taken lightly.

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 03/25/2013