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The Setup
Rams were coming off an embarrassing loss to the Ravens. Cards had pushed the division leading Niners to the brink.-Question of the week - were the Cardinals' 2 close losses to undefeated SF for real?

Rams Embarrass Cards 34 - 7

The Bottom Line:
Congratulations to the Cardinals - i.e. the Davison, Michigan HS Cardinals who won their HS divisional title in convincing manner. As for the NFL Cardinals - The answer to the burning question of the week was a resounding "NoI" The Cards were not for real. Although holding the Rams to a 3 - 0 first quarter lead, they looked awful doing so and handed the Rams 17 unanswered points in the second quarter - to fall behind by 20 - and letting the Rams tack on 14 more points in the 3Q
. They barely avoided being shut out when Kyler Murray ran it in from 15-yds out late in the 4th Q.

Game Recap
Cards looked horrific in all aspects of the game - it's amazing they were only down by 3 at the end of the 1Q (A rare missed FG attempt by Zuerlein helped turn a time-consuming scoring drive into a great big nothing-burger.

Cards stayed consistent with their reputation for letting TE's and receiving-unknowns rack up big numbers vs. the Cardinals. One thing you don't find in the stats - For every sensational one-handed catch by a Ram receiver, there would be a corresponding dropped-ball by a Cardinal pass catcher.

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter

FG - Rams - Zuerlein - 27 Yds- Rams 3 - Cards 0

1st Quarter Score: Rams 3 - Niners 0

2nd Quarter

  • TD - LAR - Cooper Higbee - 2 Yd pass from Goff - Rams 10 - Cards 0

    TD - LAR - Gurley- 2 Yd Run -Rams 17 - Cards 0

    FG - LAR - Zuerlein - 33 Yds - Rams 20 - Niners 10

    Halftme Score: Rams 20 - Cards 0

3rd Quarter

TD - LAR- Kupp - 10 Yd pass fr Goff - Rams 27 - Cards 0

TD - Rapp - 31 Yd Interception Return - Rams 34 - Cards 0

    • Third Quarter Score: Rams 34 - Cards 0
4th Quarter

TD - Cards - Murray - 15 Yd run - Rams 34 - Cards 7

Final Score: Rams 34 - Cards 7


Notable Game Stats.

  • First Downs Niners 27 Cards 13
  • Total Net Yards Rams 549 Cards 198
  • Passing: Murray 19 of 34 for 1 Int 0 TDs 163 yds
    ................Goff 37 of 43 for 0 Ints 424 Yds

    Sacked: Cards 6 for 39 - Rams 1 for 10 yds

    Rushing: Drake 13 for 31
    ................Gurley 19 for 95

    Receiving: Fitzgerald 6 for 56
    Woods 13 for 172...Higbee 7 for 107 Kupp 6 for 65

    Interceptions - Cards - 0 for 0 Yds... Rams - 1 for 31 (& TD)

    Fumbles Lost - Cards 0 for 0...-Rams 0 for 0

    Penalties - Cards 8 for 81 - Rams 2 for 7

    Time of Possession: Cards 25:23 - Ram 34:37

The "Bright Side"

  • Nada

The Dark Side

  • Cards penalized 8 times (Rams flagged twice)

    Cards lost just about every one-on-one battles (i.e. contested passes, open-field tackles, 3rd down conversions)

    It was as though the Cards played "off" their man in coverage while letting Ram defenders jam their receivers helmet-to-helmet (thereby conceding 4 or 5 yards per play)..

    Defense looked amateurish (Was it lack of talent? Or poor defensive play calling by the defensive coaches)?

    Not Murray's finest hour - Rams found a way to pressure him while simultaneously filling his escape-routes; forcing him to pass off his back foot or scramble into would-be tacklers.

Last Word:
Cards were out-coached/players out-motivated. (That happens with young teams). Question is" Do they fight back or do they curl up in the fetal position and let the season run out?

Remaining schedule includes contests with Pittsburgh, @ Seattle and @ the Rams.Cardinal coaches and FO should ask themselves this question - "When they have rare "off days" , do championship teams like the Patriots allow themselves to have two "bad hair days" back to back?"

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012