The Bottom Line:
This was a big one. The Rams are now tied with the Seattle Seahawks — who were upset by the New York Giants on Sunday — for the NFC West lead and Rams have the opportunity to clinch the division. This was an impressive bounce-back win after a tough loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week. Card repeated their pattern of building an iearly lead only to squander it later on.
Goff bounced back from last week's tough outing with one of his best games of the season, completing 37 of 47 passes for 351 yards and a TD
Rams (8 & 4) have have won three of four and are tied for the division lead with the Seahawks, who lost to the Giants 17-12.
Rams had a 24-14 lead early in the fourth and looked like they were going to pull away when Nsimba Webster fumbled a punt . The Cardinals recovered at the LA 15-yard line and quickly turned the mistake into a TD on Kenyan Drake's 4-yard run pulling Arizona within 24-21.
The Ram offense responded quickly with Darrell Henderson slicing through Arizona's defense untouched for a 38-yard TD that pushed it to 31-21
The Cardinals (6-6) have lost three straight and four of their past five. Kyler Murray was inconsistent, completing 21 of 39 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns. He also lost a fumble midway through the fourth and threw a pick-6 to LA's Troy Hill, who ran it back 35 yards for a 38-21 lead.
Rams had a big advantage in time of possession, keeping the ball about 39 minutes to Arizona's 21.
Cards opened the game with a 59-yard touchdown pass from Murray to tight end Dan Arnold, all alone dee. (with the Rams distracted by triple-teamed DeAndre Hopkins).
Los Angeles' defense, which has been among the NFL's best this season, tightened in a hurry. The Cardinals didn't get another first down until late in the second quarter, and Murray finished the first half 3-of-12 passing for 73 yards.''
The Rams rallied for a 14-7 halftime lead. They tied it early in the second quarter on a 9-yard touchdown run by rookie Cam Akers and pulled away when Goff hit Tyler Higbee for a 1-yard touchdown with 51 seconds left before halftime.
TD 13:25 - Dan Arnold 59 Yd pass from Kyler Murray (Zane Gonzalez Kick)
4 plays, 75 yards, 1:35 - Cards 7 - Rams 0
TD 10:35 - Cam Akers 9 Yd Run (Matt Gay Kick)
14 plays, 85 yards, 7:12 - Rams 7 - Cards 7
TD 0:51 - Tyler Higbee 1 Yd pass from Jared Goff (Matt Gay Kick)
9 plays, 45 yards, 3:27 - Rams 14 - Cards 7
FG 10:26 - Matt Gay 39 Yd Field Goal - 8 plays, 54 yards, 4:34 - Rams 17 - Cards 7
TD 4:03 - DeAndre Hopkins 4 Yd pass from Kyler Murray (Zane Gonzalez Kick)
15 plays, 75 yards, 6:23 - Rams 17 - Cards 14
TD 14:52 - Jared Goff 1 Yd Run (Matt Gay Kick) - 9 plays, 75 yards, 4:11 - Rams 24 - Cards 14
TD 13:21 - Kenyan Drake 4 Yd Run (Zane Gonzalez Kick) - 2 plays, 15 yards, 0:25 - Rams 24 - Cards 21
TD 10:07 - Darrell Henderson Jr. 38 Yd Run (Matt Gay Kick) - 7 plays, 76 yards, 3:14 - Rams 31 - Cards 21
TD 4:33 - Troy Hill 35 Yd Interception Return (Matt Gay Kick) - 3 plays, 1 yard, 0:36- Rams 38 - Cards 21
TD 2:04 - Dan Arnold 2 Yd pass from Kyler Murray (Zane Gonzalez Kick) - 8 plays, 47 yards, 2:29 - Final Score: Rams 38 - Cards 28
Score was more lopsided than the numbers indicate. Our opening TD was the outcome of a blown Ram coverage, and the Rams pretty much kept their heel on the Cardinal neck for the remainder of the game.
Cards are now underdogs to be a playoff contender, and face a tough schedule that includes the Giants, Niners, Rams (again!) and Seahawks.
What really concerns this writer are the Cardinal roster weaknesses and the odds of the Cardinals playing their way out of this mess. In brief: If the Cardinals had a different GM and HC (& why not roll the entire set of dice) - new QB, could they play their way into the playoffs (or at least to a point where we had a decent shot at making the playoffs)?
One characteristic of losing franchises are the combination of their owner's pulling the trigger too quickly on managenent and coaching changes or, conversely, pulling the trigger too slowly (i.e. excercising poor judgement and making the wrong decision either way).
The Cardinals, of late, have shown no inclination or ability to seize the bull by the horns and do what it takes to prevail in a division marked by great coaching, solid management and tough, physically players.
Best way to put it might be that changes have to be made / just so long as they're the right changes.
Next week - An up-coming Giant team.