The LA Rams may not have a first round pick next year, but at least they can continue to push it back to the end of the first round. If the defense continues to play this well, the running games goes as it did on Sunday and Jared Goff avoids costly mistakes, maybe even the last pick of the first round.
The Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals 38-28 on Sunday, holding Kyler Murray’s offense to only 3.7 yards per play and forcing two turnovers. Los Angeles also won the time of possession battle, 38:53 to 21:07.
Murray’s three touchdowns are good for fantasy purposes more so than real life and the 8-4 Rams sit atop in the NFC West and in the three seed for the NFC. The team they could be hosting in the wild card round if they hold on to win the division?
Potentially the Cardinals.
Here are some of the good and bad moments from the Week 13 win and what made the difference.
Aaron Donald sacks Kyler Murray
The Rams went for it on fourth down on the previous drive, which could have been a costly (even if acceptable) risk but Aaron Donald helped end Arizona’s ensuing attempt to move the ball downfield. Donald had another sack later in the game but it was eventually ruled as a tackle. Still, Donald now has 11 sacks and is closing in on the second-best total of his career.
Cam Akers touchdown ties the game, 7-7
Akers had a career-high 21 rushing attempts and while the total number of yards was not overly impressive, the fact is that the rookie was getting a number of low-percentage carries. That is to say that if you’re getting the ball inside the five, it’s impossible to gain more than five yards on a carry. Akers scored from nine yards out and he has scored in three straight games.
Touchdowns is one of several things that the offense is missing from the running backs as compared to the 2017-2018 seasons and that’s a welcome sight right now. Akers is working his way up the depth chart and he may be the number one option for December.
Aaron Donald sacks Kyler Murray
Aaron Donald tackles Kyler Murray.
Jared Goff to Tyler Higbee gives Rams 14-7 lead at halftime
Higbee caught three touchdowns in Week 2. This was his fourth touchdown catch.
Cardinals can’t complete passes in first half
This is quite a box score anomaly. We're basically at halftime. pic.twitter.com/D5n5GSux0t— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) December 6, 2020
DeAndre Hopkins drew a defensive pass interference penalty late in the first half but he had another catch overturned and wound up with zero catches on two targets going into halftime. He finished with only eight catches for 52 yards on 13 targets. The Cardinals are 0-5 when Hopkins is held under 60 yards.
￼ From NFL NEXT GEN STATS: #Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins averaged a season-low 4.0 yards per target on Sunday. #Rams CB Jalen Ramsey lined up across from Hopkins on 34 of his 40 routes, holding Hopkins to 36 yards and 6 catches on 11 targets (3.3 yds per target).— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) December 7, 2020
Jared Goff extends lead back to 10 with sneak touchdown
Jared Goff sneaks for one-yard TD and 24-14 lead— Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) December 6, 2020
A 22-yard pass to Cam Akers, a 13-yard pass to Cooper Kupp and nine-yard passes to Van Jefferson and Robert Woods were among the plays that got Goff within inches of the goal line.
Darrell Henderson runs for a 38-yard touchdown
Henderson had three carries for 49 yards.
Troy Hill pick-six gives Rams their highest-scoring game of season
This was Hill’s second touchdown in as many games.
3rd down face mask penalty on Leonard Floyd
Rams should be getting off the field here on third down, but looks like OLB Leonard Floyd took Murray down by the facemask.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) December 6, 2020
LA would have gotten off of the field with no points allowed on this drive if not for this penalty. It happens.
Nobody covers Dan Arnold, Cardinals take 7-0 lead
Mistakes like this also unfortunately happen sometimes, especially with Hopkins as a distraction.
Goff misses wide open Cooper Kupp?
Cooper Kupp was open downfield for a TD, and Goff even was able to step up in the pocket. Goes to Higbee instead earlier in the progression for the short game. Remember this when you guys ask me about explosive plays downfield.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) December 6, 2020
Hard to blame Goff for missing Kupp there. He beat the defender as Goff was letting go of the ball.— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) December 6, 2020
Goff had a guy bearing down on him, too
Even though Jared Goff did throw a first down on this play late in the first quarter, the broadcast booth was sure to point out that Cooper Kupp had just broken free for what could have been an easy touchdown throw. If Goff had seen it. But not everyone agrees.
4 straight Cam Akers runs inside 10 fail to score
6 of the last 7 plays were a Cam Akers run. No gain on the last two.— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) December 6, 2020
Aforementioned short-yardage runs for Akers.
Michael Brockers injury
Rams veteran DL Michael Brockers is down on the field.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) December 6, 2020
Brockers was hurt during the game but I believe he was able to return.
Kyler Murray finds DeAndre Hopkins for a touchdown to pull within 17-14
He’s getting paid what he is for a reason.
Nsimba Webster fumbles the punt return
The Cardinals quickly convert the turnover from Nsimba Webster on the return into a touchdown, and the Rams lead, 24-21, with 13:21 to play.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) December 6, 2020
Many have been asking for Webster to be taken off of punt return duties and this play definitely played into their worries.
Rams give up a touchdown before the two-minute warning
Dan Arnold with his second TD catch of the game, on fourth down.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) December 7, 2020
Arizona may have scored 28 points, but special teams could have accounted for 14 of those and then another came on Arnold’s 59-yard “What was that?” in the first quarter. It was as dominant of a 28-point defensive performance as you could think up.
To beat a division rival on the road like this, being up 38-21 in the final minutes, many things must have gone right. Yes, a few things went wrong, but the Rams should be happy with Sunday’s result.
Rather than me tell you, why don’t you tell me: What was the difference today?
What was THE DIFFERENCE in Week 13 for the Rams to beat the Cardinals?
This poll is closed
Ramsey on Hopkins