The Los Angeles Rams advance to the next round of the playoffs after a convincing win over the Arizona Cardinals 34-11 on Wildcard Monday. The Cardinals started the season as one of the top teams with a 7-0 record but were eventually overtaken by the Rams for the NFC West divsion and are now eliminated. The Rams advance to the divisional round and will travel to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are the top three takeaways from the Wild Card win.
Rams play complimentary football
Outside of the one NFC game, the Wildcard round was mainly one sided matchups that saw most games decided well before the final quarter. The Rams and Cardinals was also that and it was because they were able to play complimentary football with the defense playing lights out shutting down Kyler Murray’s offense, getting two turnovers, and the Rams offense scoring, securing the ball, and winning the time of possession battle.
Matthew Stafford played a key but limited role
On his way to securing the first postseason victory of his career, Stafford accounted for all three offensive touchdowns, throwing to Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr, and punching one in himself on a quarterback sneak. Stafford’s role was key in all facets of scoring, leading, and securing the football and he did it all while only throwing the ball 17 times which is the least he’s thrown the ball in a game all season.
Cam Akers makes an impact
Week 18 was certainly just a test run for Akers coming off a potentially season ending injury as he came back on Monday night and carried the ball 17 times for 55 yards but also got one catch for 40 yards accounting for 95 yards from scrimmage. He also had at least one chunk run and one pass called back for holding penalties but was able to show off his speed and ability to make tacklers miss.
And now for today’s links:
2021 NFL playoffs: What we learned from Rams’ win over Cardinals on Super Wild Card Weekend (NFL.com)
Rams vs. Cardinals score: Matthew Stafford earns first career playoff win in rout of Arizona (CBSsports)
Cam Akers praying for Budda Baker after scary hit: ‘I didn’t know he was hurt after the play’ (RamsWire)
Welcome back to the NFL spotlight, Odell Beckham Jr. (RamblinFan)
The First Read, Divisional Round: Biggest immediate question for advancing and eliminated playoff teams (NFL.com)
Cardinals S Budda Baker (concussion) carted off field during playoff loss to Rams (NFL.com)
GM Mike Mayock fired by Las Vegas Raiders after three seasons (ESPN)
Stephen Jones ‘very confident’ Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy will return (ESPN)