On Wildcard Monday when the early season NFC West leading Arizona Cardinals played the eventual NFC West Champion Los Angeles Rams for the right to advance, the Rams got the early jump on the score and were up 14-0 in the second quarter. It was at that point that the defense capitalized and tipped the board to a three score lead, essentially putting the game into long shot territory.
WATCH: Troy Reeder and David Long jr combine for a pick six
It was the second quarter, Rams up by 14 with eight minutes left till the half. Third and seven on the Cardinals four yard line. Kyler Murray lined up in the shotgun with a three by one formation, three receivers tight bunch to the right.
The defense lined up with Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines on the line, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd on the edges, and Troy Reeder and Travin Howard as the backers. Gaines lined up over the left guard and on the snap he crashed hard left as if setting up a switch game with Donald. Donald came over behind him but instead of following through on the rush, he dropped into a spy position to take away the middle screen or maybe get a tip from the lane like he did in Week 14. Based on Donalds original position and Gaines crashing left, the right side of the line RT to LG shifted to the defenses left leaving only the LT and RB to block Von Miller and the blitzing Reeder.
The RB positioned the block but Reeder made quick work of the RB and got on the QB quick. Murray had a second to get off a hot route throw and probably could have to Rondale Moore in the flat if the ball came out on time, but it didn’t, he held it and then with Reeder bringing him down appeared to try and get it to Moore after the timing had turned from hot route to danger zone and the Rams were all over it.
The pressure forced a lob of a desperate pass and David Long Jr was the first to get under it and took it in for a six.
And now for today’s links:
McVay: Andrew Whitworth and David Long Jr. day-to-day, plus updates on Ben Skowronek, Brandon Powell, Ernest Jones and Darrell Henderson Jr. (Rams.com)
Matthew Stafford is the NFL’s best QB against the blitz, which is bad news for the Bucs (RamsWire)
Sean McVay already has more playoff wins than all but one coach in Rams history (RamsWire)
LA Rams wild ride wraps up Wildcard Round of NFL Playoffs (RamblinFan)
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott issues apology for supporting fans throwing trash at officials: ‘I deeply regret the comments I made’ (NFL.com)
Derek Carr trade? Potential landing spots for the Las Vegas Raiders quarterback (NFL.com)
Seattle Seahawks fire DC Ken Norton Jr., defensive assistant Andre Curtis (ESPN)
Mike Tomlin says ‘all options’ on table this offseason to find next Pittsburgh Steelers starting QB (ESPN)