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Kyren Williams return sparks Rams most complete win of the season

The Rams got back Kyren Williams and he’s having the best stretch by an L.A. back since Todd Gurley

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Who could have guessed that the player who the L.A. Rams needed most might be Kyren Williams? A fifth round pick out of Notre Dame in 2022 who had only 139 rushing yards and no touchdowns as a rookie, Williams sparked the Rams offense by rushing for 143 yards on only 16 carries and gaining 61 yards on six catches in a 37-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Williams also scored twice, giving him nine touchdowns in seven games.

And in what feels like the blink of an eye, Kyren Williams has 599 rushing yards and 131 receiving yards in less than half of a season.

The 143 yards on the ground is the fifth-most by a Rams player in the Sean McVay era, behind Todd Gurley, Cam Akers, C.J. Anderson, and Williams. It was in his most recent start that Kyren Williams had 158 rushing yards against the Cardinals, giving him over 300 rushing yards in his last two games. It’s one thing to say that L.A. is an ideal place for a running back to exist, but that has not been the case since the decline of Todd Gurley in 2019.

Williams has clearly out-played Darrell Henderson, Sony Michel, and Akers, among others.

Backup Royce Freeman did have 13 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown on Sunday too. As a team, the Rams had 33 carries for 228 yards and averaged 6.9 yards per carry.

With Williams owning the ground, Matthew Stafford had his best game of 2023 through the air: The veteran QB went 25-of-33 for 229 yards and four touchdowns to go with an interception late in the second quarter. Stafford now has 13 touchdowns on the season and it was his first game with more than two touchdowns. Stafford has not had a three-touchdown game since Week 2 of 2022 and had not had four touchdowns since Week 6 of 2021.

Williams had some very productive games at Notre Dame, including 185 rushing yards against Florida State in 2020 and 199 rushing yards against North Carolina in 2021. But his last two games coming against NFL competition could be the best performances of his football career.

Now he just needs to repeat against a team that isn’t the Cardinals. He gets his next shot next week against the Cleveland Browns.