Stafford throws three TDs as Rams defeat Cardinals

Matthew Stafford finished 23 of 30 for 287 yards and three touchdowns, while Cooper Kupp has 13 catches for 123 yards and a score; Kyler Murray is sacked four times and intercepted twice, including an end zone pick the Rams would convert into an Odell Beckham Jr. touchdown.

Last Updated: 14/12/21 6:34am

How far can Matthew Stafford and the Rams go this season?

Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes and the Los Angeles defense contributed two interceptions as the Rams beat the Cardinals 30-23 on Monday night to prevent Arizona from becoming the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season.

Story of the Game

Odell Beckham Jr., Van Jefferson and Cooper Kupp each had a touchdown catch for the second straight week as the Rams (9-4) won consecutive games for the first time since October, moving one game behind NFC West-leading Arizona.

Stafford was 23 of 30 for 287 yards while teammate Sony Michel gained 79 yards on 20 carries and the NFL’s receiving leader Kupp had 13 catches for 123 yards along with his score.

The Rams had a number of COVID-19 absences, including defensive back Jalen Ramsey, running back Darrell Henderson, right tackle Rob Havenstein and tight end Tyler Higbee.

Kyler Murray was 32 of 49 for 383 yards and no touchdowns for the Cardinals (10-3), who are 3-3 since starting the season 7-0, while James Conner had 31 yards rushing with two touchdowns alongside nine catches for 94 yards.

Arizona wide receiver A.J. Green had seven receptions for 102 yards, passing 10,000 career receiving yards.

Six-time All-Pro Aaron Donald was dominant up front for the Rams as he collected three sacks on the night, the first on the game’s opening play from scrimmage and the third as time ran out in the fourth quarter.

“That’s what the best do. They play their best when the best is required,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “We talk about competitive greatness all the time and this guy is the epitome of competitive greatness. Really proud of Aaron. Not at all surprised.”

The Cardinals had an opportunity to level the game in the final seconds having recovered an onside kick, only for a holding call to wipe out Murray’s 15-yard run on the first play of the drive to dash late hopes.

Seven straight games with a TD for @JamesConner_ ?@AZCardinals make it a 10-10 game. #RedSea

?: #LARvsAZ on ESPN
?: https://t.co/Z9HeRUNm0d pic.twitter.com/GKUfTfvqoS

— NFL (@NFL)

December 14, 2021

Stats leaders

Rams

Passing: Matthew Stafford, 23/30, 287 yards, 3 TDsRushing: Sony Michel, 20 carries, 79 yards Receiving: Cooper Kupp, 13 catches, 123 yards, 1 TD

Cardinals

Passing: Kyler Murray, 32/49, 383 yards, 2 INTsRushing: Kyler Murray, seven carries, 61 yardsJames Conner, 13 carries, 31 yards, 2 TDsReceiving: A.J. Green, seven catches, 102 yards

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTER Rams 0-3 Cardinals Matt Prater 53-yard field goal SECOND QUARTER Rams 7-3 Cardinals Matthew Stafford two-yard TD pass to Odell Beckham Jr. (extra point) Rams 10-3 Cardinals Matt Gay 55-yard field goal Rams 10-10 Cardinals James Conner one-yard rushing TD (extra point) Matt Gay 35-yard field goal Rams 13-13 Cardinals Matt Prater 53-yard field goal THIRD QUARTER Rams 20-13 Cardinals Matthew Stafford 52-yard TD pass to Van Jefferson (extra point) Rams 27-13 Cardinals Matthew Stafford four-yard TD pass to Cooper Kupp (extra point) FOURTH QUARTER Rams 27-20 Cardinals James Conner eight-yard rushing TD (extra point) Rams 30-20 Cardinals Matt Gay 33-yard field goal Rams 30-23 Cardinals Matt Prater 49-yard field goal

Key Plays

With the Cardinals on the way to a potential double-digit lead in the first quarter, Murray was intercepted at the goal line by Rams linebacker Ernest Jones.

The Rams turned the gift into a 68-yard drive that ended in a Beckham two-yard touchdown reception for a 7-3 advantage early in the second.

Stafford hits @obj and the @RamsNFL take a 7-3 lead! #RamsHouse

?: #LARvsAZ on ESPN
?: https://t.co/Z9HeRUNm0d pic.twitter.com/Utq89H5gDN

— NFL (@NFL)

December 14, 2021

After the Rams took a 10-3 lead on a 55-yard field goal from Matt Gay, the Cardinals tied it on a one-yard touchdown run from Conner with 3:18 left in the first half, the former Pittsburgh Steelers running back having now reached the end zone in seven consecutive games.

Both teams added field goals before the half to tie the game 13 apiece.

Stafford put the Rams up 27-13 in the third quarter on a 52-yard strike to Jefferson and a four-yard score to Kupp that came after Murray was intercepted by Leonard Floyd at the Cardinals’ 30 yard-line.

Stafford. Kupp.@RamsNFL take a 27-13 lead! #RamsHouse

?: #LARvsAZ on ESPN
?: https://t.co/Z9HeRUNm0d pic.twitter.com/2Fd3Br5kjR

— NFL (@NFL)

December 14, 2021

Conner scored on an eight-yard touchdown run with 13:38 remaining to pull Arizona within 27-20, before Los Angeles answered with a 60-yard drive ending in a 33-yard field goal from Gay with 7:20 remaining for a 30-20 lead.

The Rams thwarted the Cardinals on fourth down twice in the second half, including with 5:17 remaining when Conner was stopped at the Los Angeles 37 on fourth-and-one.

Cardinals kicker Matt Prater had two 53-yard field goals in the first half and a 49-yarder with 37 seconds remaining.

What’s Next?

The Rams continue their hunt for top spot in the NFC West with a divisional clash at home to the Seattle Seahawks (5-8), while the Cardinals head to the Detroit Lions (1-11-1).

Sky Sports NFL is your dedicated channel for NFL coverage through the season – featuring a host of NFL Network programming. Don’t forget to follow us on skysports.com/nfl, our Twitter account @SkySportsNFL & Sky Sports – on the go!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.