NFL

Rams Make Light Work Of Cardinals To Secure NFL Divisional Spot

Monday Night’s final Super Wildcard Weekend playoff game between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams was supposed to be a closely-fought contest.

In the end, it was nothing of the sort.

The Los Angeles Rams and their assortment of superstars dominated the game from start to finish as the Cardinals, and Kyler Murray in particular, fluffed their lines in another crucial game once again.

How much the ease of the Rams victory was down to the home side’s dominance of the game, or the Cardinals ineptitude on offense, is a point for debate and one which we will look at here.

But there is no doubt who will be moving on to Tampa next weekend to take a shot at dethroning the current Super Bowl Champions in the Divisional weekend.

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Another Blowout Win

The Rams, who started the game as the slight favorite with sports betting providers like Unibet Sportsbook, followed the likes of the Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs in landing a big blowout win in their Wildcard game.

As in a number of those games, the Rams grabbed the initiative in the game early and it was one of their big mid-season signings that scored the points.

Odell Beckham Jr had his best game in a Rams jersey. Not only did he catch the 7-yard pass that opened the score, but he also caught four catches for 54 yards, as well as making a pass himself of 40 yards which was instrumental in the Rams scoring their fourth touchdown of the night in the third quarter.

In between, a Matt Stafford QB sneak, his first since 2016 and a David Long interception being returned for a touchdown after Kyler Murray tried to throw the ball away to avoid being sacked in the end zone, meant that by the third quarter the Rams were 28-0 up and the Cardinals were dead and buried.

James Conner made the scoreline more respectable by putting the Cardinals on the board in the third quarter but they could only muster another field goal in the final quarter, with the Rams adding two themselves to secure a very comfortable win.

Even Contribution

What was perhaps most impressive about the Rams last night was how everybody on the team contributed to the win. Cam Akers, returning from injury at running back, rushed in tandem with Sony Michel and while neither player scored a touchdown, they did combine for 113 yards from 30 carries.

Matt Stafford, in addition to his touchdown, added 13/17 passing for 202 yards and two more touchdowns, while on defence Von Miller had six tackles and a sack, David Long had the interception returned for a touchdown and Marquise Copeland also had an interception.

The Cardinals had just 183 yards of offense and rushed for just 61 yards and did not convert a third down from nine attempts all evening. Kyler Murray had a tough night, hitting 19 of 34 pass attempts for 134 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

It was a dispiriting lesson for the Cardinals, who despite being the first team to ten wins this season, and opening the season 7-0, lost five of their last seven games to finish the season in an implosion that will have critics wondering whether the Cardinals owners may be considering Kliff Kingsbury’s future at the ball club.

Next Week – Tampa

If the Rams found things easy at home on Monday, then they are likely to have to produce two immense performances in order to get back to the SoFi Stadium for the Super Bowl in February.

Next up for Sean McVay’s team is a shot at the Super Bowl holders, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa. Get through that and a trip to Green Bay beckons, unless the 49ers can upset the Packers at a wintry Lambeau Field.

In which case, the Rams would return to the SoFi Stadium to face their divisional rivals and a team that they have lost all of the last six games to and have not beaten since 2018, winning just 3 of the 13 games played between the teams since 2016.

So, the Road to the Super Bowl does not look easy for the Rams, but more performances like they showed last night, and they are going to be a real threat in the NFC.

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