Dealing Cards: Blaine Gabbert vs. Rams, the London rematch

Dec 1, 2017, 2:54 PM
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)...
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Past success is just that. It’s in the past.

Yet, it’s worth noting how well Arizona Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert has played when facing this week’s opponent, be it the Los Angles or St. Louis version.

For Gabbert, who will make his third straight start on Sunday, the Rams are one of the few—there are only five—teams in which he has a winning record against. Of course, the sample size isn’t very big. He’s only played the Rams three times, winning twice.

Before beating Jacksonville, Gabbert’s two most recent wins were against the Rams, including Week 1 in 2016.

“Yeah, that was a long time ago,” he said, referring to the 28-0 victory in which he passed for 170 yards and one touchdown while with San Francisco.

Overall, Gabbert has completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 705 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions in three career meetings versus the Rams.

“The team has changed. There have been a lot of games between now and then,” he said. “You never really go back that far and look at things, especially at two polar opposites of systems. That’s a tough comparison.”

Yeah, it’s a new head coach (Sean McVay) and new coordinator (Wade Phillips) but much of the Rams defensive personnel remains the same from those most recent matchups, including Mark Barron, Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald, Trumaine Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner and Ethan Westbrooks.

“They have a great front seven. Their secondary is playing hard. They’re forcing turnovers, they’re playing fast,” Gabbert said. “We’re going to have our hands full, but at the end of the day, we’re going to focus on what we can control: going out there and execute each and every play, not getting ahead of ourselves and just playing good football.”

The London rematch

More than a month ago, the Cardinals and Rams traveled overseas to play a game in London. It did not go well, at least not for the Cardinals.

“The first game was not our best effort. It was terrible actually,” linebacker Josh Bynes said. “We went over there for a game and they went over there for a fistfight and they definitely kicked our behind. They definitely deserved that win.”

The final was 33-0, the Cardinals’ worst loss of the season and first-ever shutout defeat under head coach Bruce Arians.

From the first snap to the last snap, the Cardinals were just simply outplayed.

“We didn’t show up. Period. We didn’t show up to play,” cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “We don’t know what team that was on film when we came back home to watch it. That wasn’t us.”

Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin called the game a nightmare.

“That was like one of them tapes you burn and then you burn it again and then you burn it again,” he said.

Six weeks have passed since that Oct. 22 meeting.

The Cardinals are a .500 team, winning twice and losing twice in the four games following. Plus, four more players—safety Tyvon Branch, left tackle D.J. Humphries, tight end Ifeanyi Momah and quarterback Carson Palmer—have landed on injured reserve, bringing the season total to 11, including seven starters.

The Rams, however, remain largely intact. Same quarterback. Same running back. Same five offensive linemen. And a relatively healthy defense.

“The trip was fantastic. Everything was great, except for the actual game,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “We have to actually show up and play football on Sunday if we want to compete against a really, really good football team.”

Final injury report

Once again, running back Adrian Peterson did not practice due to a lingering neck injury suffered in the Jacksonville game. Despite his week-long absence from the practice field, he’s listed questionable, as are defensive lineman Josh Mauro (ankle) and tight end Troy Niklas (back/knee).

Four players have been ruled out for the game: wide receiver John Brown (toe), dollar linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle), safety Rudy Ford (knee) and defensive lineman Corey Peters (ankle).

For the Rams, linebacker Connor Barwin (forearm) and wide receiver Robert Woods (shoulder) will not play.

My Cause, My Cleats

The NFL’s second-annual My Cause, My Cleats campaign takes place this week.

Several Cardinals are joining nearly 1,000 players across the league to showcase causes close to them by wearing customized cleats.

Some of the Cardinals participating include Fitzgerald (Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund), Patrick Peterson (Foundation for Success), defensive lineman Frostee Rucker (American Diabetes Association) and center A.Q. Shipley (Uplifting Athletes); the latter of which raises money for rare diseases.

“It hits close to home for me,” said Shipley, who had a college teammate pass away due to a rare bone disease and another recently diagnosed with ALS.

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Dealing Cards: Blaine Gabbert vs. Rams, the London rematch