Big Red Recap: Cardinals get rolled over by Rams, this time in Arizona
Dec 3, 2017, 6:12 PM | Updated: 8:58 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Location. Location. Location.
It’s important in real estate, yet not so important for the Los Angeles Rams, at least when playing the Cardinals.
Whether on foreign or domestic soil, the Rams have shown they can beat the Cardinals this season. The latest example: a 32-16 win in front of a sold-out University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It’s their third straight win in Arizona.
Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff passed for two touchdowns, kicker Greg Zuerlein kicked four field goals and running back Todd Gurley finished with 158 scrimmage yards.
The Rams (9-3) never trailed. They led 16-0 at the end of the first quarter, owned a 19-13 advantage at halftime and then outscored the Cardinals 13-3 in the second half to clinch their first winning season since 2003.
And coupled with their 33-0 win in London, the Rams recorded their first season series sweep of the Cardinals since 2012.
The final numbers showed the Cardinals gained more yards (312-303) and performed better on third down (7-of-15 versus 3-of-11) than the Rams, but they were unable to translate those numbers into points on the scoreboard.
Arizona quarterback Blaine Gabbert went 18-of-32 for 221 yards and one touchdown. Twice, though, he was intercepted, including a pick-six that put the Cardinals in an early 16-0 hole.
Larry Fitzgerald (10 catches for 98 yards) and Kerwynn Williams (16 carries for 97 yards) led the team in receiving and rushing, respectively.
The Cardinals (5-7) have lost three of four.
No Adrian Peterson, no problem. With Peterson out with a neck injury, Williams got the start and rushed for 86 first-half yards, 76 of which were gained in the second quarter. He carried the ball four times for 47 yards on the Cardinals’ first scoring drive of the game, which ended with an Elijhaa Penny one-yard run, the first touchdown of his career. The score made it a 16-7 Rams leads at the 7:38 mark of the period. The Cardinals had 100 rushing yards at halftime, three times their total in the first meeting against Los Angeles.
No player in NFL history has reached 1,200 career receptions faster than Fitzgerald. He needed only 214 games, bettering Jerry Rice’s mark of 221 games. The milestone reception was a 15-yard touchdown, his fifth of the season, that pulled the Cardinals to within, 16-13 (the PAT was blocked), at the 3:25 mark of the second quarter. The reception was also Fitzgerald’s 75th of the season, making him the fourth player in NFL history with at least 75 catches in 10 seasons, joining Rice, Tim Brown and Tony Gonzalez.
Another game, another sack by Chandler Jones. He dropped Goff early in the fourth quarter for his league-leading 13th sack of the season. That tied him with Simeon Rice for the most sacks in franchise history through the first 12 games of a season. Jones, who has at least one sack in 10 of 12 games this season and 19 of 28 games played since being acquired from New England, is the first Cardinals player with 13.0 or more sacks in a season since Bertrand Berry (14.5) in 2004.
In the first 10 minutes of the game, the Cardinals lost a timeout after a poor challenge, dropped a would-be interception, turned the ball over and slid two yards short of the first-down marker on 3rd-and-6. The Rams capitalized on the turnover, a Lamarcus Joyner interception, with Goff throwing a one-yard touchdown pass to Gerald Everett on fourth down to make it 9-0 at the 7:51 mark of the first quarter.
Before the end of the first quarter, Gabbert would throw a second interception. He never saw Alec Ogletree underneath in coverage — D.J. Foster was the intended receiver — and Ogletree picked off the football and went 41 yards for the touchdown and a 16-0 lead at the 2:45 mark of the period. That would be the score at the end of the first quarter, meaning over their last five quarters played, the Rams outscored the Cardinals, 49-0.
Twice, the Cardinals had a kick blocked. The first was a PAT, the second such miss of the season. Then, a field goal was blocked midway through the fourth quarter. It was Michael Brockers who got a hand on Phil Dawson’s 45-yard attempt, which would’ve pulled the Cardinals to within a touchdown. Instead, it went down as a miss, the seventh of the season, which ended a streak of eight consecutive makes by Dawson.
STAT OF THE GAME
158: Gurley had 74 rushing and 84 receiving yards, accounting for more than half of the Rams’ total net offensive yards (303).
HE SAID IT
“They were getting us up the middle,” head coach Bruce Arians said, referring to the two blocked kicks. “Their special teams won the game.”
– Fitzgerald extended his streak with at least one reception to 207 consecutive games, the third-longest in league history.
– Fitzgerald moved past Isaac Bruce (15,208) and into fourth place on the league’s all-time list for career receiving yards.
– Fitzgerald now has 18 career touchdown receptions against the Rams, the most against any other team in the league.
– Kareem Martin recorded his first career interception, picking off Gabbert on the Rams’ second possession of the game.
– Phil Dawson, a week after nailing a 57-yard field goal, made a 54-yard attempt; he’s 3-of-4 on 50-plus yard field goals this year.
– The Cardinals won the coin toss and deferred, which they have done now in three straight games after winning the toss.
– Among the Cardinals’ inactives were four injured players: John Brown, Deone Bucannon, Rudy Ford and Corey Peters.
– At halftime, former quarterback Jim Hart (1966-83) became the 17th member inducted into the Cardinals Ring of Honor.
– Former long snapper Mike Leach and kicker Neil Rackers cranked the “Big Red” Siren as part of the pregame activities.
The third of three straight home games.
Not since 2011 have the Cardinals played at home in three consecutive weeks. They host Tennessee on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning four hours earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
The Titans have not visited Arizona since 2005, meaning this will be their first-ever appearance inside University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Cardinals have won two of the last three meetings, including the most recent matchup, 37-34 OT, at Tennessee in 2013.
Overall, the Cardinals lead 6-4 in the series that dates back to 1970.