Statement made: Cardinals defense stymies Matthew Stafford, Rams

Oct 3, 2021, 5:42 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2021, 9:04 am
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy right, intercepts a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wi...

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy right, intercepts a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver DeSean Jackson during the first half in an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The Arizona Cardinals entered Week 4’s matchup knowing they needed one of their best games defensively against an unbeaten Los Angeles Rams team led by two-time 2021 NFC Offensive Player of the Week Matthew Stafford.

They got just that.

Stafford was held mostly at bay in Arizona’s dominant 37-20 victory over Los Angeles. His 280 yards are the second-fewest of the year for the signal caller.

It was an impressive effort by a defense that was tested right out of the gate by Stafford and an electric Rams offense.

Driving down the field with ease on the first possession of the game, Stafford and the Rams looked poised to find pay dirt to take an early 7-0 lead.

Instead, Arizona’s defense dug in, holding Los Angeles to a 42-yard field goal with an impressive stand at its own 23-yard line. It was no doubt a win with how the Rams started the game.

The defense doubled down on its play on the ensuing Rams drive.

Following a three-and-out from the offense, Arizona’s defense was back out quicker than expected.

Luckily for the Cardinals, cornerback Byron Murphy once again stepped up when called upon, coming down with an interception on just the second play of the drive.

The pick marked Murphy’s third in two games. In Cardinals franchise history, only two other players had more interceptions over the first four games than Murphy. The offense turned the pick into points after quarterback Kyler Murray connected with wide receiver A.J. Green for the 41-yard touchdown.

It was a sign of things to come for Arizona’s defense.

While Stafford wouldn’t be denied the end zone, Arizona had an answer for Los Angeles’ offense throughout the first half, remaining opportunistic in the turnover department.

Much like the team’s first takeaway, the Cardinals cashed in, turning a fumble into a one-yard touchdown run from James Conner in the second quarter.

Even when the Rams looked like they may have figured things out offensively, the defense was right there to shut the door throughout the afternoon.

Los Angeles finished the day 2-for-4 in red zone trips, highlighted by an 0-for-2 mark in goal-to-go situations. And while Stafford found the end zone twice in the losing effort, one of the touchdown passes came with the game well out of reach in the second half.

The performance was reflective of how the team handled business during practice this week.

“We got better, there’s no doubt,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told Cardinals reporter Paul Calvisi after the game on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I thought it was our best week of practice so far. Great focus, great energy all week.

“I could tell pregame guys were dialed in and came in and executed at a high level. Really excited we took a step from last week.”

The win now positions the Cardinals atop the NFC West standings nearly a quarter of the way into the year.


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates after scoring a 9-yard touchdown du...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins, Justin Murray on track for 2022 return

Things are trending upward for injured Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins and OL Justin Murray as Arizona embarks on the offseason.
16 hours ago
Jordan Hicks #58 and Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after Hicks sacked Andy Dalt...
Wills Rice

Cardinals’ Jordan Hicks, Zach Ertz mum on upcoming offseason

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks and tight end Zach Ertz both have uncertain futures with the team entering the offseason.
16 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@CardsMarkD)...
Jake Anderson

Cardinals safety Budda Baker gives health update from hospital bed

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker provided an update on his health from a hospital bed via Instagram on Tuesday morning.
16 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Tanner Vallejo (51) tackles Los Angeles Rams running back Cam A...
Wills Rice

Arizona Cardinals to select No. 23 overall in 2022 NFL Draft

The Arizona Cardinals will be selecting No. 23 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft after the team's 34-11 Wild Card loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
16 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches from the sideline during the second half of hi...
Wills Rice

Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury closes season with another poor finish

Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury's end of the year struggles are well documented, but Monday's loss closed another abysmal finish to the season.
16 hours ago
J.J. Watt #99 and Chandler Jones #55 of the Arizona Cardinals take a knee during an injury timeout ...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ season a ‘massive failure’ in eyes of J.J. Watt, Kyler Murray

The once promising Cardinals season came to an unceremonious end on Monday, along with it any and all of the good feelings left from 2021.
16 hours ago
Statement made: Cardinals defense stymies Matthew Stafford, Rams