ARIZONA CARDINALS

What worked? A look at how the Cardinals upended the Rams in Week 4

Jan 17, 2022, 10:33 AM
James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates his touchdown with Max Garcia #73 in the second...
James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates his touchdown with Max Garcia #73 in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals may have fallen short of their goal of winning the NFC West, but they still have a shot at knocking out the division winners in the Wild Card round on Monday.

For the third time this season, the Cardinals will square off against the Los Angeles Rams.

The last meeting between the two went in favor of Los Angeles, but Arizona put together a winning formula against the Rams early on in 2021.

While there are obvious things to consider, such as injuries and roster changes, here’s what went well in the Cardinals’ 37-20 win over the Rams in Week 4:

Running with authority

When a healthy ground game finds success, the Cardinals are a hard team to contend with.

In the Week 4 win, running backs James Conner and Chase Edmonds were forces to be reckoned with, as the former bullied his way to two touchdowns, while the latter posted 120 yards on the ground on just 10 carries.

Quarterback Kyler Murray also provided the offense with another pair of legs, adding 39 yards on six attempts.

The successful rushing attack helped give Murray more advantageous looks through the air. He threw for two touchdowns and 268 yards on 75% passing (24-of-32).

Converting when it counted

Arizona had little trouble keeping drives alive in Los Angeles.

When the dust settled, the Cardinals converted eight of their 13 third-down tries for an impressive 62%. On the year, Arizona successfully converts 45.2% of the time.

The sustained drives translated into 37 points, with all but two drives out of the team’s nine resulting in at least a field goal before kneeling in the fourth quarter.

In Arizona’s second meeting against Los Angeles, it was successful on 53% of its third-down attempts, but was only able to put some form of points on the board on five out of 11 drives.

Avoiding the big shots

The name of the game is keeping Los Angeles’ playmakers in check.

While that’s easier said than done, the Cardinals defense largely accomplished the feat back in October, allowing just three plays of at least 20 yards throughout the contest, none of which resulted in a touchdown.

In the Cardinals’ week 14 loss, the defense was on the hook for five plays of more than 20 yards, one being a 52-yard touchdown to Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson.

Opportunity afoot

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has rejuvenated his career since joining Los Angeles this offseason. He has also had his rough patches.

He may have tossed 41 regular-season touchdowns, but he was also on the hook for 17 interceptions — tied for the most in the NFL this season — and five fumbles in 2021, with cornerback Byron Murphy coming away with one of those picks in Week 4.

Arizona’s defense had steady pressure throughout the matchup despite not picking up a sack, recording five QB hits in the victory.

Stafford wasn’t the only Ram to cough up the football, either, with running back Sony Michel fumbling in the second quarter.

Cashing in

When the Cardinals got down to the nitty-gritty, they found pay dirt more times than not in Week 4, converting three of five red zone trips (60%) into touchdowns.

In Arizona’s loss in Week 14, the offense turned two of four drives into touchdowns.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is congratulated by tight end Maxx Williams (87) aft...
Arizona Sports

NFL Network’s Frelund leaves Cardinals off list of top NFL offenses

The Arizona Cardinals have not had a top-10 scoring offense since head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray arrived in 2019.
22 hours ago
New Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown answers a question at a news conference at the C...
Tom Kuebel

Arizona Cardinals’ Hollywood Brown could be next in line for big contract

The Cardinals made one of the most surprising moves on draft day by trading out of the first round for receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown.
2 days ago
Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans runs as he is chased by Ricky Miezan #45 of the Stanford Car...
Arizona Sports

NFL.com’s Reuter: Cardinals’ Ingram among late picks with chance to start

NFL Network draft analyst Chad Reuter placed Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram on a list of Day 3 picks with a chance to start games in 2022.
2 days ago
J.J. Watt #99 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates in the second quarter against the Houston Texans ...
Arizona Sports

Seven words or less: The Arizona Cardinals’ 2022 schedule

Cardinals Corner co-hosts Tyler Drake and Erik Ruby took a look at each of Arizona's matchups in -- you guessed it -- seven words or less.
3 days ago
James Conner #6 and Byron Murphy #7 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate as they run off the field af...
Arizona Sports

NFL Network’s Rosenthal projects Arizona Cardinals’ 2022 starters

With OTAs next week, NFL Network's Gregg Rosenthal projected the 2022 starters for the Arizona Cardinals with notes about every position.
3 days ago
A.J. Green #18 of the Arizona Cardinals runs after his catch from David Long #22 of the Los Angeles...
Arizona Sports

The Athletic’s Jones: Cardinals-Rams in Week 3 a must-watch game in 2022

Of the Cardinals' 2022 slate, The Athletic's Lindsay Jones believes the Week 3 matchup against the Rams stands out above the rest.
3 days ago
What worked? A look at how the Cardinals upended the Rams in Week 4