DAN BICKLEY

Kliff Kingsbury has to go after Cardinals’ embarrassing loss to Rams

Jan 17, 2022, 10:30 PM | Updated: Jan 18, 2022, 11:59 am

INGLEWOOD — The Cardinals owe their fans an apology. Especially the brave-hearted believers who swaggered into SoFi Stadium on Monday night expecting their football team to do the same.

Then it’s time for a change.

A new plan. A new head coach. And to complete the reboot, the team should unveil a host of brand new uniforms, as a cosmetic gesture of good faith.

It’s time to raise expectations across the board.

The Cardinals embarrassed themselves on Monday, slinking into the offseason with a 34-11 playoff loss to the Rams. In the process, they embarrassed every Arizonan who clung to delusions that the team would regain its Road Warrior mentality; that Playoff Kyler would be unstoppable; and that the return of J.J. Watt would provide all the necessary fuel.

“We put up an embarrassing performance,” Watt said. “There’s no other way to put it, really.”

As a result, the Cardinals joined the pile of NFL wildcard roadkill. But this was not a team that scrapped and clawed their way into the postseason. The Cardinals were 10-2 on Dec. 5. They were once the best team in professional football.

Don’t dare call this progress.

“A massive failure,” Watt said.

And yet Kingsbury will surely return for a fourth year in 2022. General Manager Steve Keim recently claimed his head coach was doing a “phenomenal job” and that he and owner Michael Bidwill were very happy with his performance.

But running it back yet again with this head coach, on the mantra of baby steps is a dangerous shell game, and I’m not sure why consecutive second-half collapses continue to be tolerated. I’m also certain that many disgusted fans will reject the incoming propaganda and claims of baby steps. And what I fear is that the whole regime has become too comfortable.

Bidwill is very friendly with Keim, who has produced consecutive playoff-worthy rosters and doesn’t deserve to lose his job. But Keim is clearly too content with a controllable head coach that has very little ego and defers to the GM at all costs.

The fear is they’re getting soft because the wealth never stops, even though winning seems to come to a halt midway through the season. Bidwill has a new team plane and a sportsbook opening soon and the NFL billions just keeps rolling in, year after year. And from Kingsbury to Markus Golden, too much credit was too easily given to the rival Rams. As if blowout losses in the postseason were just part of the workplace hazards in the NFL.

Of course, this loss goes beyond Kingsbury. This performance will leave a mark on Kyler Murray, who joins a small list of NFL quarterbacks with abysmal playoff debuts. His daffy decision to throw the ball up for grabs from his own end zone turned into a laughable Pick Six for the Rams, and it’s not the first time he’s panicked from his own end zone this season. Murray looked rattled and skittish and wholly uncomfortable for the first 2.5 quarters. He will need to atone for this in the future.

But in the NFL, the head coach sets the tone for everything. Did you see how 49ers boss Kyle Shanahan dialed up the perfect opening drive to get Jimmy Garoppolo rolling in their road victory at Dallas?  Same with Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford, a quarterback who exorcised his own playoff demons on Monday. That’s what impact coaches do in big moments.

Too often, Kingsbury gets swallowed by these moments. And on Monday, he failed to get his quarterback in a comfort zone, failed to get James Conner rolling early, failed to get Zach Ertz involved in the offense.

“Experience is a big part of it,” Kingsbury said. “There’s only one way to experience playoff football and that’s to go through it. You just have to go through these moments, learn from it, grow from it and use it as motivation.”

Yes, experience matters. But they’ve been at this for three years. And for those keeping score:  The Cardinals are 0-for-5 over the past two seasons in playoff-clinching games. They lost five of their last seven games in 2020-21, and five of their last six games in 2021-22. If you haven’t noticed, they do not function well under pressure. Not when the games really matter.

“Coming out the way we did, you’re not going to win playoff games,” Christian Kirk said.

And who wants to cheer on a team like that?

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta mornings from 6-10 a.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.  

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is introduced before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) cannot catch a pass in bounds while being defended by Los Angeles Rams defensive back David Long Jr. during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp catches a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passes against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, left, is sacked by Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) runs against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden, top, sacks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) rolls out against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) drops back to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers, middle, runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) catches a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., top, catches a touchdown against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson (20) during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (54) gestures during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams running back Sony Michel (25) runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., top, catches a touchdown against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson (20) during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) catches a touchdown against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee, foreground, runs against Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons (9) and safety Budda Baker during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is sacked by Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Von Miller during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) runs against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay walks on the sideline during the first half of his team's NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee reacts after catching a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers, foreground, runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., left, is tackled by Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., right, is congratulated by running back Sony Michel (25) after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. celebrates against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, middle, scores a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, middle, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) celebrates with quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles from Los Angeles Rams defensive end Greg Gaines (91) during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams punter Johnny Hekker (6) celebrates with teammates after punting against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, left, tackles Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at SoFi Stadium on January 17, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandon Powell (19) runs against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams defensive back David Long Jr., top, is congratulated by cornerback Donte' Deayon (21) after returning an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Troy Reeder, left, pressures Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) into throwing a pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by David Long Jr. during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Troy Reeder, left, pressures Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) into throwing a pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by David Long Jr. during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals is tackled by by Leonard Floyd #54 of the Los Angeles Rams in the second quarter of the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at SoFi Stadium on January 17, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Los Angeles Rams defensive back David Long Jr. celebrates after scoring on an interception return during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green, right, cannot catch a pass while defended by Los Angeles Rams safety Nick Scott (33) during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams defensive back David Long Jr., foreground left, is congratulated by cornerback Darious Williams after scoring on an interception return during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Von Miller (40) celebrates during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Marquise Copeland, left, intercepts a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams defensive back David Long Jr., right, is congratulated by inside linebacker Troy Reeder after returning an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Marquise Copeland (93) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore, right, catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams defensive back David Long Jr. (22) during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) celebrates during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Tanner Vallejo (51) tackles Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Marquise Copeland (93) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers, right, runs against Arizona Cardinals free safety Jalen Thompson (34) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, bottom, scores a touchdown against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., left, and cornerback Luq Barcoo (27) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Arizona Cardinals tight end Darrell Daniels (81) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams defensive end A'Shawn Robinson, left, and inside linebacker Troy Reeder during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams defensive back Eric Weddle (20) congratulates teammates during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, left, celebrates after catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Players try to separate Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries, middle left, from Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams defensive end A'Shawn Robinson (94) tackles Arizona Cardinals tight end Darrell Daniels during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Arizona Cardinals fans react to the score during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker, bottom, falls forward after tackling Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (23) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson, left, catches a pass against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals is carted off the field after an injury during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at SoFi Stadium on January 17, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker is carted off the field during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers, middle, is tackled by Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) gestures during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz (86) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Troy Reeder, top, and cornerback Darious Williams during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin, left, sits on the bench with teammates during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury walks off the field after the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cardinals in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp walks off the field after the Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) walks off the field after the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cardinals in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. walks off the field after the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cardinals in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) smiles after the Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Los Angeles Rams cornerback Donte' Deayon, right, breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Antoine Wesley during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford walks off the field after the Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay gestures toward fans after the Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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