Joshua Dobbs hits gas, then brakes to contribute to Cardinals’ rushing attack

Oct 15, 2023, 3:09 PM | Updated: 9:15 pm

Joshua Dobbs, Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams...

Joshua Dobbs #9 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

It wasn’t like the Arizona Cardinals’ offense was going all-world in the first half against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, but quarterback Joshua Dobbs and crew were finding ways to move the ball.

That was despite for the first time this season starting without lead running back James Conner, who is on the injured reserve with a knee issue.

Dobbs was part of that altered attack.

Arizona (1-5) led 9-6 at halftime in the eventual 26-9 defeat and was led on the ground by Dobbs’ four carries for 38 yards.

Twenty-four of those yards came on one scramble play where he hit the gas to take off and finished with a first down thanks to a pump of the brakes to reverse course.

It wasn’t a story that lasted. The Cardinals out-rushed Los Angeles with 104 yards (4.3 yards per carry) to the Rams’ three carries for five yards through two quarters, but the second half went against Arizona.

The Cardinals only rushed for 26 yards in the second half to 174 for the Rams, who leaned on back Kyren Williams to break open the game.

Dobbs went 21-of-41 through the air for 235 yards but had a fumble and an interception in the second half.

He was successful in finding release valves underneath in the first half.

Rondale Moore had three catches for 21 yards to lead the Cardinals at halftime, while the second-leading receiver, Michael Wilson, had a single challenging contested catch off a Dobbs roll-out.

That was good news considering Dobbs struggled to connect with Hollywood Brown, Arizona’s top receiver. Brown had four catches for 34 yards despite 11 targets.

Most notably, the quarterback missed a fourth-down deep ball to Brown in the second that would have changed the complexion of the game. Wilson and tight end Trey McBride finished wtih 62 yards each to lead the Cardinals.

Back on the ground, Arizona used a mix of running backs without Conner.

Second-year pro Keaontay Ingram started and had 10 carries for 40 yards after missing the past two games with a neck injury. Newly signed Damien Williams added eight carries for 36, while rookie Emari Demercado was utilized as a third-down option. He had two carries for 11 yards.

Rams head coach Sean McVay noticed those statistics, it seemed.

Los Angeles (3-3) on its first possession of the second half rushed nine straight times for 62 yards and then finished the drive with a 13-yard pass from Matt Stafford to Cooper Kupp to put the Rams ahead for the first time, 13-9, with 8:57 left in the third quarter.

They only built on that lead behind an aggressive ground attack. Williams finished with a career-high 158 yards on 20 carries, and Kupp closed with seven catches for 148 yards.

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