MATTHEW Stafford threw three touchdown (TD) passes and the Los Angeles defense contributed two interceptions as the Rams beat the Cardinals 30-23 on Monday night at Glendale, AZ, preventing Arizona from becoming the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season.
Odell Beckham, Jr., Van Jefferson and Cooper Kupp each had a TD catch for the second straight week as the Rams (9-4) won consecutive games for the first time since October. Los Angeles moved a game behind NFC West-leading Arizona.
Stafford was 23 of 30 for 287 yards while teammate Sony Michel gained 79 yards on 20 carries. The Rams had a number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) absences, including defensive back Jalen Ramsey, running back Darrell Henderson, right tackle Rob Havenstein and tight end Tyler Higbee.
Kyler Murray was 32 of 49 for 383 yards and no touchdowns for the Cardinals (10-3), who are 3-3 since starting the season 7-0. James Conner had 31 yards rushing with two TDs while also catching nine passes for 94 yards.
Arizona wide receiver A.J. Green had seven catches for 102 yards, passing 10,000 career receiving yards.
With the Cardinals on the way to a potential double-digit lead in the first quarter, Murray was intercepted at the goal line by Rams linebacker Ernest Jones. The Rams turned the gift into a 68-yard drive that ended in a Beckham 2-yard TD reception for a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter.
After the Rams took a 10-3 lead on a 55-yard field goal from Matt Gay, the Cardinals tied it on a 1-yard TD run from Conner with 3:18 left in the first half. Conner has touchdowns in seven consecutive games.
Both teams added field goals before the half to tie the game 13-all.
Stafford put the Rams up 27-13 in the third quarter on a 52-yard TD pass to Jefferson and a 4-yard score to Kupp that came after Murray was intercepted by Leonard Floyd at the Cardinals’ 30 yard-line. Kupp had 13 catches for 123 yards.
Conner scored on an 8-yard TD run with 13:38 remaining to pull Arizona within 27-20. Los Angeles answered with a 60-yard drive, ending in a 33-yard field goal from Gay with 7:20 remaining for a 30-20 lead.
The Rams stopped the Cardinals on fourth down twice in the second half, including with 5:17 remaining when Conner was stopped at the Los Angeles 37 on fourth-and-1. Aaron Donald had three of the Rams’ four sacks.
Cardinals kicker Matt Prater had two 53-yard field goals in the first half and a 49-yarder with 37 seconds remaining. — Reuters