The longest streak for consecutive seasons below .500 ended on Sunday, December 3. The Los Angeles Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals 32-16 to move their season record to 9-3. The victory ensured that the Rams’ streak of 13 years without a winning season was over.
The final score fails to show how much of a dogfight the game was for the Rams. They took an early 9-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gerald Everett. Linebacker Alec Ogletree followed up with an interception returned for a touchdown to take a 16-0 lead.
The Cardinals fought back by attacking the one noticeable weakness in the Rams’ defense. They went after the Rams’ front seven in the running game with Kerwynn Williams leading the way. Arizona’s offensive line pushed around the Los Angeles defensive line for much of the second quarter, resulting in 13 points leading up to the Rams’ final drive of the half.
Head coach Sean McVay responded by putting the ball in his best player’s hands. He called running back Todd Gurley’s name on three consecutive plays during the Rams’ two-minute drill to end the half. Gurley responded with two solid runs and 33-yard screen play, putting his team in the red zone. Clock mismanagement ended the Rams’ hopes for a touchdown, but they salvaged a field goal to take a 19-13 lead at halftime.
The Rams pulled away in the second half thanks to an impressive performance by the defensive line. The unit pestered Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert endlessly. The pressure worked with the Rams earning six sacks, including two by Aaron Donald. Led by the defense late, the Rams pulled away for the 32-16 victory.
Quarterback Jared Goff completed 21 of 31 passes for 221 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for Los Angeles. Running back Todd Gurley led the team in both receiving and rushing, combining for 162 total yards.
The Rams return home to face the NFC-leading Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday, December 10 at 1:25 p.m. PT.