The Los Angeles Rams (8-7) face the Arizona Cardinals (5-9-1) in their final game of the regular season. The Rams are coming off a gut-wrenching 34-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers (12-3), officially eliminating them from playoff contention. The Cardinals are coming off a miraculous 27-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks (11-4) at CenturyLink Stadium, ironically a similar score to the recent Rams 28-12 victory over the Seahawks. The Rams look to end the season with a victory and a respectable 9-7 winning record, although it is not what they expected after earning a 13-3 record in 2018 that took them to the Super Bowl.
Against the 49ers, the Rams dominated on both offense and defense. They had a 21-10 lead toward the end of the first half, but that did not last. A short touchdown run and a game-changing pick-six, gave the Niners a 24-21 lead. The Rams came back in the third quarter with a 28-24 lead, but the 49ers got ahead of them in the end.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff outperformed 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in yardage, but his numerous bad throws were a problem. The interception by linebacker Fred Warner gave San Francisco the points needed to win. Goff had 27 completions on 46 attempts for 323 yards and two touchdowns. He was never sacked and had one interception. Garoppolo had 16 completions on 27 attempts for 248 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked six times and had two interceptions.
Rams running back Todd Gurley had 15 carries for 48 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers. Rams receiver Robert Woods and tight end Tyler Higbee each had great performances with over 100 yards receiving. Receivers Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp each scored one touchdown.
For the season, Goff has 365 completions on 581 attempts for 4,319 yards and 19 touchdowns. He is almost on par for yardage last season, but not nearly the number of touchdowns he had in 2018. Goff is tied with Marc Bulger with four 400-yard games in a career and a 400-yard game against Arizona will set a franchise record. Gurley has 203 carries for 789 yards and 12 touchdowns. One more rushing touchdown on Sunday will put him past current leader Marshall Faulk in all-time Rams’ rushing touchdowns with 59. Woods has overtaken Kupp in receiving yardage after breaking 1,000 yards. He has 83 catches for 1,067 yards and one touchdown plus 106 yards rushing with one touchdown. Kupp has 87 catches for 1,062 yards and leads all receivers with nine touchdowns. Higbee has 61 catches for 650 yards and two touchdowns. He is also 22 yards shy of setting a single-season franchise record for most receiving yards by a tight end.
Against the Seahawks, the Cardinals dominated the ground game and had a strong performance by quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray had 11 completions on 18 attempts for 118 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 40 yards. Murray was sacked once and had no interceptions, but he also suffered an injury in the third quarter which brought in backup Brett Hundley. Hundley had four completions on nine attempts for 49 yards. He also had six carries for 35 yards.
Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake led in rushing against Seattle with 24 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns. He had an 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, tying the game 7-7. Veteran Cards receiver Larry Fitzgerald led in receiving with four receptions for 48 yards and one touchdown. His 21-yard touchdown reception gave Arizona a 14-7 lead. Fitzgerald also became the second NFL player in history to top 17,000 yards receiving.
Defensively, the Cardinals made an impact up front on the Seahawks’ running game and even set a record for sacks. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked five times: once by former Seahawk linebacker Cassius Marsh, Sr. and four times by linebacker Chandler Jones. Jones set a single-season franchise record for sacks with 19 and is close to breaking the single-season NFL record of 22 1/2. Budda Baker led the way for the defense with six tackles. He also led in tackles in the last Rams matchup.
It will be a tough fight for the Rams in their last game at home. The Cardinals are riding high on a big win, although the Rams had their number in Glendale, AZ. On their last meeting on December 1, the Rams dominated on all phases of the ball. They maintained a 34-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Rams will be challenged by an emboldened Drake, but it is unknown if Murray will start the game after his injury. Either way, the Rams defensive line will need to be ready and prepare for a strong rushing attack. Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey will not play this game after straining his LCL against the 49ers. Defensive backs Donte Deayon and David Long may play in his place and Nickel Robey-Coleman may move from slot to outside corner. They will have a challenge with Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. Cardinals running backs Chase Edmonds and David Johnson are now healthy as well.
The Rams will meet the Cards at their last home game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before they move to SoFi Stadium next year. They are looking for a fitting end to a season of struggles and disappointments.
Kickoff is Sunday at 1:25 p.m. PST on FOX.