The Arizona Cardinals fell flat on their face in all aspects of the game as they lost handily to the Los Angeles Rams in SoFi Stadium, 34-11.
The game was just ugly for the visiting team. With multiple star players experiencing their first playoff game, including head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray, the Cardinals looked outmatched and not prepared for the opening game of the playoffs.
The Cardinals started their first six possessions on offense with a three-and-out, which helped Matthew Stafford and the Rams build a comfortable lead before the Cardinals could even cross the 50-yard line.
The Rams, however, looked experienced and ready from the start. Stafford earned his first playoff win, easily breaking Fran Tarkenton’s record of most playoff passing yards without a win. He was 0-3 prior, all with the Lions.
Stafford passed for 202 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another as well.
Odell Beckham Jr. scored his first career playoff touchdown on a beautiful throw from Stafford in the first quarter. Beckham Jr. made his presence known throughout the game and for the Rams in eight games since he joined them after being released by the Browns. He has six touchdowns in that span.
Cooper Kupp was a factor once again, leading the Rams in receiving with six receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown. Sony Michael and Akers combined for 113 yards on 30 carries.
The Cardinals were able to get their offense going in the second half, as Murray looked way more comfortable and poised with his throws.
Murray finished the contest with 19 completions on 34 attempts for 134 yards and two interceptions. The team only rushed 18 times, with Chase Edmonds leading the group for eight carries and 28 yards. James Conner scored the only Cardinals touchdown. Christian Kirk racked up 51 yards on six receptions.
Budda Baker was carted off the field in the fourth quarter after a very scary collision with Rams running back Cam Akers. It was reported he is moving all extremities and is responsive in the hospital.
J.J. Watt did not hold back on his thoughts on the Cardinals season.
“It was a massive failure, from what we were capable of doing, to what we showed we can do, to today. There is no other way to describe it.”
The Los Angeles Rams will travel to Tampa Bay next week to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Arizona Cardinals are eliminated and will look to build off of this year’s failures and successes heading into the 2022 season.
Anthony Ravasio is a writer for TWSN and a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. In his downtime, you can find Anthony watching sports, enjoying his time with friends or family, or tracking his bets on Action (or all three at once). You can find TWSN on Twitter @TWSN___ and Instagram @twsn___. You can find Anthony on Twitter @anthonyravasio or Instagram @ravasiosports as well.