What We Saw: Rams at Cardinals

Looking for a signature win, the Rams went out and earned one against the #1 team in the NFC

Rams @ Cardinals

Final Score: Rams 30, Cardinals 23

Writer: Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)

 

A couple of poorly timed Kyler Murray interceptions were ultimately the difference in this Monday night, NFC West matchup with definite playoff implications on the table. Rams’ DT Aaron Donald had three sacks on Monday night and made life more than difficult for Murray and the Cardinals’ offense – effectively shutting down the run game all night. That’s not to say that Arizona had no fantasy success on the ground – RB James Conner ultimately finished with 125 yards from scrimmage and 2 receiving TDs, but could muster only 31 rushing yards on 13 attempts. On the other side of the football, Cooper Kupp had a huge night – finishing with a career-high 13 catches to go along with his 8th 100-yard receiving game of the season. The Cardinals had no answer for Kupp or fellow Rams’ wideout Odell Beckham, Jr. as both found the end-zone and were able to consistently get open the entire night. Murray and the Cardinals pulled within a TD in the final seconds and even recovered a late onside kick, but a holding penalty killed their momentum, and the game ended with the third and final sack from Aaron Donald. With the fantasy playoffs looming, Monday night was a make-or-break for tons of fantasy teams out there. Did your squad get you to the promised land? Let’s dive into what we saw:

 

Los Angeles Rams

 

Quarterbacks

 

Matthew Stafford: 23/30, 287 yards, 3 TD, Fumble

 

Rams’ QB Matthew Stafford has been plagued by inconsistency at times this season, but he showed us on Monday night why the Rams’ are still a serious contender. Monday night marked Stafford’s 4th game out of Los Angeles’ last 7 where he finished with at least 3 TD passes and no turnovers. After going three-and-out on the Rams’ first possession, Stafford settled in and led the offense to 5 consecutive scoring drives in the first half. His first TD pass went to WR Odell Beckham, Jr. on this short, smooth 2-yard slant where only his receiver could make a play:

 

 

We all know that Stafford likes the long ball as well, so he showed us the cannon with this 52-yard bomb to WR Van Jefferson early in the 3rd quarter:

 

 

While Stafford’s play has been inconsistent at times this year, he showed us on Monday night why he is still an elite fantasy QB moving towards the fantasy playoffs.

 

Running Backs

 

Sony Michel: 20 carries, 79 yards | 1 target

 

With RB Darrell Henderson a late scratch from Monday night’s contest with a positive COVID test, the Rams leaned heavily on RB Sony Michel against the Cardinals on Monday night. Michel wasn’t able to find the end zone nor was he able to contribute anything to the passing game, but he added a respectable 79 rushing yards and picked up 4 first downs on the ground along the way.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Cooper Kupp: 15 targets, 13 receptions, 123 yards, TD

Odell Beckham, Jr.: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 77 yards, TD

Van Jefferson: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 58 yards, TD

 

It was a big night for the Rams’ pass-catching group – headlined by none other than WR Cooper Kupp. Kupp has been football’s most dynamic receiver this season and Monday night was no different. As I mentioned in the opener, Kupp’s 13 receptions on Monday night were a new career-best for him. But what I didn’t mention was that this catch early in the 4th quarter put Kupp’s career receiving total to 5,000 yards:

 

 

Kupp was unstoppable on Monday night – finding separation with ease and ultimately finding the end-zone for this 4-yard TD:

 

 

WR Odell Beckham, Jr. also had a solid night, finishing his third-straight game with a TD grab since joining the Rams at the trade deadline. Beckham appears to be getting more comfortable in this Rams’ offense and his usage has stabilized over the course of the last couple of weeks.

 

Arizona Cardinals

 

Quarterback

 

Kyler Murray: 32/49, 383 yards, 2 INT | 7 carries, 61 yards, Fumble

 

For fantasy purposes, it was certainly a tough night for Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray. In fact, Monday night marked Murray’s second game out of his last 3 where he failed to account for a single TD through the air or on the ground. Murray made a lot of dynamic plays to keep the down alive and extend drives – including this 41-yard strike to WR Christian Kirk:

 

 

Or how about this scramble to extend the play and hit WR A.J. Green to extend this late third-quarter drive:

 

 

It wasn’t the greatest of fantasy performances for Murray, but he’ll be a prime bounce-back candidate next week against the Lions.

 

Running Backs

 

James Conner: 13 carries, 31 yards, 2 TD | 9 targets, 9 receptions, 94 yards

 

It was an absolutely huge night for Cardinals’ RB James Conner on Monday night against the Rams. As I mentioned in the opener, Conner did have a tough time gaining yardage on the ground against L.A.’s tough defensive front, but he found other ways to gash Arizona – mainly as a receiver. Conner’s 94 receiving yards were a career-high, and it was his 7th-straight game with at least one TD – in fact, he decided to add two just to make it legit:

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

A.J. Green: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 102 yards

DeAndre Hopkins: 12 targets, 5 receptions, 54 yards

Christian Kirk: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 86 yards

Zach Ertz: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 42 yards

 

Instead of perennial Pro-Bowl WR DeAndre Hopkins leading the way for the Cardinals’ pass-catching group on Monday night, it was WR A.J. Green who emerged as Kyler Murray’s favorite target on Monday night. With Rams’ stud cornerback Jalen Ramsey ruled out late with a positive COVID test, it was a no-brainer that the Cardinals would test the Rams’ suddenly softer secondary. And while it was Hopkins who paced the Cardinals’ WRs with targets, it was Green who ultimately finished with the most receptions and receiving yardage on the night. We mentioned earlier that Rams’ WR Cooper Kupp passed the 5,000 career receiving yards mark in Monday night’s game, but Green did him one better and surpassed 10,000 career receiving yards in the contest. Green could have had an even bigger night as he found himself open behind the Rams’ secondary in the first quarter, but there was a miscommunication on the route and the ball sailed incomplete. The Rams’ defense dialing up lots of pressure looks contributed to Hopkins’ inefficient 5 grabs on 12 targets.

 

Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.