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Rams vs. Cardinals score: Matthew Stafford wins his first playoff win of his career after Arizona

There were a number of blowouts over the Super Wild Card Weekend, and Monday added another to the collection. The Los Angeles Rams were able to advance to the division round after decimating the Arizona Cardinals for four quarters en route to the 34-11 victory.

It was a fundamental breakdown for Kliff Kingsbury's team right out of the gate as they were barely able to achieve positive yardage throughout the first half. When they were not tipping, Kyler Murray threw interceptions that helped the Rams build a three-score lead at the break. The second half didn’t turn out much better as the Rams opened the third quarter with a 75-yard touchdown drive to go up 28-0 and really put a hammer down on this game.

Matthew Stafford finished his night by completing 13 of his 17 passes in 202 yards and two touchdowns with a pass rating of 154.5. Cooper Coup and Odell Beckham Jr. were his two main goals as they combined for 115 yards, receiving on nine total catches along with a touchdown scored each. On the Cardinals side, Kyler Murray completed just 19 of his 34 throws on 137 yards and two picks. As a team, Arizona rushed 60 yards at 3.3 yards per carry. carry.

For a more detailed overview of how this playoff game unfolded, check out our takeaways below.

Why Rams won

The biggest thing for the Rams was that they were able to play flawless football and took advantage of the Cardinals' inability to get anything to roll all evening. Defensively, LA was able to completely shut down the Cardinals offense and allowed very few yards after the catch when Kyler Murray opened the game and threw the ball around the line. That led to four straight three-and-outs followed by two turnovers by the defense that effectively put the game away in the middle of the second quarter.

Matthew Stafford was sharp as he marched to his first ever playoff victory. He led back-to-back touchdown drives where he would complete a perfectly thrown corner pass to Odell Beckham Jr. and then hurry after a scoring on the second turn. Although he was fantastic throughout, the Cardinals matches created some easy lifts for him, just as he went into the locker room at the break with a lead of three goals after throwing just nine passes. After finishing the regular season with eight interceptions over his last four games, the biggest thing for Stafford was that he did not turn the ball around to give the Cardinals some free momentum. All in all, it was an almost perfect night for Rams QB.

Why the Cardinals lost

Simply put, Arizona failed to show up. The Cardinals had a nightmarish start to his game, having four-straight three-and-outs that had them negatively relative to the total number of yards of offense.

After those four points, Kyler Murray had back-to-back drives that resulted in interceptions. The first choice was without a doubt the worse of the two as the Cardinals were deep in their own end as Murray felt pressure and lifted the football to the right side of the pitch while trying to avoid safety. That ball hung in the air and was eventually picked up by Los Angeles and returned for a touchdown that extended the Rams lead to 21. At the time of this pick-6, the Rams defense now has several yards of total offense (3) and points than Cardinal's offense (-1).

In the first half, the Cardinals had only 40 yards offensive and three first downs.

While the Arizona offensive could not find its foothold, the defense was also unable to stop the bleeding much. Matthew Stafford was able to throw and rush for a touchdown on back-to-back drives that gave LA the lead at 14-0. That type of bet will not give you a win during a random game in week 6 let alone in the preliminary round of the playoffs.

Turning point

While the game was already starting to get out of control, things completely fell off track for Arizona midway through the second quarter. On a second-and-7 game from the Arizona 4-yard line, Kyle Murray threw a 22-yard pass to AJ Green. The veteran receiver first seemed to manage the catch with Rams defender Nick Scott, who then delivered a big blow to force the fumble, which fell off the field.

However, Sean McVay challenged the play, claiming that Green did not get the catch down, which turned out to be the right decision when the play was toppled in Los Angeles' favor. That put the Cardinals back deep in their own territory and facing a third- and -7. Already at the next game, Murray was pushed from the left side, and instead of taking the safety, he lifted the ball softly to the right side of the field. That ball was then picked up by Rams corner David Long Jr. who went in for the touchdown.

That brought the Rams up by 21 and gave them a cushion to completely run off with the win.

Play the game

The Rams went into their bag of tricks in the second half when Matthew Stafford threw the ball back to Odell Beckham Jr. on LA's 45-yard line. The receiver then tipped back and threw a 40-yard pass to running back Cam Akers, who put the Rams deep in the red zone. Just two plays later, Stafford would find Cooper Kupp a touchdown to extend the LA lead to 28.

Not only was this a great game for the Rams, but it also rubbed some salt in the wound for the Cardinals, who failed to convert a double pass play earlier in this competition as they were penalized for an illegal forward pass on their game.

Meanwhile, Beckham finished with four catches on 54 yards and a touchdown. That achievement helped him, too earn a $ 500,000 incentive with the Rams on Monday, so it was a productive day all around for the star receiver.

What's next

From here, the Los Angeles Rams will advance to the division round and face the Buccaneers, who are fresh on their own blowout win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. That match starts at 3pm on Sunday from Raymond James Stadium.

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