The battle for first place in the NFC West was on display when two undefeated teams took the field in Los Angeles looking to pick up a signature win.
Kyler Murray passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns as the Arizona Cardinals went on to defeat the Los Angeles Rams 37-20, staying unbeaten and moving atop of the division on Sunday afternoon at SoFi stadium in front of 70,003 in attendance.
Arizona (4-0) recorded their longest unbeaten start since 2012, while Los Angeles picked up its first loss of the season.
“I feel like as a team, we’re building towards something,” said Arizona cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., who intercepted Los Angeles in the first half. “We hadn’t beaten the Rams in how many years. I don’t know the exact number. Five years? But this is something definitely growing.”
Chase Edmonds rushed for 120 yards, James Connor recorded two rushing scores on 18 carries for 50 yards for the Cardinals (4-0), who held a (216-121) advantage in the run game over the Rams.
Murray also dazzled and escaped defenders throughout the game while rushing for 39 yards on six attempts by keeping plays alive with his legs.
“That’s the athleticism and just the great playmaker that he is,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of Murray. “There were a couple instances where we feel like we could have been better, but you’ve got to give him credit. He’s a playmaker.”
Murray found A.J. Green on a 41-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give the Cardinals a 7-3 lead after Matt Gay connected on a 42-yard field goal for the Rams.
Stafford finished 26 of 41 for 280 yards and two touchdowns but threw an interception while not looking like the early MVP candidate that was on display for the Rams (3-1) in the first three weeks.
“This is a prove-it (sport), and you’ve got to go out there and do it every time,” Stafford said. “I wasn’t good enough at doing that today. I think as a team, we probably weren’t good enough as far as going out in every single play and executing it.”
Van Jefferson hauled in an early touchdown pass in the first to give the Rams a 10-7 lead, Robert Woods added a receiving score late with 1:14 remaining.
Cooper Kupp had five receptions for 64 yards and Darrell Henderson was effective in his return for the Rams after missing the last game with a rib injury. He rushed for 80+ yards in the first half but was unable to add much production after playing from behind in the second half.
“We were running the ball efficiently, just kind of got out of some of those situations where we weren’t able to stick with it when the score got out of hand,” McVay said. “I’ve gotta do a better job being patient and making sure that we’re putting our guys in better spots.”
Los Angeles trailed by four points early in the second quarter after Arizona tight end Maxx Williams scored on a 14-yard pass from Murray.
Just two minutes later, Sony Michel fumbled for the Rams after a Markus Golden hit as Budda Baker scooped up the ball, allowing the Cardinals to score five plays later on a Conner one-yard rushing score to grasp a 21-10 lead.
Conner added another one-yard rushing score in the third to give the Cardinals a commanding three score advantage, leading to the Cardinals snapping an eight-game losing streak to the Rams by closing out a 37-20 road victory.
“We’ve got the right guys in that locker room,” McVay said. “We didn’t all of a sudden become a different football team. We didn’t play up to our standards, but you give the Cardinals credit, and we look forward to responding on a short week.”
The Rams will look to bounce back with a quick turnaround while heading to Seattle to take on the Seahawks (2-2) on Thursday night at 5:20 p.m.