Interim head coach John Fassel noted how his new position for the past three games was the best coaching experience of his life.
“It’s definitely something that I’ll never forget,” he said. “I think it’ll be an experience that has made me a lot better coach.”
After the Los Angeles Rams lost to the Arizona Cardinals 44-6, he told the team how proud he was of them and how proud he was of being a member of the franchise.
Quarterback Jared Goff completed 13 of 20 passes for 120 yards. Running back Todd Gurley executed four receptions for 37 yards and 14 carries for 40 yards. Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer made 20 out of 38 passes for 255 yards. Wide receiver J.J. Nelson earned 4 catches for 75 yards.
“This is a close team, through everything we’ve been through this year, everybody stuck together,” wide receiver Pharoh Cooper.
The Cardinals lived by passing, ultimately gaining 15 first downs by flight. They also kept the Rams to 123 yards.
The Cardinals scored a field goal in their first possession after 10 plays. Passes advanced them down the field, but the Rams protected the red zone.
Linebacker Markus Golden put the pressure on Goff by sacking him twice in the first quarter, pushing the Rams back 16 yards. Los Angeles was not able to travel to Arizona territory until the second quarter.
Safety Maurice Alexander picked a pass meant for Nelson early in the second quarter. Cornerback Harlem Miller returned the favor, intercepting a deep pass for a 52-yard interception return. After Arizona scored a field goal, they had six points.
Palmer connected with wide receiver Jeremy Ross in the Cardinal’s next possession, edging the score to 13. Wide receiver Tavon Austin ran in a touchdown that the officials negated due to an illegal motion by Goff. Referee Craig Wrolstad noted that the motion happened well before the snap.
“The quarterback has to, when he walked up to the line of scrimmage, if he gets within a yard of the center, after he goes into motion, he must stop,” Wrolstad said. “Our ruling was, he didn’t get set for a second behind the center and as he went in motion –since he was near the center – he goes in motion, he then has to stop then, and he didn’t stop.”
Kicker Greg Zuerlein put the Rams on the scoreboard with two field goal kicks late in the second period, notching the score to a seven-point deficit. The Cardinals scored another field goal and maintained the lead at the half with 16-6.
In the third quarter, linebacker Chandler Jones sacked Goff two consecutive times, both resulting in Cardinal touchdowns. Arizona was at 30 points.
In the fourth, wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald ran into the end zone to receive the pass and edged the score to 37.
Rams quarterback Sean Mannion made his season debut with 11:35 left in regulation. A few plays later, Cornerback Justin Bethel intercepted a pass for a 66-yard return to seal the Rams’ fate, putting the score up to 44.
“We got elevate our game to a whole other level next year. Everybody is going to be held accountable,” Austin said. “Whatever coaches are in here, everybody is going to be held accountable.”