Arizona Cardinals, Kyler Murray demolish Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4

In an impressive display, Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals got a statement win against Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams.

The clash of the two 3-0 teams in the NFC West saw Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury, and the Arizona Cardinals trying to get their first victory against the Sean McVay-led Los Angeles Rams. However, with Matthew Stafford off to a superb start, the mercurial Cardinals would need to be at their best on both sides of the ball.

Kyler Murray had the Cardinals offense rolling

When the Rams went up 3-0 and got the ball back with the chance to go up 10-0, this looked like it could be a long day for the Cardinals. Yet, sparked by a defensive play, Arizona’s offense kicked into gear. On their next three drives, they went a total of 183 yards in 11 plays and scored 21 points.

After failing to complete his first pass attempt, Murray did not miss a receiver again until the Cardinals were leading 14-10. He threw just 2 incompletions between the start of the game and Arizona putting 21 points on the board.

Twice in the first half, Murray produced moments of magic to convert on 3rd-and-long. With a chance to open up a two-score lead, he scrambled 18 yards on 3rd-and-16. Then, to extend Arizona’s final drive before the half and prevent the Rams from getting a chance, Murray converted on 3rd-and-14 with a pass to Rondale Moore.

Those two plays on third down are a continual reminder of the talent Murray possesses. However, what is almost as important is how accurate he was the rest of the game. Of his 8 incompletions, 3 came on that final drive before the half, and he missed just one pass in each of the first and third quarters.

This game was a perfect example of why Murray is an MVP candidate in 2021. He displays safe, controlled play mixed with moments of game-winning magic when the Cardinals need it most.

Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense couldn’t quite get it right

This was a game filled with frustrations for Stafford and the Rams. They marched down inside Arizona territory on their very first drive. However, after failing to convert on a 3rd-and-5, they had to settle for a field goal. That first drive would become symbolic of their day.

On LA’s second drive, with the opportunity to lead 10-0 and potentially take a game-defining lead, Stafford was picked off by Byron Murphy at Arizona’s 13-yard line. Then, a fumble on their first drive of the second quarter would offer the opportunity for the Cardinals to take a 21-10 lead.

On their penultimate drive of the first half, the Rams were once again stymied by Arizona’s defense — this time inside the 5-yard line. Settling for a field goal would only cut the lead to 8 points.

A miscue between Stafford and his usually reliable receiver in Cooper Kupp left the Rams having to settle for another field goal. Unfortunately, Matt Gay missed. When the Cardinals went down the field to score another touchdown, the Rams entered the fourth quarter facing a 21-point deficit.

Statistical notes from the Rams vs. Cardinals matchup

There were a number of intriguing statistical notes to come out of this game on both sides of the ball.

The Cardinals end the McVay curse and roll back the years

While it is relatively meaningless, the Cardinals will be pleased to have ended the 8-0 record McVay had against the franchise. Murray and Kingsbury both got their first victory against McVay, which could be important physiologically down the road.

In winning this game, the Cardinals rolled back the years as a franchise. This is the first time since 2012 that the team has started a season 4-0. It is also the first time the franchise has gone 3-0 on the road since 2009.

The Cardinals have now generated 400+ yards and 30+ points in four consecutive games. Over the past two seasons, Arizona’s offense has achieved that feat 11 times, which is more than anyone else during that span.

Additionally, this loss brought the Rams back down to earth after a strong start. Los Angeles allowed an opponent to score in the first quarter for the first time this season. On top of that, the Rams had trailed for just 124 seconds all season. In this game alone, they trailed for more than 35 minutes.

Opportunities for history were missed by both the Cardinals and Rams

We could have seen both franchises’ records for all-time sack leaders broken in this game. However, both Chandler Jones and Aaron Donald were held without a sack. Donald needs just a half-sack to take the Rams record from Leonard Little. Meanwhile, Jones heads into Week 5 needing just 1 sack to pass Freddie Joe Nunn.

Additionally, Kupp could have broken the record for the most receiving yards through four weeks. Entering the game, he needed 169 yards to tie the record. However, despite numerous opportunities (13 targets), the connection between himself and Stafford was not quite there. The Cardinals held Kupp to just 5 receptions for 64 yards and no touchdowns in Week 4.

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