Looking to cap an intensely disappointing 2019 season on a positive note, the reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams look to avoid a non-winning season Sunday when they host an Arizona Cardinals team that may be without starting quarterback Kyler Murray.
How to Watch
When: Sunday, Dec. 29
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
After looking so impressive last season,winning 13 games and reaching the Super Bowl, the Rams (8-7) spent all of 2019 in a collective fog offensively and defensively following their 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. There were very few weeks Los Angeles looked in sync on either side of the ball, and fewer still when both units clicked for lengthy periods in the same game.
That inconsistency, coupled with an improved NFC West, as all three teams got better, has left Los Angeles on the outside looking in at the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. The Rams were officially eliminated from the playoff chase Dec. 22 with 34-31 loss at San Francisco, where their season-long shortcomings were again exposed.
Jared Goff threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns, but his interception was a costly one as it was a pick-six. Todd Gurley found paydirt twice, but had only 48 yards on 15 carries and needs 97 yards to avoid a career-low as he enters this contest with 789.
The defense failed to come up with needed stops in the fourth quarter, as San Francisco’s scoring drives totaled 91 and 60 yards, the latter of which culminated in Robbie Gould’s game-winning 33-yard field goal as time expired.
One of the few positives on the season has been wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who has career-highs across the board: 87 catches, 1,062 yards and nine touchdowns. He has reeled in a scoring pass in each of the last four games.
Arizona (5-9-1) will miss the postseason for the fourth straight year, but things are trending in the right direction for the Cardinals considering they were 3-13 last season and picking No. 1 overall for the second straight year heading into this season.
Murray is a large source of optimism, with the decision to jettison Josh Rosen for the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner looking better and better throughout his rookie season. He has taken well to first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” system, making mistakes on the fly, but also succeeding in keeping Arizona competitive.
Murray has thrown for 3,397 yards and 18 touchdowns with only 10 INTs in 500 attempts and also has rushed for 544 yards and four scores. The quarterback, though, is day-to-day with a hamstring injury suffered in last Sunday’s 27-13 road upset of Seattle. Kenyan Drake picked up the offensive load and barreled his way for 166 rushing yards.
Though nothing is certain, this could also be the final game of wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s storied career. The 36-year-old has put together a solid season in his typical understated style, entering the season finale with 71 catches for 759 yards and four TDs.
Fitzgerald ranks second all-time to Jerry Rice in receptions (1,374) and receiving yards (17,038), and is also sixth with 120 touchdowns. He has 191 catchers for 3,154 yards and 18 TDs in 31 career games vs. Rams.
Los Angeles did put together arguably its best performance of the season in Arizona in Week 13, steamrolling the Cardinals 34-7, as Goff threw for 424 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Gurley added 95 yards and a score, while the Rams defense sacked Murray six times and limited him to 124 net passing yards.