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Notable Numbers: Cardinals, Rams, NFL

Looking at quarterback Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford and more notable numbers from season’s first three weeks.

The Rams recent domination over the Cardinals has been a frequent topic of conversation in the run-up to Sunday’s game between the undefeated division rivals.

Quarterback Kyler Murray said, “They've just been better than us. We got our ass kicked every time we play them pretty much except maybe twice. But all that's out the window. We got a game Sunday against a good team and being competitive, you got to embrace it. The team expects me to be at my best Sunday, so that's how I see it and I'm excited for it.”

Last season, the Rams won 38-28 and 18-7 in the season finale when Murray hardly played because of a leg injury. In each game, the Rams had an interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Troy Hill, who is now with the Cleveland Browns.

In an eight-game winning streak that began when Sean McVay became head coach, the Cardinals have been outscored 251-91 and 116-31 in Rams home games. One of the latter was in 2017 in London, 33-0.

The Rams haven’t lost in 40 games with McVay as head coach in which they have led at halftime.

Offensive firepower

After totaling 407 yards and 31 points in the win over Jacksonville last Sunday, the Cardinals have totaled 400-plus yards and 30-plus points in each of the first three games of a season for the first time in franchise history. They are the only team in the NFL this season that has scored at least 30 points in each of the first three games.

The 2021 season is just the second time in team history (2015) the Cardinals have had 30+ points in each of the first three games of a season.

The team’s 1,297 total yards, 103 points and 13 touchdowns all represent the second-highest total in franchise history in the first three games of a season.

Murray magic

Quarterback Kyler Murray completed 28-of-34 pass attempts (82.4%) against Jacksonville. The completion percentage was a career high.

Combined with his 80.6 completion percentage in Week 2 vs. Minnesota, Murray has become the first quarterback in franchise history to have a completion percentage of at least 80.0% in consecutive games.

There have now been eight games in franchise history in a which a quarterback finished with a completion percentage of at least 80.0%. Murray owns three of those performances, with two coming in the last two weeks.

1. Kurt Warner 92.3 9/20/09 at Jacksonville 24/26

2. Carson Palmer 84.4 12/8/13 vs. St. Louis 27/32

3. Kyler Murray 82.4 9/26/21 at Jacksonville 28/34

4t. Carson Palmer 81.8 10/15/17 vs. Tampa Bay 18/22

4t. Steve Beuerlein 81.8 1/2/94 at Atlanta 27/35

6. Kyler Murray 80.8 11/8/20 vs. Miami 21/26

7. Kyler Murray 80.6 9/19/21 vs. Minnesota 29/36

8. Neil Lomax 80.4 12/16/84 at Washington 21/27

After throwing for 316 yards against the Jaguars, Murray has 1,005 passing yards in 2021. He is the first quarterback in franchise history to pass for at least 1,000 yards within the first three games of a season.

1. Kyler Murray (2021) 1,005

2. Carson Palmer (2015) 925

3. Kurt Warner (2009) 863

4t. Carson Palmer (2016) 862

4t. Jim Hart (1980) 862

Murray has rushed for a touchdown in each of his team's first three games for the second season in a row. The only other quarterbacks with a rushing touchdown in each of their team's first three games of a season since 1970 are Pro Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw (1972) and Charlie Frye (2006).

With a rushing touchdown against the Rams, Murray would become the first quarterback in NFL history to run for a touchdown in each of his team’s first four games of a season.

Fourth down success

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The Cardinals converted their two fourth-down attempts against the Jaguars and they are 3-for-3 on fourth down this season. With Kliff Kingsbury as head coach, the Cardinals have an NFL-high 68.8% success rate on fourth down attempts (33-of-48).

NFL Leaders 2019-21

Rank Team Pct. Conv/Att

1. Arizona 68.8 33/48

2. Baltimore 68.1 32/47

3. Las Vegas 65.1 28/43

4. Cincinnati 59.6 34/57

5. Kansas City 57.7 15/26

Stafford’s start

From the other sideline, Rams quarterback Matthews Stafford has established a blistering pace through his first three games with the Rams ranking second in the league with a 129.8 passer rating and tied for second with nine touchdown passes. He’s only the sixth player since 1950 to throw nine or more touchdown passes in his first three starts with a team. If he throws for three more touchdowns on Sunday against the Cardinals, he would join elite company.

Players with the most touchdown passes in their first four starts with a franchise since 1950:

Kurt Warner St. Louis Rams 1999 14

Patrick Mahomes Kansas City 2017-18 13

Brett Favre N.Y. Jets 2008 12

Mark Rypien Washington 1988 12

Matthew Stafford L.A. Rams 2021 9*

*Entering Week 4

Stafford’s targets

Cooper Kupp leads the NFL in both receiving yards (367) and touchdown catches (five). He’s also tied for the league lead with 25 receptions.

Last week, DeSean Jackson recorded a 75-yard touchdown reception in the team’s win over Tampa Bay. He became the fifth player in the Super Bowl era to register 10 career touchdowns of at least 75 yards, joining Devin Hester (14), Dante Hall (11), Josh Cribbs and Tyreek Hill (10).

League-wide drama

Through Week 3, NFL teams have scored the winning points in the final minute of the fourth quarter or in overtime on 11 occasions. Just one other season has produced more such games at this point of a season.

Seasons with the most games in which the winning points were scored in the final minute of the fourth quarter or in overtime through three weeks:

SEASON GAMES

2013 12

2021 11

2012 11

2003 11

1997 11

Working overtime

For the first time since 2018, at least one NFL game has gone to overtime in each of the season’s first three weeks. The league has had overtime games in each of the first four weeks of a season on only four occasions: 2018, 2002, 1983 and 1979.