Rams punish Cardinals, clinch postseason berth

John Wolford throws for 231 yards, rushes for 56 more in NFL debut
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The Los Angeles Rams needed a victory in the final game of the regular season at SoFi Stadium against the Arizona Cardinals or loss by Chicago Bears at home against the Green Bay Packers to advance to the playoffs after missing the postseason last season.

Well, the Rams took care of business themselves, beating the Cardinals an eighth straight time under head coach Sean McVay, 18-7 on Sunday.

With the win, the Rams (10-6) earned the No. 6 seed in the NFL playoffs, and will travel to Seattle (12-4) for the second time in three weeks to face the No. 3 seed, the NFC West division champs in the Seattle Seahawks next week.

The Cardinals fell to 8-8 on the year did not reach the postseason.

Los Angeles Rams QB John Wolford/USA Today

Los Angeles Rams QB John Wolford/USA Today

Making his first NFL start for an injured Jared Goff, John Wolford was solid but not spectacular. He finished 22-of-38 for 231 yards, with no touchdown passes and an interception. 

Wolford was sacked twice, posting a 66.1 passer rating. Wolford also totaled 56 rushing yards on six carries. The Rams finished with 109 rushing yards as a team.

Key play: With 20 second before halftime, Rams slot defender Troy Hill hauled in an errant pass by Arizona backup quarterback Chris Streveler and zig zagged his way 84 yards for the score, giving the Rams a 12-7 lead heading into halftime. The Rams never trailed from there. The touchdown was Hill’s third of the season and provided L.A. a huge momentum swing heading into halftime.

Top player: Starting in place of Michael Brockers, on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week an unavailable for the gam, defensive tackle Morgan fox finished with four combined tackles -- including two tackles for loss -- and a sack. The Rams put consistent pressure on Arizona most of the contest, finishing with four sacks on the day. The Rams also forced a safety and had a blocked a field goal by safety Nick Scott, holding Arizona to 187 yards of total offense.

What I liked: Questionable heading into Sunday’s game with an abdominal issue, edge rusher Leonard Floyd notch another sack, giving him 10.5 sacks on the season. According to ESPN, by going over 10 sacks for this season Floyd collected on his $1.25 million incentive. … Matt Gay continued to solidify his spot as L.A.’s kicker, finishing 3-of-3 on field goals and four touchbacks.

What I didn’t like: The Rams turned the ball over twice, a Wolford interception on first throw of the game and a Cam Akers fumble at the goa line, continuing the team’s season-long streak of having at least one turnover in a game. The Rams finished with 25 turnovers on the season.

Injury report: Kyler Murry suffered an ankle injury on the opening series. Murray was replaced by Streveler, who finished 11-of-16 for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception. However, a hobbled Murray returned in the fourth quarter. Murray finished 8-of-11 for 87 passing yards. Arizona LB Jordan Hicks suffered a neck injury and did not return.