In a battle of backup quarterbacks, the Los Angeles Rams faltered against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10 and saw their playoff hopes all but evaporate.
John Wolford drew the start for the Rams as Matthew Stafford was unable to clear concussion protocol in time, and the backup quarterback struggled mightily throwing the football in the first half. Wolford didn’t handle the Cardinal pass rush well, overthrowing his receivers, which eventually led to several consecutive punts. To make matters worse, he lost a fumble that Arizona took full advantage of as they scored a touchdown on their next drive.
The second half was a better look for Wolford as head coach Sean McVay did a good job of calling plays that got the quarterback rolling out of the pocket and hitting receivers in stride. Wolford found Tyler Higbee twice on the same drive for chunk plays that culminated in a much-needed Darrell Henderson rushing touchdown.
However, the defense had trouble with the Cardinals’ own backup quarterback in Colt McCoy, who stepped up in place of Kyler Murray. McCoy was happy to take what the Rams defense gave him as he continually found DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore throughout the afternoon.
Los Angeles was only down one score when things began to fall apart in the fourth quarter. The Rams had the Cardinals backed up on a third-and-long situation when McCoy found Moore for a 14-yard gain. On the next play, McCoy found Moore again for a 26-yard catch that set up a James Connor rushing touchdown.
On the ensuing Rams drive, a Wolford pass intended for Ben Skowronek was intercepted and that essentially ended the game. Wolford did find Van Jefferson for a touchdown on their final series, but it was meaningless.
While the loss certainly stings, the biggest takeaway is the health of Cooper Kupp, who injured his ankle on a catch attempt. Upon landing, it looked like Kupp’s ankle got rolled up on and he was later seen struggling to put any weight on it. It was later reported that Kupp avoided a worst-case scenario injury, though head coach Sean McVay noted it didn’t look or sound good.
Next up for the Rams
The Rams hit the road in Week 11 to play the New Orleans Saints, who are facing their own issues on both sides of the field. At 3-6, Los Angeles isn’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs but need to be perfect from here on out to stay in the race.