One for all the marbles? Well, not exactly. But an important game for the claim to first place of the NFC West Division, which is about as crucial as a game can get in Week 4 of the 2021 NFL season. Did the NFL schedulers plan this? Whether deliberate or accidental, pitting the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals in SoFi Stadium to face the 3-0 LA Rams was a stroke of genius or pure luck.
Unlike other games, the LA Rams got the opening kickoff and were placed into an ‘offense now’ mode. The Rams opened with a run by RB Darrell Henderson, then Matthew Stafford hit Van Jefferson with a 20-yard pass. Stafford then hit Kupp with a five-yarder, then hit Robert Woods with an 18-yard strike. That moved the ball to the Cardinals 28-yard line, after two incompletions and a short forward pass, the Rams sent placekicker Matt Gay onto the field.
Mr. Automatic booted it through the uprights for an opening score. Rams 3 Cards 0.
Both Kelvin Beachum and Justin Murray are inactive for this one. That is significant, as the Rams defense forced an incompletion, a five-yard pass to Christian Kirk. Then, at third-down and five to go? Leonard Floyd came up with a huge sack on Kyler Murray. The Cardinals lost 14 yards on that play, forcing them to punt.
In the ensuing possession, the Rams got a seven-yard run from RB Darrell Henderson. On the next play, the Rams tried a deep pass to WR DeSean Jackson. As expected, the Cardinals had scouted the deep pass, and defensive back, Byron Murphy. While that is not what the Rams wanted, it is as good as a punt.
The Rams defense was back on the field quickly, too quickly it seemed. They opened with a run around the right end for 19 yards by RB Chase Edmunds. Murray then hit DeAndre Hopkins for a 25-yard strike. Then, Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green got inside position on Rams DB David Long, and Murray hit him in stride for a 41-yard touchdown pass.
In the first quarter, the Rams trail the Cardinals by a score of 7-3. But the Rams roared back. They are running at will, already at nine carries for 68 yards. The Rams scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford.