On a Monday night in Los Angeles, the Rams looked primed for a deep playoff run.
The Cardinals looked like a team that didn’t have any business in the postseason.
Los Angeles blew out Arizona 34-11 on Monday, advancing to the Divisional round for the second year in a row and the third time in the last four seasons.
The Rams got up 21-0 in the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown by receiver Odell Beckham Jr., a 1-yard sneak for a touchdown by quarterback Matthew Stafford, and then cornerback David Long’s 3-yard pick six.
Receiver Cooper Kupp added a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter on a possession that also featured a 40-yard pass from Beckham to running back Cam Akers. And Matt Gay connected on a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter to give L.A. 34 points.
Stafford earned the first playoff win of his career, finishing the contest 13-of-17 for 202 yards with a pair of TDs. He also had 22 yards rushing.
The Cardinals did not look prepared to play on Monday, especially offensively. The club had -3 total yards after the first quarter and only 40 yards at halftime. Quarterback Kyler Murray ended the first half 7-of-17 passing for just 28 yards with a pair of interceptions. He finished the game
Arizona ended eight consecutive drives with either zero first downs, a fumble, or an interception. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the longest such streak to open a postseason game since the Raiders in Jan. 1981.
The Cardinals did score a touchdown, two-point conversion, and a field goal in the second half. But it was not nearly enough to bring the team back.
Murray ended the game 19-of-34 passing for 137 yards. The Cardinals were also 0-of-9 on third down with just 182 total yards. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy took the last snaps for Arizona to end the game.
Cardinals safety Budda Baker was taken off the field on a stretcher after sustaining a hit in the second half. He was ruled out with a concussion and taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. The Cardinals announced Baker was alert and communicative during his transport and never lost feeling or movement in his extremities, according to medical staff.
With the win, the Rams now have a date on Sunday with the Buccaneers at 3 p.m. ET. Los Angeles defeated Tampa Bay 34-24 in Week Three of the regular season, but that contest was in Southern California.
Including Monday’s contest, Cardinals lost five of their last six games in 2021 for a quick postseason exit after starting the season 10-2.