The Los Angeles Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC wild-card playoffs Monday night 34-11 to advance to the division round next week.
Matthew Stafford picked up the first playoff victory of his career in his fourth attempt. He came in with three playoff appearances as a member of the Detroit Lions. His team was previously scored 95-54, but that was not the case against Arizona.
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Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr. was on fire to start the game. On their second drive, Stafford first found Beckham in 17 yards to start the series and then found him again for a 4-yard touchdown. The scoring started a 21-point first half that also got him QB to sneak into the end zone and a David Long Jr. interception return for a touchdown.
Stafford finished 13-to-17 with 202 passing yards and two touchdown passes. The second touchdown pass was to Cooper Kupp.
Coup led the Rams in the reception with five catches on 61 yards. Beckham had four catches on 54 yards and had a 40-yard pass. Sony Michel ran 58 yards on 13 carries and Cam Akers had 17 carries on 55 yards.
The Rams’ defense was all over Kyler Murray from the jump. He was 19-to-34 with 137 passing yards and two interceptions. He was also fired twice.
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Christian Kirk led Arizona with six catches on 51 yards.
A scary moment occurred in the third quarter when Cardinal’s safety Budda Baker was injured in a collision. He was carried off the field on a stretcher.
Cardinal spokesman Mark Dalton said Baker was hospitalized for further evaluation. The medical staff said Baker was alert and never lost feeling or movement in his extremities.
The Cardinals played their first playoff appearance since the 2015 season. The team lost in the NFC Championship that year.
The Rams came back in the playoffs after a record of 12-5 and did a little better than last season after losing in the division round in 2020.
Los Angeles, which got a spot this season, was their fourth playoff appearance in the last five seasons. The Rams reached as far as the Super Bowl during the 2018 season only to lose to the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots.
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Next week, the Rams will drive on the road and run into Brady again. This time it’s the Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Los Angeles beat Tampa Bay at home in Week 3 of the season, 34-24.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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