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HomeSportsRams-Cardinals matchup has intrigue plus a dire must win

Rams-Cardinals matchup has intrigue plus a dire must win

For a midseason matchup between groups with solely three victories, Sunday’s NFC West recreation between the Rams and Arizona Cardinals options loads of intrigue.

Will Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford clear concussion protocol to play and probably maintain the defending Super Bowl champions from sliding out of postseason competition?

After struggling a hamstring damage that stored him out of form, will Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray play — and maybe salvage his crew’s season?

If Stafford and Murray stay sidelined, the sport will pit Rams backup John Wolford in opposition to Cardinals backup Colt McCoy.

Not precisely showtime at SoFi Stadium.

Yet at this level, Rams coach Sean McVay and his gamers may care much less about how something seems.

All they need is a victory.

“We ain’t got too much more room to keep losing now,” star defensive lineman Aaron Donald stated.

After Tom Brady despatched them to a last-minute defeat at Tampa Bay final Sunday, the Rams’ report dropped to 3-5. It is the primary time in McVay’s five-plus seasons that his crew has been two video games below .500.

In final season’s playoffs in opposition to the Buccaneers, Stafford drove the Rams 63 yards in lower than a minute for a last-second, game-winning area aim. Last Sunday, after the protection stopped Brady with a goal-line stand within the ultimate minutes, the offense didn’t handle 10 yards for a primary all the way down to run out the clock, giving Brady one other alternative for victory.

Afterward, Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey referred to as out the offense for failing to shut out the sport.

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Teammates and coaches this week lauded Ramsey for not pulling punches.

“He’s in the right mind set to say certain things,” Donald stated. “I don’t think he means it in a way to try to pull the team apart. If anything, he’s trying to bring guys together. …

“I’m pretty sure he just said something that was on his chest that he tried to put out there to [say], ‘We got to try to find a way to win.’”

Said defensive coordinator Raheem Morris: “He talking to his guys … he’s supporting his guys. I think the way he shows that support sometimes is brutal honesty.”

Ramsey, a seventh-year professional, stated he at all times has obtained help from teammates for voicing his opinion. Coaches with the Rams help it greater than when he performed for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Ramsey stated.

“Some people are scared of confrontation sometimes and talking about the tough things that need to be talked about and things that need to be said,” he stated. “But around here, that’s something that people know we need to embrace, and we actually are going to embrace it and try to move forward.”

The Rams path the Seattle Seahawks (6-3) and San Francisco 49ers (4-4) within the NFC West. The Cardinals (3-6) are in final place.

The Rams nonetheless have two video games left in opposition to the Seahawks, however they have been swept by the 49ers. The Rams defeated the Cardinals, 20-12, on Sept. 25 in Glendale, Ariz.

Now the Rams will try and beat them once more, probably with Wolford main the best way for the second time in three years.

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In the 2020 season finale, McVay began Wolford instead of injured Jared Goff. The Rams gained, 18-7 to clinch a playoff spot.

“It was a big game,” Wolford stated this week. “Obviously, as an undrafted player, these games mean a lot, and I was just glad we were able to get a win and get into the playoffs.… It was a good one, a good memory.”

Rams quarterback John Wolford throws a go from the pocket in opposition to the Cardinals final season.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Wolford confirmed resiliency in that recreation. The Cardinals intercepted his first go, however he settled down and made no different main errors. He accomplished 22 of 38 passes for 231 yards and rushed for 56 yards in six carries.

“We rallied around him and he ended up making some plays,” tight finish Tyler Higbee stated, including that if Wolford performs Sunday, “He’ll be ready to go.”

Wolford stated he was not feeling added stress.

“There’s always pressure in the NFL at the quarterback position to perform no matter what the record is,” he stated. “So, if I’m called upon, then there’ll be pressure and I gotta handle that and do a good job so we can win.”

Wolford’s operating potential probably offers McVay and offensive coordinator Liam Coen some added choices. Yet the final time Wolford began — in a wild-card playoff recreation in opposition to the Seahawks the week after his efficiency in opposition to the Cardinals — he suffered a neck damage within the first quarter when he was tackled on a designed operating play.

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Wolford stated he needs coaches to make the most of your complete playbook.

“I’m going to compete to the best of my ability and do everything I can to win,” he stated. “So if that means running, or that means throwing, or whatever they ask me to do — I’m going to do it.”

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