Rams-Cardinals: Arizona beats Los Angeles 37-20, jumps into 1st place in NFC West

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Kyler Murray passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 39 more yards in a virtuoso performance, and the Arizona Cardinals extended their longest unbeaten start since 2012 with a 37-20 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

A.J. Green caught a 41-yard TD pass, Chase Edmonds ran for 120 yards and James Conner rushed for two short scores for Arizona (4-0), which finally beat Sean McVay for the first time in nine tries.

Kliff Kingsbury's Cards did it with style, lighting up the Rams' defense for 465 total yards and scoring touchdowns after two early takeaways to affirm their arrival as a contender in the NFC West and beyond despite playing three of their first four games on the road.

Maxx Williams caught a TD pass from Murray, who went 24 for 32 and repeatedly frustrated the Rams' defense. Arizona's defense made several big plays, and it sealed the team's first victory over the Rams since Jan. 1, 2017, by stopping Matthew Stafford and the LA offense on downs at the 1 with 12:05 to play.

Stafford went 26 of 41 for 280 yards and two touchdowns in his first ineffective performance with the Rams (3-1), who failed to start 4-0 for the first time since 2018 with an ugly home performance.

Van Jefferson caught an early TD pass and Robert Woods made a TD grab with 1:14 to play, but Stafford was frequently off in his connections with his receivers. McVay regularly abandoned his running game despite Darrell Henderson's 89 yards - the second-best performance of his career - on just 14 carries against a defense that hasn't stopped the run well this season.

Los Angeles' defense had few answers for Murray, who consistently found open receivers or picked up his own yardage while the Cardinals scored on seven of eight drives after an opening punt.

The Cardinals streaked to a 24-13 halftime lead behind Murray, who struggled to work his magic against the Rams in his first two NFL seasons. He was in fine form early in his SoFi Stadium debut, passing for 186 yards and rushing for 34 more in the first half while the Cards shredded a Los Angeles defense that had allowed fewer than 21 points per game this season.

Arizona scored touchdowns after both of Los Angeles' turnovers in the first half.

Green's long TD catch came after Byron Murphy Jr. picked off Stafford's underthrown pass to DeSean Jackson, and Williams' TD catch resulted from a drive that began with Sony Michel's fumble and included an exceptional first-down scramble by Murray on 3rd and 16.

The Rams had a long TD drive ending in Jefferson's catch, but otherwise struggled or settled for field goals. Stafford went 11 for 21 in the half, hitting NFL receiving leader Cooper Kupp just twice on seven targets. Kupp finished with five catches for 64 yards, while Jefferson had six for 90 yards.

The Rams now have a short week ahead, as they face another NFC West rival, the Seattle Seahawks, for Thursday Night Football.
Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.