In a high-stakes game featuring backup quarterbacks, the Los Angeles Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday to clinch a spot in the playoffs and a wild-card matchup against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday afternoon.
The result also eliminated the Cardinals from the postseason and allowed the Chicago Bears to secure the final NFC wild-card berth despite losing Sunday to the Green Bay Packers.
With Rams quarterback Jared Goff sidelined by a thumb injury and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray hobbled by an ankle injury, Sunday’s game did little to resemble the high-octane shootouts that personified the NFC West this season.
But the Rams got enough from backup quarterback John Wolford as their defense dominated in the 18-7 victory.
Streveler, hobbled Murray no match for Rams D
Murray gave it a go for the Cardinals after suffering a leg injury last week. He left the game early with an ankle injury before returning in the fourth quarter with Arizona’s season on the brink.
A hobbled Murray didn’t have enough to mount a rally from an 11-point deficit. Aaron Donald and the Rams feasted on the Chris Streveler-quarterbacked Cardinals and didn’t cede much ground when Murray was in the game.
The Rams held the Cardinals to 214 yards of total offense as neither Arizona quarterback eclipsed 105 yards passing. Without having to deal with a normally dynamic Murray, Rams defenders honed in on the running game, limiting Arizona to 48 yards on the ground.
Streveler got off to a good start after replacing Murray, leading the Cardinals to the first score of the game, a touchdown pass to running back Jonathan Ward on Arizona’s second possession.
That was the last time the Cardinals scored.
Will Goff be ready for Seahawks?
Wolford mostly struggled en route to 231 passing yards with one interception and no touchdowns. But he made plays with his legs while leading the Rams with 56 rushing yards.
A pick six by cornerback Troy Hill late in the second quarter gave the Rams the lead for good.
Los Angeles earns the No. 6 seed with the win and will face a rubber match in the road game with the No. 3-seeded Seahawks on Saturday at 4:40 p.m. ET. The NFC West rivals split their regular-season series.
Whether Goff will be available remains to be seen. The Rams appeared confident initially that Goff would be available for a first-round playoff game, but head coach Sean McVay told reporters Sunday that he’s “not sure” about his status for Saturday.
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