Arizona Cardinals season comes to an end after 34-11 loss to Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Troy Reeder, left, pressures Arizona Cardinals quarterback...
Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Troy Reeder, left, pressures Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) into throwing a pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by David Long Jr. during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 7:32 PM MST
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INGLEWOOD, CA (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Arizona Cardinals season came to a disappointing finish on Monday night, falling to the Los Angeles Rams 34-11 at SoFi Stadium. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray finished with 137 passing yards and two interceptions. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford finished with 202 passing yards and two touchdowns.

The Cardinals offense lagged in the first quarter with several three-and-outs, unable to move the ball. The Rams took an early 7-0 lead on the Red Birds after a 4-yard pass from Stafford to Odell Beckham Jr. The catch was Beckham Jr.’s first playoff touchdown in his eight years in the league.

Murray and the Cardinals could not answer the Rams touchdown drive after another three and out. Stafford and the Rams marched down the field early in the second quarter. Stafford went to Beckham Jr. once again for a deep 31-yard pass to set up the Rams at the Cardinals 2-yard line. Rams running back Sony Michel cut through the middle for the touchdown, but the play was reversed after officials said Michel didn’t break the plane. Stafford went for the QB sneak on the next play, and refs said he was also short. Sean McVay and the Rams challenged the call, and the play was reversed, giving the Rams a 14-0 lead.

Things just got worse for the Cardinals a few plays later. Murray heaved the ball into the air as he was being tackled to the ground, and it was intercepted by Rams cornerback David Long Jr., who then ran it in for the touchdown. The Rams went up 21-0 with just under 8 minutes in the first half.

After the interception touchdown, the game wasn’t in the Cardinals favor. Murray attempted a short pass up the middle to James Conner, who bobbled and lost the ball, which Rams defensive tackle Marquise Copeland then intercepted. After Murray’s second interception, the Cardinals defense was luckily able to get the stop, keeping the game at 21-0.

The Rams immediately took control once again to open the third quarter. Beckham Jr. decided to get in on the quarterback action, throwing a deep ball to Cam Akers for 40 yards. The pass set up the Rams at the Cardinals 11-yard line. A short pass from Stafford to Cooper Kupp gave the Rams a commanding 28-0 lead.

The Cardinals were finally able to get across the 50-yard line after a 23-yard pass from Murray to Christian Kirk. The pass set up the Red Birds at the Rams 7-yard line with just over five minutes in the third quarter. The Cardinals finally put some points on the board after Conner cut through the middle for a 2-yard score. The Cardinals then opted to go for the 2-point conversion and succeeded thanks to the connection from Murray to Antoine Wesley, putting the score at 28-8.

Tragedy struck for the Cardinals late in the third quarter. Safety Budda Baker went for the low tackle on Akers but took a blow to the head. Baker was shaken up after the play and had to be carted off the field. The Cardinals weren’t able to pull off a comeback in the fourth quarter, and ended the season with the 34-11 loss.

The Cardinals playoff win drought continues after the loss. The Red Birds last playoff win was at home against the Green Bay Packers during the 2014-15 playoffs. The last time the team won a road playoff game was in the 2009 season, defeating the Carolina Panthers.

The Rams will take on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday at 1 p.m.