December 24, 2018 / 12:37 AM / 9 months ago

Rams get back on winning track, rout Cardinals

EditorsNote: Clarifies 226 CONSECUTIVE games with catch for Fitzgerald; adds Donald broke NFL single-season DT sack record

C.J. Anderson rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown and Jared Goff threw for 216 yards and a score as the visiting Los Angeles Rams ended their two-game losing streak with an easy 31-9 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

The win, after consecutive defeats to the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, means the Rams (12-3) can lock up a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win at home against the San Francisco 49ers during the final week of the regular season.

Anderson, who was making his Rams debut, was signed earlier in the week for running back depth. Rams starting running back Todd Gurley was scratched Sunday with left knee inflammation.

The Rams had 269 yards on the ground without their Pro Bowl rusher. Anderson’s 167 yards were one yard short of his career best.

Goff, who had thrown six interceptions over the past three weeks, fumbled on the Rams’ first possession but went on to lead three touchdown drives in the first half.

Goff’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods in the fourth quarter was his first scoring strike in three games.

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald threw the first touchdown pass of his career and had six receptions for 53 yards in what could have been his final home game in Arizona. Fitzgerald could be a free agent after the season and has not given indications of his future plans.

The Cardinals (3-12) took an early 3-0 lead on a 36-yard field goal from Zane Gonzalez, but the Rams responded to take a 7-3 lead on a seven-play drive that ended with a 4-yard rushing touchdown from wide receiver Robert Woods. It was Woods’ first career rushing TD.

The Rams never trailed again, getting second-quarter touchdowns on a 1-yard run from Goff and a 4-yard run from Anderson, his first NFL score since Dec. 24, 2017, as a member of the Denver Broncos.

Fitzgerald’s 32-yard touchdown pass to David Johnson came after he took a backward pass from Rosen and threw over the Rams’ defense. He also has a reception in 226 consecutive games, the second-longest streak all-time (Jerry Rice, 274).

Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen was 12 of 23 for 87 yards while under constant pressure from the Rams’ defensive line.

Rosen was sacked four times and continued to play despite a right arm injury when he was hit on a pass attempt in the third quarter.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald had three sacks, while the Cardinals’ offense was held to 263 total yards.

Donald increased his NFL-leading sack total to 19 1/2, giving him both the Rams record for a single season and the NFL record for sacks by a defensive tackle in a season. It was Donald’s seventh game this season with at least two sacks.

—Field Level Media

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