Colt McCoy passed for 238 yards in his first start of the season, James Conner rushed for two touchdowns and the Arizona Cardinals hung on for a 27-17 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Rams, who lost Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp to a possibly serious ankle injury.
Both teams played their backup quarterbacks with starters Matthew Stafford and Kyler Murray sidelined by injury. McCoy threw a TD pass to A.J. Green and hit DeAndre Hopkins for 98 yards on 10 catches, while Los Angeles’ John Wolford passed for 212 yards in a much more inconsistent performance.
The defending champion Rams (3-6) lost for the fifth time in six games, and they also lost Kupp in the fourth quarter when he went down awkwardly while being hit by Marco Wilson after failing to catch a poorly thrown pass from Wolford.
Kupp, the AP’s Offensive Player of the Year while winning the triple crown of receiving last season, made only three catches for minus-1 yard before incurring an injury that had him visibly unhappy as he limped to the locker room.
In the 34th start of his 13-year career, McCoy went 26 of 37 while patiently running a disciplined offensive game plan for the Cardinals (4-6). Murray sat out with a hamstring injury, but Arizona grinded out a much-needed victory for coach Kliff Kingsbury after losing four of its past five.
Rondale Moore had nine catches for 94 yards, including a jaw-dropping grab on a long pass on fourth-and-3 in the fourth quarter to set up Arizona’s clinching TD run by Conner two plays later with 7:41 to play.
Darrell Henderson rushed for a TD for the Rams, who are in last place in the NFC West just nine games after they won the Super Bowl. Los Angeles is three games under .500 for the first time in Sean McVay’s career.
Stafford hadn’t missed a game since joining the Rams last year, and he had missed only eight games in the past 12 NFL seasons — all of those in 2019 with Detroit. Stafford entered the concussion protocol last Tuesday after apparently getting hurt in last week’s loss at Tampa Bay.
Wolford went 24 of 36 and threw his first career TD pass to Van Jefferson with 7 seconds to play. The four-year backup wasn’t impressive in his third career NFL start, and the Rams used third-string QB Bryce Perkins on several plays. The Rams also used their ninth different starting offensive line in nine games this season.
Arizona went ahead for good on Conner’s 4-yard TD run to cap a 13-play drive in the second quarter. Cards rookie Myjai Sanders then forced a fumble while sacking Wolford, and McCoy led another scoring drive capped by Green’s toe-tapping TD catch 24 seconds before halftime.
McCoy was injured while getting sacked by Justin Hollins in the third quarter, and third-stringer Trace McSorley took two snaps before McCoy returned on the next drive.
Henderson rushed for a score late in the third quarter to trim Arizona’s lead to 17-10, but the Cardinals put it away during a drive extended by Moore’s extraordinary sideline catch.
Cards TD Zach Ertz injured his knee on their opening drive. The three-time Pro Bowl selection eventually went to the locker room on a cart. … New Cards K Tristan Vizcaino made a 46-yard field goal with 3:44 to play. He replaced Matt Prater. … Budda Baker made a clinching 53-yard interception return in the closing minutes. He was expected to miss the game earlier this week with a sprained ankle, but suited up. … Both teams didn’t have their starting left tackles with Los Angeles’ Alaric Jackson and Arizona’s D.J. Humphries sidelined.
Cardinals: Host San Francisco on Monday, Nov. 21.
Rams: At New Orleans next Sunday.