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Chandler Jones Comes Up Short In 20-Sack Quest

OLB Chandler Jones signals a tipped pass against the Rams.
Linebacker Chandler Jones signals he tipped a pass during Sunday's loss in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES – There was a pair of passes defensed and a tackle for loss, but Chandler Jones did not break Michael Strahan's sack record Sunday against the Rams.

He didn't reach 20 sacks either, after being shut out by a Rams' pass protection scheme that was clearly working to keep him off quarterback Jared Goff during Sunday's 31-24 Rams win at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

"I won't use the word disappointment," said Jones, who ended up second in the NFL in sacks after Tampa Bay's Shaq Barrett's big day left him with 19½ for the year. "Things didn't go our way, but disappointment is not the word I'd use."

Jones did get one quarterback hit, reaching Goff right after the release of the ball, but for the most part, he wasn't close for a sack. Goff was sacked once Sunday – a combined effort from Cassius Marsh and Budda Baker – and was only sacked 22 times on the season.

"I knew that they'd have a plan, Sean (McVay) and his staff," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "They weren't going to let him wreck the game. But he had tackles for loss, deflected a couple balls, he made his impact like he has his entire year. But they had a great scheme to not let him get home."

Cornerback Patrick Peterson said he was sad Jones couldn't get the sack title, but it didn't detract from Jones' big season.

"They put everybody who had a Ram uniform in front of him to slow him down," Peterson said.

Jones, who is still going to the Pro Bowl, knew it was coming.

"Watch the film. Guys were sliding, they were chipping, they were doing everything they could for me not to get to the quarterback," Jones said. "They did a good job at it."

DAVID JOHNSON SITS OUT

Running back David Johnson was active, but he did not play Sunday and being on the sideline without his helmet most of the game, it looked like he knew he would not be going in the game.

Kingsbury said he simply wanted to play starter Kenyan Drake the whole game. Backup Chase Edmonds did get one carry, but Drake finished with 60 yards on 12 carries and another three catches for 23 yards.

Now comes the decisions at the position in the offseason. GM Steve Keim has said the Cardinals would like to re-sign Drake, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. Figuring out what to do with Johnson – who has a $10 million guaranteed salary for 2020 – is also paramount.

"That's a postseason discussion, once we get a chance to sit back and talk to personnel and Steve and all those guys," Kingsbury said.

ARNOLD SHINES AGAIN

The Cardinals may have made a find in tight end Dan Arnold, who hauled in four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown as he continued to show well after being a waiver claim from New Orleans late in the season.

"I didn't know who he was when he got here, obviously," Kingsbury said. "He's given us a lot more (than expected.) Once you see him run routes, you see his unique skillset. For a guy still learning our system, he made some big plays down the stretch."

Arnold said he's enjoyed his short time and praised quarterback Kyler Murray as someone who has given him a chance to make impactful plays.

"The biggest thing is they have given my opportunities to do my thing," he said. "It's been fun. But the thing I'm most excited for is having an offseason to really truly learn the finer details."

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