LOS ANGELES – Colt McCoy slowly walked into the interview room, his left knee wrapped and giving him the gait of Frankenstein's monster has he got behind the podium.
He was there because starting quarterback Kyler Murray was out because of a hamstring injury. And he had made his start Sunday at SoFi Stadium work despite played with four of five backup offensive linemen and despite losing tight end Zach Ertz on the first possession to a potentially bad knee injury.
But he had come to ride to the rescue of the Cardinals, and with it, potentially rescuing the Cardinals' season after a 27-17 win over the Rams.
"Honestly I want K1 healthy," McCoy said. "He's a phenomenal player. But I dug deep and was proud to play as hard as I could."
Said running back James Conner, "We all believe in C.M. He's a legend."
McCoy's stat line – 26 of 37, 238 yards, a touchdown, no turnovers – looked a lot like the ones he put up last season when he beat the other two NFC West teams in road starts while Murray was injured.
It leaves the Cardinals (4-6) still breathing in the playoff chase, especially with a game against the 49ers coming next week in Mexico City.
"Just to come out and get a victory, hopefully we can build some momentum," coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
The Cardinals passed the ball the first 11 plays of the game – mostly quick throws – to help a decimated offensive line that was missing four of five starters. By the end of the game, Conner had rushed for two touchdowns and had a season-high 69 yards on the ground.
Hopkins had 10 catches for 98 yards and Rondale Moore had nine receptions for 94 yards, season-bests for the latter and an important outing given the loss of Ertz. The tight end, on pace to smash the franchise record for tight end catches in a season, was in tears as he slowly walked off the field and later had to be carted to the locker room after the first-half injury.
Kingsbury said he didn't yet know the extent of Ertz's injury, although Ertz was wearing a brace in the locker room. ESPN reported Ertz was expected to be out "multiple weeks."
The Cardinals only had right tackle Kelvin Beachum from their original starting offensive line. And also were without cornerback Byron Murphy. But on defense, the Cardinals dominated, in part with the Rams also without their starting quarterback.
Matthew Stafford sat out in concussion protocol. Backup John Wolford, who beat the Cardinals in 2020, never got a real rhythm – the Rams only had 77 yards in the first half, and that was after a 57-yard opening possession for a field goal – and then lost star receiver Cooper Kupp in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
Even without Murphy, the Cardinals shut down Kupp, who had a career-low minus-one yard receiving on three catches. The Rams didn't reach 200 yards of offense until the game was long decided.
"That's what you should do," said Watt, who had a sack. "That's how you should play. We should've closed it out at the end (giving up a late TD), but wen should've won this game and we did."
Myjai Sanders had a strip-sack – Watt should've returned the fumble for a touchdown but the officials mistakenly blew the play dead – and safety Budda Baker capped off his remarkable week of return from an ankle injury with an interception.
But the day was mostly about McCoy, in a league where the quarterback is inarguably the most important position.
Like he did in the game with his passes, McCoy was efficient in his postgame presser, passing around compliments to the depleted offensive line, to the receiving corps after Ertz went out, and to Conner for shouldering the running load.
He insisted he didn't know for sure he was going to start during the week (although he acknowledged he had a pretty good idea.) Kingsbury reiterated the Cardinals didn't want Murray to play if he couldn't run full-speed.
To turn to McCoy was comfortable for all involved.
"We want to turn our season around," McCoy said. "We know what we've got to do."
Game action photos from the Cardinals' matchup against the Los Angeles Rams during Week 10 of the 2022 NFL regular season