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Finding Something To Say, And Rams Aftermath

The big names all were among the last in the locker room, waiting to speak to the media in a situation in which players certainly would rather not but understand it's part of the gig. First up was Budda Baker, then D.J. Humphries, then Hollywood Brown, all before Kyler Murray got into the press conference room.

There is never much to say after a game like Sunday, one that has a 20-plus separation yet wasn't even that close. "What's next" is the inevitable query, and in the moment, there aren't many answers, not for a team now 2-10.

"I'm a firm believer in you set an example of what you want it to look like," Humphries said.

There are five games left, and making progress when struggling on the field is not easy. This will be the hardest part for coach Jonathan Gannon, sorting out culture and process, judging Murray in context, finding out what rookies and young players do in this situation.

"A well-trained psychological team doesn't let what happened in the past affect them moving forward," Gannon said. "I have to do a better job of that." 

-- The Cardinals won the turnover battle for a sixth time on Sunday (Jalen Thompson had an interception; the Cardinals had no turnovers with one Kyler Murray interception wiped out on a penalty and another not counting in stats because it was on a two-point conversion.) Amazingly, the Cardinals are only 1-5 in those games.

-- Matt Prater, noted long-distance expert, should've had another 50-plus yard field goal on his stat sheet after drilling a 56-yarder to end the first half. But tight end Geoff Swaim was flagged for holding with no time left on the clock. The rules say that despite the Rams accepting the penalty – taking the three points off the board – there is not an untimed down in a half on an offensive penalty. So, with no time left on the clock, Prater wasn't able to try what would've been an NFL record-tying 66-yard field goal.*

(* - Assuming the Cardinals would have let him try and risk a kick-6 return.)

-- Prater did get another 56-yard try in the second half but he got under the ball and pushed it wide right.

-- Marco Wilson did not play on defense. The cornerback was active, but rookies Kei'Trel Clark, Garrett Williams and Starling Thomas V were the starters in nickel for the team, and even when Thomas went out, it was practice-squad call-up Divaad Wilson – also a rookie – getting playing time. Gannon said the rookies gave the Cardinals the best chance to win.

"This is deep in the season," Williams said. "We have all played to a certain extent, we practice together every day. When you're out there, you're not thinking we're the new guys. Our expectation is to play at a high level."

-- Gannon was asked about Marco Wilson and running back Keaontay Ingram – who was a healthy inactive – and their roles going forward. "They will be battling to play," Gannon said.

-- That might be sooner for Marco Wilson since Thomas left the game with an ankle injury in the first half and was ruled out immediately. 

-- Kyren Williams is going to want to play against the Cardinals all the time. The Rams running back had 301 yards rushing on 36 carries over two games against Arizona, an 8.4-yard average.

-- The Cardinals came into the game 6-for-22 on fourth downs but converted 2-of-3 on Sunday. The one miss was the first, at their own 48 in the first half, a fourth-and-2 in which it looked like Murray could've run or found either James Conner or Rondale Moore on either side.  A pass to Trey McBride was broken up.

-- Murray was under center five times on the first drive of the game Sunday, which looked like a jump, but ended up with only eight snaps under center – in line with his first two games (9, 5).

-- Sunday was the first game all season the Cardinals didn't record a sack.

-- The loss wasn't good for the Cardinals on Sunday, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a good story from the day. Linebacker Jesse Luketa, who was questionable to play in the first place with an ankle injury suffered in practice on Friday, found himself in a bad place driving to the stadium on Sunday. His car let him know he had low tire pressure and Luketa got off the freeway, thinking he could find a gas station to get air. He was still a 30-minute drive away.

"But the tire was really done," Luketa said. "It wasn't holding any air. As I'm there, I look up and I see a family dressed up in Cardinals jerseys and attire. So I just took a shot."

Luketa asked if they were headed to the game and he explained the situation. Luketa said they were "ecstatic" to give him a ride. Luketa also said he thought he had no chance to make it to the game when he was supposed to, making sure to call the team to give them warning of his problem.

"I made it on time, so big kudos to (the family)," Luketa said. "I'm deeply indebted to them."

That's all for tonight.

Rams RB Kyren Williams tackled by the Cardinals in a Nov. 26, 2023 game at State Farm Stadium