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"New" Season Comes Out Flat, And Rams Aftermath

When looking up the NFL record for passing yards in a game doesn’t feel foolish – and it didn’t, checking out Norm Van Brocklin’s 554 yards in a game back in 1951, when another Rams quarterback, Jared Goff, hit 405 yards Sunday against the Cardinals with 8:44 left in the third quarter – it is never a good sign.

Kliff Kingsbury said coming out of the bye that he wanted to treat this five-game, post-bye stretch as a season unto itself. Offensively, it did feel like that Cardinals’ offense that played the first three quarters of the season-opener against the Lions. But the defense still was stuck making the same mistakes that has plagued it all year.

“I think that from the jump we were flat,” quarterback Kyler Murray said, and no one was going to argue. Murray had said last week he didn’t like the bye week basically because it interrupted the season, and while Murray emphasized he wasn’t saying Sunday’s issues were only bye related, he did acknowledge it all “felt off” and it certainly didn’t have the same feel of what the Cards had done recently before the bye.y

The defense, it’s been an issue. But offensively, the Cards looked poor and that was new.

It’ll make for an interesting week and a game next Sunday, against the Steelers – who are trying to make a playoff push – with a defense that is arguably better than the Rams have and an offense that does not have the same talent.

-- Goff didn’t come close to Van Brocklin because the Rams got the big lead. He didn’t even crack the top five of passing yards against the Cardinals – Peyton Manning, by the way, holds that mark with the 479 he had in Denver in 2014. You remember that game, a Broncos’ blowout win featuring Logan Thomas’ lone NFL completion as a QB, an improbable 81-yard TD bomb to running back Andre Ellington.

-- David Johnson got some touches. Six, in fact. Chase Edmonds wasn’t used on offense. Kenyan Drake had 15 touches. The offense never did much, so it’s impossible to tell what it might mean. But Johnson definitely remains in the mix.

-- The pressure on Murray was no bueno. Not only were there six sacks, but a handful of them were the huge-loss variety that it seemed the Cardinals had been able to avoid over the last six or eight games. Murray acknowledged the Rams did a good job jumping the short routes.

-- Goff hadn’t thrown a TD pass the last three games. But when pass catchers are running so free so often, it’s easier for a QB to get back on track.

-- The play that felt like it summed up the game – even though the Cardinals were already well behind? The 3rd-and-9 screen to Rams receiver Robert Woods with the Rams at their own 9. Woods was trapped. The Rams were going to punt. And then he managed to reverse field, get a lead block from Goff on cornerback Patrick Peterson, and spring for 48 yards.

“Had it been someone other than a defensive back, I’m not sure what I would have done,” Goff said. “(Peterson) isn’t a small dude, but I just tried to get in his way a little bit.”

Peterson was gone from the locker room after Kingsbury talked to the media.

-- The number of near-interceptions Murray threw Sunday felt crazy, given that he never does such things. He only had one officially picked off, but it could have been four or five. It was a clunker of a game that rookies are going to have.

The Cards have lost five straight to the Rams by a combined score of 164-32.

-- It’ll get lost in the shuffle, and Kingsbury didn’t officially challenge it, but the Cardinals did get a pass interference call through a replay. Murray had a pass to Larry Fitzgerald glance off Fitz’s hands to safety Taylor Rapp, but cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman (you’ll remember him for the non-PI call against the Saints that got us into this PI replay mess in the first place) was grabbing Fitz as the ball arrived. No flag was thrown, but all turnovers are reviewed, and during the review, the call was changed to pass interference.

-- The fact Christian Kirk not only didn’t have a catch until the fourth quarter – and only targeted once -- was a symptom of the offensive issues. So was a late deep target to Kirk that was overthrown enough that Kirk, tracking it deep in the end zone, collided with the (thankfully padded) goalpost.

-- Chandler Jones was given half-a-sack Sunday, but we’ll see if it holds up to statistical review. The play looked like it was more Cassius Marsh and Jonathan Bullard, but we will see.

That’s enough for tonight. A new week awaits.

WR Christian Kirk hits goalpost on an incompletion against the Rams in 2019

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