The Rams are a step closer to clinching a first-round bye.
They improved to 12-3 on the season with a comfortable 31-9 victory over the Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday afternoon. With the Bears beating the 49ers, they’ll need a win or a Bears loss to seal one of the top two seeds. Their bid for the top seed in the conference will remain alive as well if the Saints lose to the Steelers.
It’s nothing new to see the Rams handle an opponent with ease this season, but the big offensive name on Sunday was a new one. Running back C.J. Anderson signed with the Rams this week, got the start with Todd Gurley sidelined by a knee injury and went off for 167 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
The Rams also got rushing touchdowns from Robert Woods and Jared Goff on their way to 269 rushing yards. Goff also threw a touchdown and avoided the interceptions that have plagued him since the team’s bye week.
On defense, the big star was a more familiar part of the operation. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald had three sacks, which gives him 19.5 on the season. That’s a Rams record for a single season, a single-season record for defensive tackles and it leaves him three sacks away from Michael Strahan’s record for all players in a season.
With the bye still up in the air, it seems unlikely that the Rams will be resting players next Sunday. If Donald is on the field against the 49ers, his final push for that record should be a big Week 17 storyline.
The biggest storyline for the Cardinals is likely to be the one regarding head coach Steve Wilks’ future. There have been indications that he could be done after his first season on the job, although wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald offered supportive words about Wilks this week.
The veteran did his part on the field as well by throwing a touchdown and catching six passes for 53 yards. Fitzgerald said this week that he has “no clue” if this will be his final year and the home crowd showed him a lot of love during the losing effort.