Five Takeaways: Rams bounce back with complete performance against Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Rams got back to their winning ways behind a complete performance against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.

Here are five instant takeaways from the game:

1) Higbee shows he’s a complete tight end

When the Rams extended TE Tyler Higbee, head coach Sean McVay noted that they ask a lot of their tight ends: they have run blocking responsibilities, pass blocking responsibilities and have to make plays in the passing game. Higbee's versatility because of his ability to do all three makes him valuable to the organization.

Higbee put all three together on Sunday, finishing with new career highs in catches (7) and receiving yards (107) along with his second touchdown of the season.

Up until Week 13, Higbee had primarily been used by the Rams in run blocking situations. According data collected by scouting service Pro Football Focus (PFF), he had 165 run blocking snaps to 130 receiving snaps, while TE Gerald Everett – who missed Sunday's game with a knee injury – had 141 to 262 in each of those situations respectively.

When the PFF box score for Sunday's game comes out, there's a good chance he finishes with more than his season-high of 25 passing snaps. And since he contributed to RB Todd Gurley's 19 carries for 95 yards and one touchdown and the Rams pass protection allowing just one sack, Higbee also should grade out well as a run blocker and pass blocker.

2) Woods maintains consistency with a big game

Robert Woods has been one of the Rams’ most consistent wide receivers over the last month. That was no different against the Cardinals.

The former USC star posted a career-high 172 receiving yards and matched his career-best for catches with 13. He had four receptions for 41 yards on the Rams' first offensive series alone. He's also historically played well against the Cardinals, finishing with six catches for 89 yards and one touchdown in their second meeting last season after posting six for 81 in the first.

Overall, it's the fourth time in last five games he’s had at least five catches and 80 yards receiving. It's also his second double-digit reception game on the season.

3) Rapp stays with it

The third time was the charm for Rams rookie safety Taylor Rapp.

After dropping his first chance and seeing his second wiped out due to a penalty against L.A.’s defense, Rapp finally broke through for his first career interception early in the third quarter. He jumped in front of Cardinals QB Kyler Murray’s pass intended for WR Larry Fitzgerald and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown.

It’s a testament to his mental fortitude to not let that - or the previous two moments in Sunday’s game - affect him the rest of the contest.

4) Big day for Rams pass rush

Los Angeles’ defense set a new season high with six sacks against Arizona, the third time this season it has registered five or more. Each occasion has corresponded with an L.A. win.

Thanks to that pressure, the Rams were mostly able to keep Murray contained, save for a late 15-yard touchdown run. However, Murray still completed just 55.9 percent of his pass attempts, his second lowest completion of the season. That pressure also helped the Rams' secondary hold Murray to just 4.8 yards per attempt, his third-lowest in a game this year.

5) Special teams steps up

It wouldn't be accurate to call this a complete team win without mentioning the contributions of the Rams special teams.

Kicker Greg Zuerlein made 2 of 3 field goal attempts, including the game's first points, and converted all four of his extra point attempts. Each of his six kickoffs went for touchbacks.

Punter Johnny Hekker averaged 41.3 yards per punt. Outside of the Cardinals' final possession with 20 seconds left, each one obtained via a Rams punt began no further than their own 26.

The Los Angeles Rams take on the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium for Week 13.

Related Content

Advertising