Game Recap: Donald Breaks Records, Anderson Runs Wild in Rams 31-9 Victory over Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. — No Gurley, no problem.

While running back Todd Gurley was sidelined by a knee injury on Sunday, C.J. Anderson, signed on Tuesday, was excellent in his Los Angeles debut, helping propel the Rams to a 24-9 victory — their 12th win of the season.

Los Angeles had three rushing touchdowns in the first half — one from Anderson, one from wideout Robert Woods, and one from quarterback Jared Goff — to give the visitors a 21-9 halftime lead. The Rams put up 21 first downs in the first half, gaining 139 yards rushing on 22 carries on the ground.

The second half was much the same story, as L.A. maintained possession throughout the half and didn't let the Cardinals get anything going offensively to win.

That was in large part because of defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who broke two records on Sunday with his 3.0 sacks on quarterback Josh Rosen. Donald set the league's single-season record for sacks by a defensive tackle, then broke the overall franchise single-season sack record. He now has 19.5 sacks in 2018.

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A promising opening drive ended poorly for the Rams when defensive end Benson Mayowa strp-sacked quarterback Jared Goff on 1st-and-10 from the Arizona 40. Arizona linebacker Deone Bucannon recovered the loose ball, setting the Cardinals up on Los Angeles' 41-yard line.

Though quarterback Josh Rosen was able to scramble for a first down on 3rd-and-4, defensive tackle Aaron Donald recorded a sack on the next set of downs to put the Cardinals further behind the chains. Zane Gonzalez would hit a 36-yard field goal to give Arizona an early 3-0 lead.

That lead wouldn't last long, though, as the Rams marched 75 yards down the field to take the lead. Wideout Brandin Cooks put the Rams in good position when he took a jet sweep to the right for 17 yards, with a defensive penalty adding 15 more to the play. But it was wide receiver Robert Woods who got the ball into the end zone for the first rushing touchdown of his career on a four-yard jet sweep to the right.

Following a forced three-and-out on defense, Los Angeles got right back to work offensively — this time moving down the field through 49 rushing yards from Anderson on four carries. Anderson's 27-yard run moed the Rams into the red zone, and then Goff finished off the possession with a one-yard run off a read-option to give L.A. a rushing touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

While wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald dazzled the State Farm Stadium crowd with a 32-yard touchdown to running back David Johnson on a double-pass play. But that was about it for the Cardinals' offense in the first half. Plus, kicker Zane Gonzalez missed the extra point, keeping the score at 14-9.

The Rams put together another methodical drive on their ensuing possession, with L.A. converting a pair of third-down chances with an 18-yard pass from Goff to Cooks, and a two-yard jet sweep by Cooks on 3rd-and-1.

Anderson topped off the 12-play, 75-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown — his first rushing TD of the 2018 season.

Following a missed 54-yard field goal by Gonzalez, the Rams gave kicker Greg Zuerlein an opportunity for three more points to end the half. But while Zuerlein's 57-yard attempt had plenty of distance, it bounced off the left upright and the Rams went into halftime with the score still 21-9.

Los Angeles began the second half on defense, forcing a punt after defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh recorded a sack and batted a third-down Rosen pass away.

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Then Rams then used another long offensive possession to move down the field and get into scoring position. But Anderson lost five yards on a screen on 1st-and-goal from the Arizona nine, and L.A. couldn't get back on track enough to get in the end zone. Settling for a 21-yard field goal, the Rams were up 24-9.

Los Angeles began the second half on defense, forcing a punt after defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh recorded a sack and batted a third-down Rosen pass away.

Then Rams then used another long offensive possession to move down the field and get into scoring position. But Anderson lost five yards on a screen on 1st-and-goal from the Arizona nine, and L.A. couldn't get back on track enough to get in the end zone. Settling for a 21-yard field goal, the Rams were up 24-9.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald broke a longstanding NFL record early in the fourth quarter, bringing down Rosen on 3rd-and-10 for an eight-yard loss. That sack gave Donald 18.5 on the season, setting a new NFL record for sacks by an interior lineman.

That Donald sack led to a Rams punt, which was downed by the Cardinals at the Rams' five-yard line. But it was no matter for Anderson, who immediately broke off a 46-yard run to the left to put L.A. at the Cardinals' 49. A couple plays later, Woods caught a 39-yard touchdown to give Los Angeles a 31-9 lead. Woods also became just the fourth player in NFL history with 14 straight games with at least 60 receiving yards within a single season on the reception.

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Donald wasn't done reaching milestones in the fourth quarter, as he touched down Rosen for his third sack of the game. That gave him the Rams' single-season record, surpassing the mark set in 2013 by former defensive end Robert Quinn.

At that point, L.A. put in its reserves on offense and defense. The Cardinals also put in Mike Glennon at quarterback.

With the victory, Los Angeles' record stands at 12-3 on the season. The Rams will be back at home to complete the regular season next week against the 49ers.

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