Check out in-game photos from the Rams' Week 13 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Rams got off to a hot defensive start in the first quarter, but had trouble stopping the Cardinals' run game in the second period. Still, Los Angeles leads 19-13. Here are a few notes from the first two quarters.
BIG TAKEAWAY LEADS TO TOUCHDOWN
Arizona came out firing early, with quarterback Blaine Gabbert throwing a deep pass off play action for the home team's first play. But the ball was underthrown and safety Lamarcus Joyner hauled it in for his third interception of the year.
While the catch was impressive, so was the return. Joyner went 46 yards from midway in Los Angeles territory all the way to the Arizona 23.
It took the Rams' seven plays from there, but the offense was able to score a touchdown to capitalize on the takeaway. Quarterback Jared Goff connected with wideout Cooper Kupp on a 10-yard pass on 3rd-and-7 to give the Rams a first down at the 10-yard line.
Then on 4th-and-goal from the one, Goff completed a slant route to tight end Gerald Everett. The visitors took advantage of the mismatch between Everett and the significantly smaller safety Budda Baker on the play. But because of a missed extra point, L.A. only had a 9-0 advantage.
RINSE AND REPEAT
Los Angeles took an even larger lead in the first quarter through another takeaway — but this time the defense was the one to score.
After Goff threw an interception — his first interception in the first half this season — middle linebacker Alec Ogletree gave the offense a lift with a pick six. On 3rd-and-9 from the Arizona 41, Ogletree caught a Gabbert pass just beyond the line of scrimmage, then darted to his left for a 41-yard touchdown. The linebacker's first interception of 2017 gave L.A. a 16-0 lead.
After making his pick six, Ogletree left the game with an elbow injury. He is questionable to return, but was seen leaving the playing field with doctors.
Linebacker Bryce Hager came in to call the defensive signals for Los Angeles after Ogletree went out. The Rams selected Hager in the seventh round of the 2015 draft. He's been a part of the team ever since, but has not played too many meaningful defensive snaps for the club.
ZUERLEIN GETS THE FIRST POINTS
Los Angeles started out the game with points on the opening drive in large part because of the club's back-to-back NFC Special Teams Player of the Month.
Kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed a 56-yard field goal attempt, splitting the uprights with leg to spare. It's Zuerlein's sixth field goal of at least 50 yards this season.
Zuerlein came into the game leading the league with 129 total points.
CARDINALS COME CLAWING BACK
Down 16-0, Arizona scored its first points off of Los Angeles this year midway through the second quarter with a strong ground attack.
Arizona gashed the defense on two consecutive drives — the first ending with an Elijhaa Penny one-yard touchdown, the second a 15-yard Gabbert pass to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
L.A. blocked the extra point on the second touchdown, though, keeping Arizona at 13 points.