August 2, 2021


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

John Wolford and Rams defeat Cardinals to make NFL playoffs

After a one-year absence, the Rams are back in the playoffs.

The Rams secured a postseason berth for the third time in four seasons under coach Sean McVay with an 18-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

The Rams (10-6) will be seeded sixth in the NFC and play the third-seeded Seattle Seahawks in a wild-card game in Seattle.

The Rams defeated the Seahawks, 23-16, on Nov. 15 at SoFi Stadium. They lost to the Seahawks, 20-9, on Dec. 16 at Lumen Field.

Rams quarterback John Wolford, starting Sunday in place of injured Jared Goff, had his first NFL pass intercepted, but rebounded to make several plays for a Rams offense that did not score a touchdown for the second game in a row and was carried again by the defense.

Cornerback Troy Hill returned an interception for a touchdown and the defense recorded a safety, which turned out to be more than enough against a Cardinals team that was without quarterback Kyler Murray for most of the game because of an ankle injury.

With the Rams trailing, 7-5, late in the first half, Hill intercepted a pass by Chris Streveler and ran 84 yards for a touchdown and a lead that was never threatened.

It marked the third time this season that Hill scored on a turnover. He returned a fumble for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 29 and returned an interception for a touchdown against the Cardinals on Dec. 6.

Rams linebacker Leonard Floyd forces Arizona Cardinals quarterback Chris Streveler to fumble during the second quarter.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Matt Gay kicked three field goals for the Rams.

Wolford completed 22 of 38 passes for 231 yards, with an interception. He also rushed for a team-best 56 yards in six carries.

Rookie running back Cam Akers rushed for 34 yards in 21 carries.

Murray was injured on the first series and replaced by Streveler. Murray returned in the fourth quarter and led a drive that ended when Nick Scott blocked a field goal. Murray completed eight of 11 passes for 87 yards.

The Rams made the playoffs in each of McVay’s first two seasons and made a run to the Super Bowl in 2018. But they finished 9-7 last season and were left out of the postseason.

The Rams went into Sunday’s game unsure of their fate after blowing opportunities to clinch a playoff berth by losing to the New York Jets and the Seahawks.