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Arizona Cardinals season ends with loss in Los Angeles

Kyler Murray was knocked out of the game in the first with an ankle injury, before he returned while hurt in the fourth quarter.
Credit: AP
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is sacked by Los Angeles Rams defensive end Morgan Fox (97) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Cardinals missed a berth into the NFL playoffs on Sunday with an 18-7 loss against the Rams in Los Angeles.

The Cardinals needed to win to get in. The Rams had to either win or needed the Chicago Bears to lose to the Green Bay Packers to get in. 

The Bears were in with a win or an Arizona loss.

The Rams came into the game starting backup quarterback John Wolford, in for 2017 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff, who was out with a thumb injury. Los Angeles was also without top receiver Cooper Kupp. The Cardinals came in without Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray injured his leg during last week's game against the 49ers, but he started anyway. However, he wouldn't last. He injured his right ankle on the Cardinals' first drive of the game.

After punting, the Jordan Hicks intercepted Wolford deep in Rams territory on his first pass attempt. Simultaneously, Murray was seen heading to the locker room. 

Cardinals backup quarterback Chris Streveler tossed to Jonathan Ward who took it into the end zone to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead, but that's about al that went well for the Arizona offense in the first half.

Rams running back Cam Akers fumbled at the goal line as it looked like the Rams were about to go ahead with a touchdown. The Cardinals recovered the fumble, but would commit a holding penalty in the endzone, giving the Rams a safety.

It was 7-5 with less than 30 seconds to go when Streveler and the Cardinals were threatening at the end of the half, but the Rams picked off Streveler and took it to the end zone to take a 12-7 lead going into half.

The Cardinals had just 61 total yards in the first half.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Rams started with the ball and marched down the field into the red zone, but would settle for a field goal after the Cardinals defense made a stop following a holding call.

The Rams took nearly nine minutes off the clock, and took a 15-7 lead.

On the Cardinals following drive, Streveler from midfield tried to hit DeAndre Hopkins deep but Hopkins was called for offensive pass interference and then unsportsmanlike conduct, backing the Cardinals up 25 yards. 

After the Rams kicked another field goal early in the fourth quarter to take a 18-7 lead, Kyler Murray returned to the field. 

On 3rd and 15, Murray found Trent Sherfield over the middle to get a first down in Rams territory. The next play, Murray found Dan Arnold for another big gain down the middle, putting Arizona in the red zone. 

Two sacks would back the Cardinals up and force them to kick a field goal, which the Rams blocked.

Los Angeles took over up 18-7 with nine minutes to go.

The Cardinals forced a punt and got the ball back after just a minute came off the clock. 

The Rams, however, would stop the Cardinals again. With five minutes to go, the Cardinals were backed up with 4th and 20 and were forced to punt, and that would be it for Arizona.

The Cardinals finished the season 8-8. They have not made the playoff since 2015. Arizona will pick 17th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.