Battle of Backups: McCoy leads Arizona Cardinals to 27-17 win over Los Angeles Rams

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy (12) hands off to running back James Conner (6) during...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy (12) hands off to running back James Conner (6) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)(Mark J. Terrill | AP)
Published: Nov. 13, 2022 at 5:26 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 13, 2022 at 5:29 PM MST
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INGLEWOOD, CA (3TV/CBS 5) -- With both starting quarterbacks out on Sunday afternoon, it was a backup showdown for the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams. Colt McCoy took the spot for the Cardinals, while John Wolford started for the Rams. McCoy led the Cardinals to a 27-17 victory, and running back James Conner recorded two touchdowns. The Red Birds improved to 4-6, only two games behind the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks.

The plays of the game came in the fourth quarter. McCoy took a deep shot downfield, and Rondale Moore came down with a spectacular one-handed grab. Conner took it into the endzone for his second touchdown of the day, giving the Red Birds a 24-10 lead. Defense was spot-on and didn’t come to play for the Cardinals. Wolford dropped back for the pass and went to Ben Skowronek, but Skowronek dropped the ball after a hit by Isaiah Simmons. Budda Baker picked off the ball mid-air and returned it for 53 yards. It was the Rams second turnover of the game. Cardinals were able to capitalize and finished the drive off with a field goal.

Rams were able to pick up one more touchdown in garbage time, but it wasn’t enough to knock off the Cardinals. Wolford got his first NFL career touchdown after finding Van Jefferson for the score.

Murray has a hamstring injury that kept him out for the first time this season. McCoy started three games last season while Murray was out with an ankle injury, going 2-1. Matt Stafford was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol on Tuesday, and he wasn’t ready to return. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback was injured during last week’s loss at Tampa Bay.

Both teams had nearly identical drives in the first quarter, eating up the clock. However, tight end Zach Ertz got injured after a hard tackle. McCoy found Ertz for the first down, but Ertz immediately grabbed his leg and had to be carted off the field. Both drives ended in a field goal, setting the game at 3-3 apiece.

After several three-and-out drives for both teams, the Cardinals were finally able to jump ahead after the first touchdown of the game. McCoy led the Red Birds downfield, with four connections to DeAndre Hopkins. Conner finished it off by rushing in for a 4-yard score, putting the Cardinals up 10-3. After that, the defense got rolling. Wolford was sacked by outside linebacker Myjai Sanders, fumbling the ball. J.J. Watt quickly recovered it for the Red Birds, giving the ball back in Rams territory. McCoy then floated the ball up for A.J. Green, who came down with it in the endzone. Touchdown! The Cardinals had a commading 17-3 lead just before halftime. The defense was solid in the first half, holding the Rams to only 77 yards and forcing the turnover.

Cardinals temporarily lost McCoy after a hard hit in the third quarter. McCoy was able to walk off the field on his own, but went straight to get checked out in the medical tent. Trace McSorley took over for the Cardinals for a couple plays, but McCoy was able to get back on the field.

Rams were able to put one touchdown on the board with minutes left in the third quarter. A penalty by Watt put the Rams at third and goal at the Arizona 4-yard line, and Darrell Henderson cut up the middle into the endzone for the score. Rams cut the lead to 17-10. However, Los Angeles took a huge blow on the next drive. Wolford tried to go deep to star wide receiver Cooper Kupp, but Kupp got injured on the play. He was taken off the field and was doubtful to come back to the game.

Unfortunately, injuries plagued both teams. Both teams were without their starting left tackles, with Alaric Jackson and D.J. Humphries both ruled out. The Cardinals also lost cornerback Byron Murphy and kicker Matt Prater. Los Angeles was without run-stopping defensive lineman Greg Gaines.

The Cardinals will play in primetime next Monday in Mexico City to take on the San Francisco 49ers at 6:15 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.