Gurley helps Rams steamroll Cardinals
(TSX / STATS) -- Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley II expressed displeasure with having to make the long trip from the West Coast to London in the days leading up to Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
However, Gurley put those feelings aside and his 106-yard rushing day that included one touchdown helped the Rams extend their record to 5-2 with a 33-0 victory at Twickenham Stadium.
Quarterback Jared Goff passed for 235 yards and a touchdown and the defense provided two interceptions that led to points in the victory.
The Cardinals lost more than a game. Quarterback Carson Palmer broke his left arm in the second quarter and did not return. Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said Palmer, 38, would undergo surgery soon after the team returns from England and will miss eight weeks. Palmer was having one of his better seasons. His 1,856 passing yards going into the game was the second-most in the NFL, trailing only New England's Tom Brady.
Palmer suffered the injury after taking a huge hit from Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree just after Palmer released a pass that was intercepted by Lamarcus Joyner.
Greg Zuerlein added four field goals for the Rams, who already have more wins than last season, when they finished 4-12. The Rams have not finished at .500 or better since 2006 when they went 8-8. They have not had a winning record since going 12-4 in 2003. Arizona is 3-4.
Gurley rushed for 106 yards on 22 carries. It was his fourth 100 yards-plus game this season. He had no games of 100 or more yards last season.
Gurley said his success against Arizona was a team effort.
"The O-line was doing a very good job of creating holes me," he said. "Coaches and the players, the receivers and tight ends and the offensive line, those guys did a good job of getting my three or four yards a carry. Those guys have been working their tails off all year."
Linebacker Mark Barron had the other interception for the Rams.
Recent Cardinals addition Adrian Peterson, last week's NFC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his Arizona debut, a 38-33 win over New Orleans, rushed for only 21 yards on 11 carries against the Rams.
Zuerlein was 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts against the Cardinals. He is 21 for 22 on field goals this season.
It was the Rams' first shutout since they blanked Washington in December 2014. They have allowed only three points over their last seven quarters.
Drew Stanton, a 10-year NFL veteran, replaced Palmer. Palmer was 10 for 18 for 122 yards when he exited the game. Stanton was 5 for 14 for 62 yards with one interception.
Arians said Stanton should not be blamed for the game's outcome.
"It's not fair to Drew," Arians said. "He hadn't had any practice. He will do a lot better next week."
Palmer's 122 passing yards did move him into 12th all-time in NFL passing yards with 46,247 career yards.
Gurley admitted afterwar he enjoyed the experience.
"We came here last year (a 17-10 loss to the New York Giants)," he said, "and we knew it was going to be pretty packed. It was a good atmosphere."
Arizona moved the ball efficiently on its game-opening possession. But the drive yielded no points. Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson was wide left on a 32-yard field-goal attempt.
The Rams thoroughly dominated the game from there.
Los Angeles was successful on its first possession that concluded with Zuerlein's first field goal, a 23-yard kick.
Zuerlein's second field goal, this one for 33 yards with 11:20 left in the second quarter, nudged the lead to 6-0.
Joyner soon made his interception that led to Los Angeles' first touchdown, Gurley's 18-yard scoring run. Gurley took the handoff from Goff, intending to take it up the middle but found it crowded there so he bounced outside and stiff-armed Arizona safety Tyvon Branch before diving inside of the left pylon for the touchdown and a 13-0 lead.
Goff scored on an 8-yard run. He faked a handoff to Gurley and ran around right end before squeezing through two Arizona defenders into the end zone to make it 20-0 with 1:23 left in the second quarter.
The Rams were not done with their first-half scoring.
Barron's interception at the Arizona with 41 seconds to go in the half set up Zuerlein's third field goal, this one travelling 53 yards as time expired to make it 23-0 at halftime.
Zuerlein's fourth field goal, this one from 34 yards, on the Rams' first possession of the second half pushed the lead to 26-0.
The onslaught continued in the fourth quarter. Cooper Kupp caught Goff's short pass on a wide receiver screen at the Arizona 20 and found a lane through the Cardinals' secondary that led to the end zone and a 33-0 lead with 3:53 remaining. That touchdown concluded a drive of 16 plays and 80 yards that consumed more than 10 minutes.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald said his team was ready to roll and succeeded in all areas of the game.
"The coaches put together a great game plan and had us prepared," Donald said. "Everybody's feeding off of each other and that's how you win a lot of games in this league."
How much better can the Rams get?
"The sky's the limit," Donald said.
NOTES: Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald's first reception of the game gave him at least one reception in all 40 stadiums in which he has played during his 14-season career. ... The Rams played at Twickenham last season, the first ever non-rugby sporting event at the stadium, when they lost to the New York Giants, 17-10. The stadium opened in 1909. ... It rained intermittently Sunday. In the second quarter, Arizona WR Jaron Brown slipped and fell on a route, with Palmer's pass intended to him falling incomplete. Brown did make a first-down reception on the next play. ... The Cardinals had not allowed a 100-yard rusher for 19 straight games until Gurley did so against them Sunday.
Updated October 23, 2017