Third time lucky for the Rams in London with 33-0 rout of the Cardinals
It was third time lucky for the Los Angeles Rams in London as they enjoyed a 33-0 rout over the Arizona Cardinals.
Todd Gurley and Jared Goff scored quickfire touchdowns late in the first half, Zach Guerlein kicked four field goals and Cooper Kupp added the exclamation point late on as the Rams cruised to victory in this critical match-up between two NFC West rivals.
It came almost 12 months to the day after Los Angeles lost 17-10 to the New York Giants on this ground, and five years after the Rams - then of St Louis - were thrashed 45-7 by the New England Patriots at Wembley.
But this is a new-look Rams team under the NFL's youngest ever head coach, 31-year-old Sean McVay, and he has them on course for the play-offs at 5-2.
McVay has got the offence firing, highlighted here by big nights for quarterback Goff (22-of-37 for 235 yards) and running back Gurley, who ran for 106 yards and a score.
But he will be just as proud, if not more so, of how his team shut down an Arizona offence boasting two surefire future Hall of Famers in Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald.
They were helped by the fact Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer would not finish the first half due to an arm injury, but had already done a fine job in shutting down Peterson (11 carries for 21 yards), while receiver Fitzgerald finished the night with three catches for 29 yards
That left Peterson stuck on 99 career rushing touchdowns for at least one more week.
A crowd of 73,736 had packed into Twickenham for the home of rugby's second ever NFL game, and they were all on their feet midway through the first quarter to pay tribute to the late broadcaster Kevin Cadle.
Cadle, who is credited with doing a huge amount to grow the game in the UK, died on Monday at the age of 62.
The contest was effectively all over by half-time, with a brutal sequence late in the second quarter killing off the Cardinals.
The Rams had already nosed in front with a pair of field goals from Zuerlein, but they would completely take over in the last six minutes of the half.
Alec Ogletree struck the decisive blow, barrelling into Palmer as he tried to throw it long to JJ Nelson. Lamarcus Joyner picked off the errant pass and ran it back 29 yards to the Arizona 18, while Palmer headed to the locker room with an arm injury and would not return.
On the next play, Gurley ran into the end zone from 18 yards to put Los Angeles 13-0 up.
With Drew Stanton in for the injured Palmer, Arizona's next drive soon stalled and Los Angeles rubbed it in as Gurley picked up 35 yards on a short toss from Goff before the quarterback himself ran it in from nine yards to make it 20-0.
There were only 41 seconds left in the first half, but that was long enough for Stanton to be picked off and Guerlein to add another field goal.
With a 23-point lead at the break, the Rams could assume cruise control for the rest of the night.
Guerlein added another field goal early in the third quarter, and Goff found Kupp with an 18-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth.
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