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Anderson runs for 167 yards, Rams beat Arizona 31-9

Sun Dec 23 7:27pm ET
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

Players: Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, Robert Woods, Greg Zuerlein, Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Zane Gonzalez, Josh Rosen

Los Angeles Rams running back C.J. Anderson (35) runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) is hit by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Dante Fowler (56) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) hands off against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is hit by Los Angeles Rams strong safety John Johnson (43) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Los Angeles Rams running back C.J. Anderson (35) scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Deone Bucannon (20) and Arizona Cardinals defensive back David Amerson defend during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) celebrates his touchdown pass with teammates against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) C.J. Anderson, playing five days after he was signed by Los Angeles, rushed for 167 yards - one shy of his career high - and the Rams bounced back from a pair of losses to beat the troubled Arizona Cardinals 31-9 on Sunday.

Anderson, playing in place of the injured Todd Gurley, had a 4-yard touchdown run and other runs of 46 and 27 yards as the Rams (12-3) rushed for 269 yards, most allowed by Arizona on the ground this season.

With the victory, Los Angeles held on to the second-best record in the NFC with one game to go.

Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, in perhaps his final home game, threw the first touchdown pass of his career, a 32-yard toss to David Johnson.

But it was the only trip to the end zone for the Cardinals (3-12), who at 1-7 had the worst record home since they moved to Arizona in 1988. A loss in their season finale at Seattle would leave them 3-13, matching the worst record since that move from St. Louis.

All this leads to speculation that Steve Wilks' rookie season in Arizona as head coach might be his last.

Jared Goff completed 19 of 24 for 216 yards for a touchdown. He also ran for a score on one of three consecutive TD drives for Los Angeles in the first half.

A Rams turnover gave Arizona its chance to score early and take its only lead. Goff, under duress, fumbled and Deone Bucannon recovered for the Cardinals at the Rams 41. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen scrambled for 15 yards and threw three short passes to Fitzgerald to set up Zane Gonzalez's 36-yard field goal.

But Los Angeles methodically mounted touchdown drives the next three times it had the ball.

The Rams needed only 3:08 for a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive, Robert Woods scoring from 4 yards on an end around.

Anderson's 27-yard run up the middle highlighted the 11-play, 84-yard drive, Goff scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 14-3.

After Arizona's unlikely TD, with Fitzgerald dropping in a perfectly thrown 32-yard touchdown pass to Johnson, the Rams took the kickoff and used up 7 1/2 minutes in another 75-yard drive. Anderson scored on a 4-yard run and Los Angeles led 21-9 with 2:10 left in the half.

Both teams failed on long field-goal tries in the second quarter. Gonzalez missed from 54 yards and, as the half ended, Greg Zuerlein's 57-yard try bounced off the left upright.

In the third quarter, Rosen appeared to fumble and Nickell Robey-Coleman returned it 27 yards for a score. But after a video review, Rosen's arm was ruled to be moving forward and it was only an incomplete pass.

FITZ FINALE?

Fitzgerald isn't saying whether this, his 15th NFL season, will be his last. But if this was his final home game, he had a good one.

At the top of the list was the throw. After Rosen's 16-yard run to the Los Angeles 32, the Cardinals ran a play with Rosen tossing a lateral to Fitzgerald, who then tossed to the wide open Johnson for the touchdown. Fitzgerald is 2 for 4 in his NFL passing career for 53 yards - and one touchdown.

NO GURLEY

Coach Sean McVay, and even Gurley himself, had talked as if they expected the prolific running back to play. But Gurley didn't practice all week with left knee inflammation and it was announced a couple of hours before the game that he wouldn't play.

But in the end they decided it made no sense to push it considering the opposition and the bigger games ahead.

UP NEXT

Rams: host San Francisco next Sunday.

Cardinals: play at Seattle on Sunday.

Player Notes
Trevor Siemian Mar 22 10:45am ET

The New York Jets agreed to terms with free-agent quarterback Trevor Siemian on a one-year, $2 million deal on Wednesday, a source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Siemian can make up to $3 million in incentives. The 27-year-old former Bronco didn't play at all with the Vikings last year while backing up Kirk Cousins. He was the starter in Denver in 2016 and 2017, completing 59.3 percent of his passes for 30 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. New York's addition of Siemian likely means that veteran Josh McCown, a 40-year-old journeyman quarterback, will leave in free agency or retire. Siemian won't have any fantasy appeal in his new digs while backing up Sam Darnold.

Jared Cook Mar 22 10:44am ET

The New Orleans Saints are expected to sign free-agent tight end Jared Cook, sources told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Cook, who turns 32 next month, had a career year with the Raiders in 2018, catching 68 passes for 896 yards and six touchdowns. The veteran can stretch opposing defenses down the seam and should open up more space for star receiver Michael Thomas on the outside. While it would be foolish to expect Cook to put up better numbers than he did in Oakland, he should remain a strong TE1 option in the high-flying offense of the Saints.

Clay Matthews Mar 22 10:23am ET

Updating previous reports, Los Angeles Rams LB Clay Matthews' two-year deal has a $9.25 million base value with $5.5 million guaranteed.

Morgan Burnett Mar 22 9:43am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers FS Morgan Burnett will be released by April 1, per the player's request, according to his agent, Kevin Conner.

Robert Griffin III Mar 22 8:23am ET

Free-agent QB Robert Griffin III (Ravens) re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens Friday, March 22, on a two-year deal. Financial terms weren't disclosed, and the deal is pending a physical.

Marcus Sherels Mar 21 10:20pm ET

The New Orleans Saints signed long-time Minnesota Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels to an undisclosed one-year deal on Thursday, according to a source. The 31-year-old was the Vikings primary punt returner for the last eight years and averaged 12.0 yards per punt return in 2018 to finish in the league's top five for the third time in the last six seasons. He was also used occasionally as a kickoff returner and was a backup cornerback. New Orleans ranked in the league's bottom 10 teams in punt return yardage the last two years. Sherels won't be an option in most fantasy leagues with his move to the Saints.

From RotoBaller

O.J. Howard Mar 21 10:13pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard (ankle) spent time running routes and catching passes from Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes Thursday, March 21.

Fantasy Spin: Howard was having a TE1 campaign in 2018 before an injury ended his season early, but he should be back at full strength well before the start of next season. He is a big-play weapon from the tight end spot and could finish as a top-five fantasy option at his position.

Robert Griffin III Mar 21 10:10pm ET

The Baltimore Ravens re-signed backup quarterback Robert Griffin III on Thursday to an undisclosed two-year deal. The 29-year-old will continue to back up starter Lamar Jackson in 2019. The former first-round pick can be an invaluable source for Jackson as he matures heading into his second season, but RG3 will continue to have no fantasy value.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Howard Mar 21 10:03pm ET

Chicago Bears RB Jordan Howard is unlikely to have a role in the offense if he remains with the team in 2019, in the opinion of Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

Fantasy Spin: Howard has always struggled to make an impact in the passing game, and after regressing as a between-the-tackles runner last year, the Bears don't have much incentive to feature him in the offense. Feel free to take a flier on him in the final rounds of drafts, but don't count on him to be a contributor for your fantasy squad.

Justin Houston Mar 21 10:00pm ET

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent outside linebacker Justin Houston to a two-year deal worth $24 million on Thursday, a source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Houston had nine sacks for the Chiefs last year, but he was cut with the team trying to get younger and defense while transitioning from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 scheme. The Colts also run a 4-3, but they project to use him as a defensive end for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old has dealt with a nagging knee injury in recent years but still has 18.5 sacks in the last two years. The veteran will certainly help boost a weak Indy pass rush from a season ago.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Reed Mar 21 9:33pm ET

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (toe) has been working out with teammates this offseason, according to RB Adrian Peterson.

Fantasy Spin: Reed managed to play in 13 games last season, but it didn't translate into much production on the field. Between constant health issues and slipping per-game numbers, Reed is no more than a late-round lottery ticket heading into 2019.

Cooper Kupp Mar 21 9:23pm ET

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee) said his recovery is where it is 'supposed to be' at this point in the process.

Fantasy Spin: Kupp is expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 season. He was Jared Goff's go-to target on third downs and in the red zone prior to the injury, and Kupp should be able to deliver WR2 numbers, especially in PPR formats.

Hunter Henry Mar 21 9:23pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers TE Hunter Henry (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of OTAs, according to general manager Tom Telesco.

Fantasy Spin: Assuming he doesn't suffer any setbacks, Henry should open the year as the starting tight end for the Chargers and a low-end TE1 candidate for fantasy owners.

Stephen Gostkowski Mar 21 7:03pm ET

Free-agent PK Stephen Gostkowski (Patriots) is making progress in contract talks with the New England Patriots. Gostkowski has also received interest from other teams.

Fantasy Spin: Gostkowski struggled at times this past season but still can be a weekly starting option in all fantasy leagues.

Mar 21 6:43pm ET

Free-agent DT Al Woods (Colts) met with the Detroit Lions Thursday, March 21.

Mar 21 6:33pm ET

Free-agent DE Brandon Copeland (Jets) met with the Detroit Lions Wednesday, March 20.

Marcus Sherels Mar 21 6:13pm ET

Free-agent CB Marcus Sherels (Vikings) agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the New Orleans Saints Thursday, March 21, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

George Iloka Mar 21 5:43pm ET

Free-agent S George Iloka (Vikings) is scheduled to meet with the Dallas Cowboys Friday, March 22, according to a source.

Kerry Wynn Mar 21 5:23pm ET

Free-agent DE Kerry Wynn (Giants) is meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, March 21, according to a source.

Mike Hull Mar 21 5:13pm ET

Free-agent LB Mike Hull (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Thursday, March 21. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.