Studs and duds in Cardinals’ 27-17 win over Rams

Finally, our Arizona Cardinals secure a divisional win. In a game they absolutely had to have, the Cards beat up on their hated rival Rams 27-17, a game that felt over at halftime.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph continues to deliver despite being undermanned, as they were in this one. Both sides of the ball performed admirably without a number of key starters.

If there is hope to make noise the season, they must replicate this level of success against the 49ers next Monday night in Mexico. Until then, let’s take a look at the studs and duds from this one.

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STUD: QB Colt McCoy

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What a performance it was from McCoy, who continues to shine in these must-win divisional matchups dating back to last season. He stepped in with a makeshift offensive line and was excellent, dealing the ball accurately and avoiding any turnovers.

McCoy had 238 passing yards and a touchdown pass in the win, one the Cardinals couldn’t afford to drop. Whether it was quarterback play or effort, the offense as a whole looked much better on Sunday.

The Cardinals may need to call McCoy’s number again against another divisional opponent next Monday against the 49ers, as the status of Kyler Murray’s hamstring is in question. He missed a significant amount of time last season with a similar issue.

STUD: WR DeAndre Hopkins

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Hopkins had a nice outing against one of the league’s best cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey. He consistently made plays and, despite having never played with McCoy, the two looked to be in excellent sync.

Continuing his excellent return to the field, D-Hop had ten catches for 98 yards on the day and a number of them were in contested coverages. In four games, Hopkins has just under 400 receiving yards with 396.

A 1,000-yard season isn’t out of the question for Hop, despite missing the first six games of the season.

DUD: Official Clete Blakeman

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C’mon man, how are you going to take that defensive touchdown away from J.J. Watt? On a strip sack by rookie edge rusher Myjai Sanders, Watt had an easy path to the end zone but the play was blown dead by Blakeman.

After review, the ruling was changed to a fumble, which of course means the play shouldn’t have been blown dead. The Cardinals would cash in with an A.J. Green touchdown regardless, but it would have been cool to add another defensive touchdown to the list this season.

Blakeman did admit his error to Watt during the game, which is nice to see.

STUD: WR Rondale Moore

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Moore continues to improve quickly for the Cardinals and is nicely developing into an explosive playmaker. After a drop and failed third-down conversion early in the game, he rebounded with another excellent performance, finishing with nine catches for 94 yards.

In the past three games, Moore has 24 receptions for 255 yards and one touchdown. It’s a crucial development for a team that lost slot receiver Christian Kirk in the offseason, the role Moore now occupies.

The trio of DeAndre Hopkins, Hollywood Brown and Rondale Moore will be very dangerous. Let’s hope the Cardinals can stay in the race until Brown is back to play.

STUD: S Budda Baker

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After suffering an injury that would keep the typical player out for a few weeks, Baker ended up starting in this game and making his usual impact.

Baker had an interception late and lead a Cardinals defense that was excellent all day. There was nothing in the deep or intermediate passing game for the Rams all day, even prior to Cooper Kupp’s injury.

Baker’s leadership has gone viral thanks to Hard Rocks, where a postgame video of him following the team’s Week 5 loss to the Eagles shows him giving a heartfelt message.

For the Cardinals to make any noise for the playoffs this season, they are going to need Budda to remain healthy.

Story originally appeared on Cards Wire