What we learned in the Rams’ 32-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals:
The Rams miss Robert Woods
Receivers Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins played well and Josh Reynolds continued to gain experience for an offense that was without Woods for the second consecutive game because of a shoulder injury.
The Rams converted only three of 11 third downs.
Woods, the Rams’ leading receiver before he was injured, is a target that quarterback Jared Goff leaned on in important situations.
Woods has not practiced for two weeks, and he is not expected to return possibly until the Rams play at Seattle in a few weeks.
Johnny Hekker is not rusty
Through much of the season, the Rams’ high-scoring offense kept their three-time Pro Bowl punter busy mainly as the as the holder on field-goal and extra-point attempts.
Against the Cardinals, Hekker was called on to punt four times, and he delivered one of the biggest plays of the game when he flipped the field with a 70-yard kick.
The play eventually led to a Rams touchdown.
Hekker averaged 51.8 yards per kick.
Alec Ogletree should probably come up with a different touchdown celebration
Ogletree had reason to be excited after intercepting a pass and returning it for a touchdown, and his flip over the goal line demonstrated his athleticism.
But the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Ogletree landed awkwardly on his right arm.
Ogletree later left the game because of a left elbow injury, and he was quick to let reporters know he did not suffer the injury on his flip.
Regardless, a more ground-based celebration might be advisable moving forward.
Lamarcus Joyner is making a salary drive
Joyner’s move from cornerback to free safety continues to pay dividends for the Rams.
It also looks like it will pay off for Joyner, who is in the final year of his contract.
Joyner intercepted a pass on the Cardinals’ first play and returned it 46 yards to set up a touchdown.
It was Joyner’s third interception, tying him with linebacker Mark Barron for the team lead.
Samson Ebukam appears ready for more
The rookie linebacker started in place of injured Connor Barwin, and he made five tackles.
Ebukam did not have any of the Rams’ six sacks – Aaron Donald, Ethan Westbrooks, Matt Longacre and Robert Quinn did the damage – but he got acclimated to playing extended periods and should be more comfortable this week if Barwin remains sidelined while recovering from forearm surgery.
Ebukam became the third rookie defensive player to start a game, joining safety John Johnson and lineman Tanzel Smart.
Special teams are making a difference
Kicker Greg Zuerlein, the aforementioned Hekker and returner Pharoh Cooper get most of the glory.
But Tyrunn Walker and Michael Brockers had big hands in the victory.
Walker blocked an extra-point attempt. Brockers blocked a field-goal attempt.
Both plays were instrumental in holding off the Cardinals.