Worth repeating: Rams’ first winning streak since 2022 has them in playoff picture

Rams coach Sean McVay watches action against the Cardinals from the sideline.
Sean McVay’s Rams are 4-1 in the NFC West so far, having swept the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

Sean McVay arrived for work Monday possessing something he and the Rams have not enjoyed for more than a year.

A winning streak.

Yes, it’s only two games.

But by defeating the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams achieved back-to-back victories for the first time since September of the 2022 season, when they defeated the Atlanta Falcons and the Cardinals.

“It’s definitely a little bit different mood, as you can imagine,” McVay said Monday during a video conference with reporters.

Rams-Cardinals takeaways: It became very obvious in a 37-14 win over Arizona that L.A. needs a healthy Kyren Williams if they hope to make playoffs.

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The 37-14 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday improved the Rams’ record to 5-6 overall and 4-1 in the NFC West, keeping them in the hunt for an NFC playoff spot.

The Rams play the Cleveland Browns (7-4) on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. They also have games remaining at the Baltimore Ravens (9-3), versus the Washington Commanders (4-8) and New Orleans Saints (5-6), and at the New York Giants (4-8) and NFC-West leading San Francisco 49ers (8-3).

So neither McVay nor his players are getting ahead of themselves.

The Rams' Kyren Williams (23) runs through the Cardinals defense.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

They are, however, riding momentum after staging a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Seahawks and then routing the Cardinals.

“A lot of things have been on display over the last couple weeks that we can learn from,” McVay said. “And winning each of those two games was reflected in a little bit different manner, which I think is powerful.”

Against the Cardinals, running back Kyren Williams returned from injured reserve with a dynamic rushing and pass-catching performance that saw McVay reintroduce an effective screen game.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford showed no sign that the right thumb injury he suffered nearly a month ago against the Dallas Cowboys was hindering him.

Receiver Tutu Atwell once again capitalized on a deep route, and tight end Tyler Higbee resurfaced as a threat inside the 20-yard line.

All of that — combined with a defense that again dominated after giving up an early touchdown — enabled the Rams to win handily despite limited production from star receivers Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua.

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Higbee, an eighth-year pro, has been through several playoff runs, including two that ended in the Super Bowl. Higbee said players and coaches were well aware of preseason projections by outsiders that did not include the postseason.

But the Rams could be hitting their stride.

“The guys on this team, this coaching staff … knew that we had a chance to do something special and make a run at the playoffs,” said Higbee, who caught two touchdown passes against the Cardinals.

The Rams have gone through “some growing pains” but they have “no shortage of talent,” safety Jordan Fuller said.

“I just love where we’re at right now, and how we’re growing and how focused we are,” Fuller said.