Healthy dose of Kyren Williams needed for L.A. playoff run

Kyren Williams scores one of his two touchdowns as Rams teammate Puka Nacua (17) signals TD. (Matt York / Associated Press)

The Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 37-14, on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

What we learned from a victory that improved the Rams’ record to 5-6 and kept them in the playoff hunt:

Kyren Williams must remain physically sound

The Rams’ Kyren Williams celebrates one of his two touchdowns against the Cardinals. (Matt York / Associated Press)

Williams returned from injured reserve and picked up where he left off: With a career-best performance against the Cardinals, 204 yards from scrimmage.

Williams rushed for 143 yards in 16 carries, including a 56-yard run. He also caught six passes for 61 yards and two touchdowns.

It was his first game since Oct. 15, when he rushed for a career-best 158 yards in a victory over the Cardinals.

In between, the Rams went 1-3.

Read more: Kyren Williams’ return helps keep Rams in NFC playoff picture with rout of Cardinals

So Williams’ ability to run effectively and catch the ball in the flat and on screen passes makes a huge difference for coach/play-caller Sean McVay, quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense.

So does tough running by Royce Freeman, who rushed for 77 yards in 13 carries.

Consider: The Rams won easily on a day that Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua combined for seven catches for 45 yards.

Kupp, attempting to play through a right ankle sprain, hobbled after aggravating the injury in the first quarter.

Tyler Higbee is still a threat inside the 20-yard line

Rams tight end Tyler Higbee scores one of his two touchdowns against the Cardinals. (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Higbee, a mainstay of the offense for seven-plus seasons, caught his first two touchdown passes of the season.

Higbee’s seven-yard touchdown in the first quarter gave the Rams a 7-0 lead. His five-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter put the Rams ahead, 14-8.

He finished with five catches for 29…


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