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Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a first down ahead of Los Angeles Rams linebacker Terrell Lewis (52) and inside linebacker Kenny Young (41) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Sean McVay believed the Rams needed a quarterback upgrade to fulfill their potential, so general manager Les Snead swung another blockbuster trade by sending No. 1 pick-turned-scapegoat Jared Goff to the Lions for another former No. 1 selection – Matthew Stafford, a talented QB who toiled in Detroit for years on losing teams.

After three wins, the Rams looked like they made the right call. Stafford threw touchdown passes with ease while playing pitch-and-catch with Cooper Kupp, and a Week 3 beatdown of the champion Buccaneers served as further affirmation that the Rams were Super Bowl material. The 3-0 start shot them to the top of our NFL Power Rankings.

But then Kyler Murray and the Cardinals came to town. By the time they left SoFi Stadium, narratives had changed and Arizona had generated its own league-wide buzz.

Arizona’s 37-20 victory over the Rams on Sunday was as comprehensive as the Rams’ domination of the Bucs the week before. Murray performed like the best quarterback on the field, if not the entire league, to boost his growing MVP resume, and the Arizona defense stifled Stafford and the Rams offense to reduce the NFC West showdown into a lopsided affair with fourth-quarter garbage time.

“Not a statement (game) ... we wanted to get a week better,” Kingsbury told reporters afterward. “Division game, we know those are important, and I think we got better.”

After punting on their first possession, the Cardinals scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives, two off Rams turnovers, in building a 24-13 halftime lead. And in a confident display of a maturing QB talent, Murray did most of his damage with precision passing in the pocket, completing 24 of 32 attempts for 268 yards and two touchdowns and running for 39 yards, 18 coming on a key third-and-16 scramble for a second-quarter first down that led to the third TD.

Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury notched their first win over McVay’s Rams, and the main reason why isn’t what you would expect from a team known for its flashy offensive pyrotechnics. Kingsbury pointed to his team’s “physicality” up front as the big difference that swayed the proceedings toward Arizona’s favor.

“We have to continue to prove it. Not too worried about what other people think,” Murray said. “I think the guys in the locker room understand what we’re doing and what we’re capable of and where we can take it.”

The Cardinals, now 4-0, sit alone atop the NFC West as one of two unbeaten NFL teams (the 3-0 Raiders play the Chargers on Monday night in L.A.). The division figures to continue to be part of the weekly conversation about who’s the best in the league. This week, that bright spotlight deservedly falls on Arizona, which is no longer a novelty with the diminutive QB who was a top baseball prospect and the former college coach who previously got the most NFL attention for how nice his draft house was.

“We got a long way to go still,” Kingsbuy said, “”but it was a step in the right direction.”

Best offensive performance

Zach Wilson, Jets. Patrick Mahomes threw for five touchdowns and Dak Prescott had four TD tosses, and normally, either star quarterback would’ve been the easy choice. But we’re going to recognize the resiliency of Wilson, who’s had the roughest start of all the 2021 first-round rookie QBs.

Sunday looked like another difficult day after Wilson threw for just 65 yards and his eighth interception of the season in the first half, but he made significant strides after halftime in leading the Jets to their first win of the season – a 27-24 overtime victory over the Titans. It very well could be the harbinger that first-year head coach Robert Saleh seeks from his franchise centerpiece.

“I thought he was awesome,” Saleh told reporters afterward.

Wilson threw for 232 of his 297 yards and his two TD passes in the second half. The No. 2 pick displayed his growing confidence with the game tied at 17 in the fourth quarter, when he motioned to Corey Davis to go deep on a 53-yard TD, and it was visible on the winning drive in overtime, namely on his 29-yard dime to Keelan Cole.

The No. 2 pick refused to call his breakout performance a turning point, instead choosing to describe it as “stacking up the building blocks” for what he and Saleh hope will be a competitive Jets team sooner rather than later.

Best defensive performance

Trevon Diggs, Cowboys. HBO’s “Hard Knocks” can turn a player into a media star for a few weeks. But Diggs wasn’t the darling in this year’s training camp series. It was his adorable son, Aaiden, who imitated his uncle Stefon’s drills and mistook Dak Prescott for Patrick Mahomes.

Aaiden’s dad is well on his way to becoming a star for the Cowboys, who beat Carolina 36-28 on Sunday for their third straight win. Diggs picked off Panthers QB Sam Darnold twice in the third quarter for his fourth and fifth interceptions of the season to give him an INT in every game this season. He is the second player in franchise history to achieve that feat.

Best statistics

Sam Darnold leads the NFL in … rushing touchdowns?

Andy Reid won his 100th game with the Chiefs – fittingly against the Eagles, the first team he won 100 games with.

Only the career of Tom Brady can produce such a mind-boggling stat/fact.

And here’s a stunning stat by the new Patriots quarterback, Mac Jones.

Best plays

The underhand touchdown pass is in Patrick Mahomes’ big bag of tricks.

Seven Giants defenders tried to keep Taysom Hill out of the end zone. They all failed.

Mike Davis breaks four tackles to score this Falcons touchdown.

The Football Team needed a last-minute touchdown. J.D. McKissic soared through the air to score it.

Run of the day goes to Broncos rookie Javonte Williams against the Ravens defense.

Plagued by a bad case of the drops last week, Marquise Brown lives up to his nickname after laying out for this TD.

In a battle of heavyweights, Jalen Ramsey won this round against DeAndre Hopkins.

Russell Wilson makes a great escape from the 49ers pass rush.

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