The Arizona Cardinals exact revenge on the St. Louis Rams, continues to look Super [Bowl-worthy].
THE CARDINALS BEAT THE RAMS 27-3 FOR THEIR SIXTH STRAIGHT VICTORY
The Cardinals may have defeated the toughest defense they will face until their week 17 showdown with the Seahawks when they beat the St. Louis Rams Sunday. Despite the lop-sided score, 27-3, the team might tell you this was a harder game than the previous week’s win against the 49ers, 19-13, a game that wasn’t played as well.
All things considered, the Rams were playing fairly good football defensively, forcing the Cards to punt often enough to give themselves a chance. The Cards led by 10 points at the half, and as the second half was set to begin, coach Fisher was on camera giving his team a pep talk. One that included instructions like, “…and catch the ball!” If he didn’t, he probably should have included the instructions to get open first. Still, as usual, and for the rest of the season most likely, there were just too many punts and by late third-quarter the Rams defensive players were low on both oxygen and will power.
Let’s face it, try as they might, the Cardinals weren’t going to be denied on this fine day. Not only are they the better overall team, but they are better coached and have more to play for. Throw in last week’s lackluster performance in ‘frisco and the week 4 Rams upset that knocked them from the ranks of the undefeated just as they were gaining respect and serious consideration, and the Red Birds looked like they had more to play for. Up by 10 at the half, the Cardinals put away the Rams in the third quarter when chunks of yardage became more plentiful to realistically (though not officially yet) take any playoffs hopes left in St. Louis back to Arizona with them.
Carson Palmer was his usual productive self, but WR Michael Floyd is looking better than he’s ever looked and is somewhat quietly packing up to move onto the upper level of receivers, while third and fourth-string running backs David Johnson and Kerwynn Williams performed like veterans, both scoring a touchdown each. John Brown is getting closer to 100% again and Larry Fitzgerald is the constant. Fitz made his 1,000th reception and topped 1,000 yards receiving for the seventh time in his career.
Scoring summary per quarter:
FIRST QUARTER: The Cardinals drove 80 yards on the opening drive capped off by J.J. Nelson’s 22-yard TD reception. The teams exchanged punts and nothing more of significance happened. Score: Rams 0, Cardinals 7
SECOND QUARTER: The Cards a couple of drives stall, but other than that, they continued to exchange possessions until late in the quarter when good field position set up a Chandler Cantanzaro 33-yard field goal. Halftime Score: Rams 0, Cardinals 10
THIRD QUARTER: Highlighted by a 34-run by Todd Gurley, the Rams settled for a field goal of 35 yards by replacement kicker Zack Hocker. The Cards responded on the next drive that started on their own 2-yard line. Highlighted by a 31-yard pass connection of Palmer to Michael Floyd, the Cards complete a 98-yard/10 play drive with a 10-yard pass play to RB David Johnson. With the Rams defense looking tired and missing tackles, Arizona 4th-string RB Kerwynn Williams took over the next series for the Cards, scoring on a run from 35 yards out. Score: Rams 3, Cardinals 24
FOURTH QUARTER: With the Rams’ starting cornerback Jenkins out for a second time (concussion protocol), the Cards take advantage and Palmer hits John Brown for a 68-yard bomb to set up the final score of the game, a 29-yard Cantanzaro field goal. Final Score: Rams 3, Cardinals 27
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES IN THE NFL
The weeks referred to here aren’t week 12 to week 13, but week 4 to week 13, the two games between the Rams and Cardinals. In week 4, the Rams’ defense was a bend-but-down-break unit that allowed 447 total yards of offense. Sunday, week 13, they allowed 524 total yards. In week 4, Carson Palmer went 29-46, 352 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. Week 13, 26-40, 356 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Week 4, the Cardinals also lost 2 of 3 fumbles to go with that 1 INT. With depth at running back, the Cards ran for 175 total yards, including David Johnson’s 99. The rookie back also looked excellent in blitz pick-up. Arizona’s main difference in performance was the coaching adjustments made from the prior game. Without a serious passing attack, Patrick Peterson shadowed Tavon Austin all day, eliminating him as a threat.
Arizona should probably thank St. Louis. Since they were upset by the Rams week 4, they’ve won 6 straight and 7 of their last 8, losing only to the highly-regarded Pittsburgh Steelers. They now enter the toughest part of their schedule and it begins on a short week against the Minnesota Vikings Thursday Night.
As mentioned, the Rams defense played a relatively-respectable game. The differences was that their offense stunk up the place. Week 4 they managed 328 total yards and Foles threw 3 TD passes despite only 171 passing yards, allowing Todd Gurley to showcase his skills in his debut pro game. In week 13, a sad 212 total yards, 0 TDs, and Gurley limited to 9 carries…which, despite the opinion of some, was rather smart. Why waste Gurley at this point, possibly re-injuring him behind a reshuffled O-line that can’t make it possible for him to consistently get back to the line of scrimmage half the time?
Coach Fisher announced immediately that Case Keenum would be the week 14 starter at quarterback.
David Johnson and Hall of Famer Gale Sayers are the only rookies in NFL history with four rushing TDs, four receiving TDs and a kickoff return TD.
Palmer has 29 touchdown passes, one shy of the franchise record set by Kurt Warner in 2008.
16 Cardinals have scored in 2015. The most in the NFL.
Hey, nobody’s whining this week about dirty play after Sunday’s game when on two separate plays, the Rams hit the same player so hard in the head he was forced to exit twice, tested both times for concussion symptoms, not to return in the second half… Perhaps it’s because the player damaged was teammate Janoris Jenkins. I guess it’s only considered “dirty” or called “cheap shots” when the opponents get clocked from good ol’-fashioned hard-nose football.