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Cardinals vs. Rams final score: Stanton, Brown, defensive TDs key in 31-14 Arizona win

The Cardinals defense caused three turnovers in the fourth quarter with two leading to defensive scores

Norm Hall

The Week 10 matchup of the St. Louis Rams brings in a lot of bad memories. Since 2012 the Rams are 3-1 against the Cardinals and were a reason why the Cardinals didn’t make the playoffs last year, losing in dramatic fashion in Week 1 of the 2013 season.

That wasn't the case this week, though. Arizona, down 14-10 at halftime, scored 21 fourth quarter points after starting quarterback Carson Palmer left the game with a knee injury to defeat the Rams 31-14.

Today the game started off in typical Rams/Cardinals fashion with plenty of good defense, sacks and huge plays that seemed to break the back of the other team, only for them to get back up swinging.

But a team can only take so many big hits before they can’t stand anymore.

First Quarter

How to describe the first quarter? The Rams started with the ball on offense and were quickly dispatched. It was an uplifting start as it contained a Calais Campbell sack that forced a three and out.

From there however, the game began to look like a "field position battle" as each team was stuffed by the defensive play of their counterparts and continually had to punt. The Cardinals offensive line clearly struggled with the front four from the Rams and their blitzes.

Midway through the quarter the Rams offense got several big plays from Tre Mason and Tavon Austin that broke the punting duel. The two lead a Rams march down the field and ended with Mason punching in the ball from three yards out. 7 - 0 Rams.

It was pretty gross to watch. The Cardinals missed tackles, made errors and generally looked sluggish and slow compared to a very aggressive Rams offense.

The game even had an odd moment, a delay of game penalty on the Rams ensuing kickoff. That was a first such penalty that I had even seen.

The Cardinals came out and laid another egg to respond with Robert Hughes whiffing on a block leading to a big sack on Palmer. The Cardinals came out looking lackadaisical and lacking the normal fire and passion that we’ve come to expect.

It ended as a poor start for the Cardinals with two sacks given up on offense, only a few first downs with no points. I definitely should not have bragged on TST saying the Rams wouldn’t even get close to five sacks.

Second Quarter

The second quarter started with the Cardinals having the ball. In typical Cardinals fashion the Cardinals made some second half (of the first half adjustments) and moved the ball right down the field inside of the Rams five yard line.

On the drive Palmer connected with Jaron Brown, John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald twice. Each throw led to a first down. Palmer even dodged a sack on his second throw to Larry, the throw put the Cardinals on the Rams three yard line with momentum on the Cardinals side.

The next play was a pitch left to Andre Ellington who quickly burst throw a nice hole carved out by the offensive line for a touchdown. 7-7 Cardinals.

On the drive the Cardinals went 66 yards to get the score, on day before the drive the Cardinals had only 16 yards on three possessions.

The next series Deone Bucannon got his first sack of the season on a third and long on a delayed blitz. A great defensive series capped off with a nice stat for a rookie.

The Cardinals were able to move the ball down the field the next series with several connections to Fitzgerald and a nice Ellington run but were unable to turn the drive into a touchdown and instead settled on a field goal to put the cardinals up 7-10 Cardinals with five minute to go in the second quarter.

But also like the Cardinals they had their end off the half letdown. For the quarter the Cardinals were beating up on the Rams offense and had forced several three and outs. But like a flashback from an old nightmare Rams TE Jared Cook broke free on a seam route, out running Rashad Johnson, and hauling in a beautifully thrown deep pass fromAustin Davis, putting the Rams up 14-10 with 1:50 to go in the half.

Regretfully the Cardinals were unable to capitalize on the remaining time with Palmer missing an open John Brown.

Third Quarter

The third quarter began much like the first quarter with both teams going three and out. Finally the Cardinals began catching some momentum, starting with a Troy Niklas first down grab and run. The Rams continued to get pressure but Palmer stayed cool in the pocket, even taking a big hit on a nice pass to Tedd Ginn that got the Cardinals to the Rams 19 yard line.

Ellington was big on the drive, while not hitting any home runs, his elusive cuts and moves helped pick up two first downs.

Things stalled in the red zone with the Rams making several plays, one being the biggest killer of them all, a Palmer interception that turned into a huge return for the Rams putting them on the Cardinals side of the field.

Oye, the Rams have our number.

Luckily for the Cardinals we have a Calais Campbell. Campbell came up big, disrupting the drive with a TFL and a huge and timely second sack of the day that got the ball back from the Rams. Thankfully the Cardinals were able to overcome the Palmer interception.

Fourth Quarter

With the ball back in their hands the Rams continued their onslaught and continued to pressure Palmer who was able to escape, dodge, dance, bob, weave, duck and all other sorts of suitable adjectives to get the Cardinals a few first downs and out of the shadow of their own end zone.

Palmer then was able to connect with his favorite Cardinal of the day, Fitzgerald for two big gains, getting the Cardinals within field goal range.

But then as suddenly as a heart attack the Cardinals took a huge blow. Palmer was injured on a seemingly light hit from a blitzing Rams DB. Palmer stepped past the rusher but something happened causing him to go down immediately after. The ensuing play the rookie kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed his first kick of the day.


Palmer was carted off the field and was doubtful to return with his possible leg, ankle, knee (?) injury looking serious.

Time for Drew Stanton against a ferocious pass rush that almost everyone would expect to pretty much end the game. No way he would be able to survive the way Palmer was doing.


The Rams came out ready to stop the run, that’s what every team does after a big loss like that, establish the run to help out the backup. But oh, no, not Bruce Arians, he called a playaction out the door that was caught for a first down by Rob Housler (if that’s not a sign, I don’t believe signs exist). Then another pass to John Carlson for a big gain. But he wasn’t done there, on the next play Stanton avoid the pass rush hitting a wide open John Brown in the end zone to put the Cardinals up 10-17.

The following series Patrick Peterson decided to show his Harvey Two-Face impersonation. First, he gave up a first down with illegal contact only to follow it up with his first INT of the season an underthrown ball by Davis.

Peterson wasn’t done there, on the next series the Rams began to move the ball but were thwarted by their own WR. Davis threw a high pass to his WR who tipped it up, Peterson was there to make an absolutely brilliant and easily the best play of the day move. Fading away from the ball Peterson tipped the ball back to himself, caught it and turned it into six points.

It was freaking awesome, thanks P twice.

The Rams struggled the next series, forced to pass it they were having trouble against a very basic pass rush from Arizona, just four guys. Not something you see often from the Cardinals. It was effective but not perfect as a big play was given up, then called back. The Cardinals then stopped them on third down, only to have a holding call negate the play.

And then the Cardinals defense stuck again, sending extra blitzers, the rookie Kareem Martin knocked the ball out of Austin Davis’s hand as he was about to wind up for a pass, Antonio Cromartie picked it up and returned it for an easy TD return. The score was challenged but a clear replay of Martin hitting the ball out of Davis’s hand kept the call as it stood.

Did I mention I started the Cardinals defense this week? Too bad my team is out of the playoffs… And how about them rookies? A sack, fumble for Martin and sack for Bucannon.

The game expired with the Rams frantically attempting to score but were unable to with Davis under a constant barrage of pressure. The young guy was able to make some plays but the pressure affected many of his throws, leading to several missed passes.

Marcus Bernard and Alex also made an appearances in the fourth, each coming up with a sack, adding to the teams total of six on the day. A number completely opposite of what many Rams fans were predicting (yeah, I called you out on it).

The victory today was sweet, especially after a rough three quarters but with Palmer possibly having a serious injury, today’s win may end up being just a temporary euphoria before the inevitable crash one experiences after a big high.

Let it not be so… The Cardinals are 8-1 on the season with Detroit next week.

(Sorry for any egregious typos, no time to edit!)