This was a game the Cardinals looked pretty bad in until the fourth quarter. After a bunch of three-and-outs, St. Louis jumped ahead 7-0 in the first quarter. Arizona answered with 10 second quarter points to take the lead, but the Arizona defense struggled at the end of the half and St. Louis scored a touchdown with two minutes left in the half to take the lead.
No one scored in the third quarter and things didn't look great for Arizona. Then the unthinkable happened -- Carson Palmer went down with a knee injury. It would end his season. To make things worse, Chandler Catanzaro missed a field goal, so they lost their QB and left points on the field.
However, the defense was spectacular in the second half and a big play opened the flood gates. Drew Stanton hit John Brown for a 48-yard touchdown to give the Cardinals the lead and then the defense did the rest.
On the ensuing Rams possession, Patrick Peterson picked off an Austin Davis pass.
Arizona had a three-and-out and when the Rams had the ball again, Peterson made one of the most athletic plays you will ever see. He deflected a pass up in the air to himself, intercepted it and took it to the end zone.
St. Louis got the ball back and then ANOTHER big play occurred. Kareem Martin stripped the ball from Davis and Antonio Cromartie picked it up, returning it for a touchdown. It was one of the five times Cromartie blitzed all season.
In the span of 3:48, Arizona went from being down 14-10 to up 31-14.
What went well:
The defense played out of its mind in the second half, forcing three turnovers and scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. They only gave up 88 yards of offense in the second half.
Drew Stanton came in and gave the offense a spark. Hitting John brown for that touchdown was crucial, as it breathed life into a team and fanbase that was reeling from the injury to Carson Palmer. Everyone knew it was bad.
Patrick Peterson's fourth quarter play was very good. He was flagged once for a very questionable penalty, which upset him. He intercepted the pass the next play.
The defense got a pass rush, sacking Austin Davis six times.
Larry Fitzgerald had himself a game -- nine catches for 112 yards.
What didn't go well:
The obvious thing was losing Palmer.
The running game was non-existent. They mustered only 28 yards on 22 carries.
Arizona did get burned by the big play and it was to a tight end. The touchdown the Rams got at the end of the first half was a 59-yard play to Jared Cook.
What we learned:
The defense could come up big when it needed to. We learned the Cardinals could survive with Drew Stanton at quarterback if they get big plays and solid defense. The defense had not given up hope at that point. At 9-1, even without Palmer, there was optimism.