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Rams were considered the Cinderella team in a very tough and competitive division. They had improved their receiving, pass blocking qnd pass rush in the off-seasonand considered a half-notch below the Niners and the Seahawks. The Cards were considered significantly improved too, with a huge roster overhaul, including a major upgrade at QB.
Close But No Cigar.
The Bottom Line:
Rams kicked a late field goal to erase a 11-point 4Q deficit and eke out a narrow win over the Cardinals. The Cards had combined some sharp passing and an opportunistic defense to build a 7 - 0 and 10 -7 first quarter lead. To be quite honest, it looked at first as though the Rams would blow us out of the stadium physically (their YAC average on screen plays was unbelievably high and a function of poor one-on-one tackling in the flat by Cardinal defenders.
But opportunistic plays by the Cardinal "D" (starting late in the 1Q with Tyrann Mathis' catching Cook from behind to prevent a long TD and including the 3Q bat-down by Shaughnessy and interception/TD by Dan Williama opened up an 11 point Cardinal lead going into the 4Q.
But the Cards couldn't hold onto the lead (failing to add to the score or prevent the Rams from scoring) and fell victim to a 48-yard Zuerlein FG with 1:05 left to play to lose 27 - 24.
Rams received and the two teams exchanged a couple of long possessions before Mathis chased down Cook (who was on his way to a 47-yard TD). Tyrann stripped the ball from Cook near the goal line and Dansby recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback.
Palmer then showed Cardinal fans what he was capable of by engineering an 80-yard TD drive that crossed over into the 2nd quarter. First Quarter Score: Cardinals 0. - Rams 0.
The 8 play drive featured a 16-yard completion to Sperry and a 44-yard hook-up with Floyd. Drive was capped by a 4-yard completion to Fitz. Cards 7 - Rams 0.
Rams came right back and moved from their own 21 to the Cardinal 18, where Zuerlein was good from 36. Cardinals 7 - Rams
A 13 play Cardinal drive (which started from their own 8), stalled in the red zone, where Feely delivered from 30-yards. Cardinals 10 - Rams 3.
5:23 til halftime. Starting from his own 20, Bradford led his team on a 12-play TD drive ending with a 13-yard completion to Cook with 0:26 left on the clock All tied up.. Halftime Score:
Cardinals 10. - Rams 10.
TB on the KO. On the third play from scrimmmage, Palmer's throw to Fitz was picked off and returned to the Cardinal 4. Card red zone defense hung tough and limited the Rams to a 25 yard Zuerlein FG. Rams 13 -
TB on the KO. Rams held us to 3 & out. Zastudil's 57-yard punt was downed at the StL 4. On the 3rd play from scrimmage at the 7-yard line, Bradford's pass was tipped by Shaugnessy and intercepted by Dumpster Dan Williams who rambled in for a 2-yard TD.
Cardinals 17 Rams 13.
An 11 play drive starting from the Cardinal 17 resulted in a 24-yard completion to Fitz to open up an 11-point Cardinal lead looking toward the 4Q. Cardinals 24 - Rams 13,
On the next Ram possession, they moved to the Cardinal 32 (featuring a 36-yard completion to Cook - over Peterson) as the 3Q ended. Third Quarter Score: Cardinals 24 - Rams 13.
Completions of 14 yards (to Austin) and 16 yards (to Quick) set up a one-yard TD completion to Cook. Bradford ran it in up the middle to complete the 2-point conversion. Cards 24 - Rams 21.
Cards returned the KO to their own 12. An 8-yard sack of Palmer by Quinn and fumble recovery by the Rams at the Card 22 set up a 20-yard Zuerlein FG to tie the score. Cards 24 - Rams 24.
9:04 left. TB on the KO. Drive stalled 9 plays later at our own 46. Punt was downed at the StL 5 and they went 3 & out.3:10 left. We got the ball baxk on our own 33, but couldn't do anything and went 3 & out. TB on the punt with 3:10 left. We couldn't stop 'em. An 8 play drive ended with a 48-yard Zuerlein FG with 0:40 on the clock to end it. Final Score: Rams 27 - Cardinals 24.
Palmer completed 26 of 40 passes for 327 yards, 2 TD's and an interception.
Cards netted 86 yards rushing.
Rams rushed for 67yards.
Palmer got sacked 4 times and lost a fumble.
Our guys had no sacks.
Teams were tied in take-aways (2 apiece) but ours were more timely.
Cards had 25 first downs (vs. 20 by the
Cards were penalized 6 times (Rams 7)
Cards won the Time of Possession battle:
31:25 to 28:35
The Dark Side
Poor tackling one-on-one.
Levi (3 sacks and a hold)
Inability to contain Cook.
Our closest defender to Bradford on waggles seemed to be miles away
We weren't as good as hoped or as bad as we feared. It was a winnable loss, and you can't do that in the NFL West.