My, my how the NFC West has changed. The San Francisco 49ers laid the blueprint two season ago and now everyone else in the division has followed suit; the NFC West is no longer a collective push over now they are doing the pushing over as the most physical division in the NFL. Last night’s defensive struggle between the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals gave a prime example of this notion to a national television audience as the Rams battered the Cards 17-3 and Arizona’s quarterback Kevin Kolb took much of the beating himself.
Kolb dropped back to pass 59 times in the game and he was sacked nine times, hit 13 times, knocked down 13 times and was hurried 21 times. This came just five days after getting sacked eight times against the Miami Dolphins, Kolb desperately needs some type of blocking assistance ASAP. To his credit Kolb didn’t have a bad game when he was actually on his feet, he passed for 289 yards while completing 28 of his 50 attempts. The Cards also didn’t get much out of their running game gaining just 45 yards on 17 attempts in Arizona’s first loss of the year.
Sam Bradford and the Rams offense didn’t do much at all either however they allowed their defense to dominate and did just enough to score a couple of touchdowns to win the game. Bradford completed just seven of his 21 pass attempts for 141 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The Rams offense could only muster up a total of 242 yards on 54 plays from scrimmage and a good chunk of that came from their veteran running back Steven Jackson who had 76 yards on 18 carries.
The story of this game was the Rams defense and their ability to get pass the Cardinals offensive line and make Kolb suffer for his blockers sins. Seven different Rams defensive players sacked Kolb including rookie defensive end Robert Quinn who racked up a game high three sacks by himself. One thing did go wrong for St. Louis in this contest and that was the broken collarbone that wide receiver Danny Amendola suffered in the first half. Amendola was Bradford’s main target early this season hauling in 32 receptions for 395 yards and two touchdowns so far this season, now the Rams are likely without him for the remainder of the year.
The Rams now improve to 3-2 (all three of their victories have come at home in the Edward Jones Dome) and will head to Miami next week to face the Dolphins while the Cardinals are now 4-1 and need to fix their offensive line issues before their home match up against the Buffalo Bills next week.