There’s nothing like ending an opponent’s undefeated season to validate a team’s arrival as a serious contender. The St. Louis Rams did just that on Thursday Night Football, toppling the Arizona Cardinals 17-3 with stifling defense. Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s influence can be clearly seen with this team and that could carry them a long way as the year progresses.
For now, the Rams piled up nine sacks en route to their win over the Cards. Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb was under duress on nearly every drop-back as the Rams young, relentless front four pinned their ears back and came hard. Robert Quinn led the team with three sacks while the remaining six take-downs were spread among different defenders including defensive stalwarts Chris Long and James Laurinaitis.
While the defense was impressive surrendering just 282 total yards, the offense was quite underwhelming. Quarterback Sam Bradford completed just seven of 21 pass attempts for 141 yards. Two of those completions were for scores including a 51-yard bomb to rookie Chris Givens who finally held onto a deep ball rather than drop it. Still the receiving corps has a lot of work to do if this offense wants to become a legitimate threat.
As predicted here in the game preview, the Rams’ running game finally got going a bit in the game as Steven Jackson carried 18 times for 76 yards and rookie Daryl Richardson chipped in with nine totes of his own for 35 yards. That total 27 carries for 111 yards is the best output by the team thus far this season and kept the Cards defense glued to the line of scrimmage, opening up some room for the deep passing game.
What happened in the game that wasn’t very favorable looking forward was the injury to wideout Danny Amendola when he dove to make a catch on the sideline in the second quarter. After leaving the field, Amendola threw his helmet on the way to the locker room in frustration. Per a team source, he has a broken collarbone and will miss 4-6 weeks recovering. Given the Rams real lack of targets already, this injury is significant and may further handicap their offense which didn’t look the same without him in the second half.
Getting a win is always a positive and rookie kicker Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein continued his early season tear with a 53-yard field goal in this game, yet the Rams still have plenty of work to do. At least they have a mini bye week now with 10 days off following this tilt to heal up and prepare for week six. The signature of the NFC West is now becoming a division of tough defenses and coach Fisher’s Rams are happy to finally be a part of the conversation.
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