Rams’ Gurley, Foles send Cardinals to first loss, 24-22
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Todd Gurley was a second-half sensation and sure looked as though he justified being the No. 10 pick in the NFL draft.
The St. Louis rookie rushed for all but two of 146 yards after halftime and the Rams held on to hand the Arizona Cardinals their first loss of the season, 24-22 on Sunday.
Gurley saw his most extensive action as a pro and his 52-yard run set up what was the winning touchdown.
Nick Foles threw for three TDs, two after Arizona turnovers, and St. Louis’ defense held the Cardinals (3-1) to field goals on four of five trips inside the red zone.
Arizona had a third-and-2 at the Rams 43 in the final minutes, but Carson Palmer overthrew receivers on consecutive plays to turn the ball over on downs.
The Rams (2-2) are 2-0 against the NFC West.
St. Louis scored after Arizona rookie David Johnson fumbled away the opening kickoff, the first time the Cardinals have trailed this season, and never relinquished the lead.
After scoring 48 and 47 points in its last two games, Arizona got five field goals from Chandler Catanzaro — from 21, 27, 42, 38 and 29 yards.
It was only the fourth loss in the Cardinals’ 19 home games under coach Bruce Arians, and Palmer lost for the first time in 10 starts. He completed 29 of 46 passes for 352 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Gurley, who was delayed in his pro debut by a knee injury, gained 9 yards in six carries in his debut last week against Pittsburgh and had 5 yards on three attempts in the first half Sunday.
He broke through in a big way after that, though.
With the Rams clinging to a 17-15 lead, Gurley burst through the line and broke a couple of tackles for a 52-yard gain to the Arizona 16, and Foles threw 12 yards to Austin and the lead was 24-15 with 8:16 to play.
The Cardinals finally got their only touchdown when Palmer lofted a 19-yard pass to Johnson for the score that made it 24-22 with 4:38 left.
Johnson, who had a 108-yard return on the opening kick two weeks ago, brought it out again to open this game. At about the 15-yard line, Mark Barron knocked the ball loose and Daren Bates jumped on it for St. Louis at the Arizona 13. On third down from the 12, Foles threw over the middle to Austin, just the Rams’ seventh touchdown of the season, and Arizona trailed for the first time this season.
A pass interference penalty on Rodney McLeod in the end zone on a deep pass intended for Michael Floyd gave Arizona the ball at the Rams 1. But Chris Johnson lost 3 yards on the next two plays. On third down, Palmer threw to a wide-open David Johnson at the goal line but the rookie dropped the ball and the Cardinals settled for a field goal.
The Cardinals drove to the St. Louis 7 early in the second quarter, but again Chris Johnson was stuffed and the field goal cut the lead to 7-6.