5 things to know after Cardinals roll Rams 30-10
Maybe this practice stuff is overrated.
Carson Palmer was not allowed to throw a pass once in workouts
last week, then turned in a near-perfect performance.
The Arizona quarterback completed 27 of 32 passes, the
second-best completion percentage in Cardinals history, in a 30-10
victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
”(Trainer) Tom Reed and his staff, they are the best in the
business,” Palmer said. ”He had a plan from Monday on, and he
stuck to it. I had 100 percent faith and trust in him that he knew
what he was doing and that he and his staff would have me ready to
Boy, did they ever.
Palmer’s 84.4 percent completion rate is second only in
franchise history to Kurt Warner’s NFL record 24 of 26 (92.3)
percent. The Rams’ vaunted pass rush sacked him just once.
Larry Fitzgerald caught 12 passes for 96 yards and a
The Cardinals (8-5) also scored twice on defense, when Karlos
Dansby returned an interception 23 yards for a score and John
Abraham tackled Kellen Clemens for a safety.
”Obviously they’re a much better team than they were last
year,” Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar said. ”They have a really
good coach. They bought into the system, and they’re playing
Here are five things learned from Arizona’s dominant
RAMS NEED TO RUN: When the Rams can’t move the ball on the
ground, they are in trouble.
When quarterback Sam Bradford went down with a season-ending
knee injury, St. Louis shifted to a run-oriented offense.
But take away Tavon Austin’s 56-yard run, which set up St.
Louis’ lone touchdown, and the Rams managed just 44 yards in 18
carries. Zac Stacy had just 25 yards in 14 tries.
The Cardinals have one of the best run defenses in the league,
and once the Rams’ ground game was stifled, the team could zero in
”Once you shut down the run against a team like St. Louis that
is built on running the football, the frenzy can feed,” Arizona
coach Bruce Arians said.
ABRAHAM’S BIG DAY: Abraham had three sacks, giving him 11 for
The 14-year NFL veteran has 133 sacks, moving him past Lawrence
Taylor and Leslie O’Neal to ninth on the career list.
”Now I am trying to walk down (Michael) Strahan at five. He has
141.5,” Abraham said. ”It’s good to get a personal goal, but it’s
even better to get a win, and how we played today on both sides of
the ball and special teams showed what kind of team we can be.
That’s what impressed me the most.”
HONEY BADGER HURT: Rookie Tyrann Mathieu’s sensational season
may have come to an end with a left knee injury that Arians says
appeared to be a torn ACL.
Mathieu was hurt when he returned the free kick following
Arizona’s safety in the third quarter. He was buried in a pile of
tacklers, then got up and jogged toward the sideline.
But his knee buckled and he collapsed to the ground. Getting
consolation from teammates, he sat with his helmet off and waited
for the cart to be brought, then road it off the field.
Arians said he thought Mathieu’s play this far had made him ”a
lock” to be NFL defensive rookie of the year.
”I think no one else has played as much as he’s played, and all
the positions he’s played,” Arians said.
The coach said he wished the Rams had kicked the ball to
FITGERALD WAS PROLIFIC: Fitzgerald hadn’t caught this many
passes in a game since he matched his career best with 13 against
Seattle on Oct. 18, 2009.
Arians said there was no special plan to throw to Fitgerald.
”We throw it where they will let us throw it,” Arians said.
”Carson was spot on it.”
Fitzgerald has 10 touchdown catches this season, becoming the
ninth player in NFL history with five seasons of double-digit TD
RAMS ARE DONE: With the loss, St. Louis officially is out of
playoff contention and almost certainly is headed for a last place
in the NFC West.
It’s a season that never really had a chance after Bradford was
”I think the thing we want to see now is finish the season
strong,” Clemens said. ”We want to see improvement. We’ll get
back to work. We’re eliminated, but we still have to play
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