The St. Louis Rams rode opportunistic defense and Steven Jackson's legs to a 31-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday. The win improves the Rams' record to 4-6-1 on the season and relegates the Cardinals, now losers of seven straight games, to the NFC West basement.
The teams traded touchdowns throughout the first half, with Arizona opening scoring on a Beanie Wells touchdown run with 2:51 to play in the first quarter. Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins tied the score just two minutes later, taking a Ryan Lindley interception for a touchdown. A second Wells touchdown was answered when Sam Bradford found Lance Kendricks for a 37-yard touchdown completion at the two-minute warning. A Jay Feely field goal in the last seconds of the half gave the Cardinals a 17-14 edge at the break.
The Rams took the game over in the third quarter. Five minutes into the second half, Bradford connected with Chris Givens for his second 37-yard touchdown pass of the day. Jenkins struck again seven minutes later, taking another Lindley interception 39 yards for his second touchdown of the game and giving St. Louis a 28-17 lead going into the final period. A Greg Zuerlein 19-yard field goal with 5:30 to play extended the Rams' advantage, and Arizona was unable to respond.
While he did not find the end zone, veteran Rams running back Steven Jackson powered the St. Louis offense, running for 139 yards on 24 carries. Chris Givens set career highs by catching five passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, his third of the season.
And how often does a defense deserve a fantasy stud designation? The Rams' picked off Arizona four times, scored twice and held the Cardinals to 17 points for the afternoon.
St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford's struggles continued, as he managed to complete just 8 of his 17 pass attempts for 205 yards and the aforementioned two scores. It was the seventh time this season that Bradford threw for less than 225 yards, and Sunday was his season low in attempts.
For Arizona, the quarterback woes continued. Ryan Lindley completed 31 of 52 attempts for 312 yards, but threw four key interceptions, leading to two Rams touchdowns. Wells scored twice, but managed just 48 yards on 17 rushing attempts.
But did they cover?
The Rams had entered Sunday's game as a one-point underdog; their straight-up win beat the spread and won the money line.