GLENDALE, Ariz. — It may not be the most intimidating of NFC West matchups, but it might just be the most concerning.
The St. Louis Rams are in town to take on the Cardinals, with their QB hurting defense and pedestrian — at best — offense.
The Cardinals are looking to improve their record to 4-0 while the Rams are trying to even theirs up at 2-2.
Mike Iupati will be be making his Cardinals debut at left guard while Andre Ellington is once again inactive due to a knee injury.
Should be fun.
End of game
Gurley picks up the first down and that’ll do it. Cards lose 24-22, have only themselves to blame.
Time to head downstairs and get some reaction.
1:27 left in fourth quarter
Gurley breaks off a long run on first down for a first down. Cards stuff him for a five-yard loss on the next play, but are forced to spend their second timeout. The RB picks up two yards on his next run, but the Cards use their final timeout.
1:44 left in fourth quarter
Cards had a 3rd and 2, but threw down the field to Jaron Brown (incomplete) and then Palmer missed an open David Johnson on fourth down. Rams take over at their own 44.
2:00 left in fourth quarter
A nice pass to John Brown and an eight yard run by David Johnson has the Cardinals facing a 2nd and 2 at the St. Louis 43. Think this place is nervous? Tense? Maybe. Probably. Definitely.
2:51 left in fourth quarter
The Cards get the stop after Foles for some reason tries to attack Peterson on third down. The punt is returned to the Arizona 37, and the Cards have great field position to try and win this game. Can they do it?
4:32 left in fourth quarter
The kickoff is taken out of the end zone but only returned to the 14. The stadium is getting loud as the defense has a chance to keep momentum on AZ’s side while getting the offense the ball back for a chance to win the game.
4:38 left in fourth quarter
Palmer hits a wide open Fitzgerald on fourth down, and the Cards get to the red zone. Palmer sacked on first down and fumbles, but Lyle Sendlein jumps on it. Next play Palmer hits David Johnson for a 23-yard TD, and the Cards are still in it.
The PAT is good and the score is Rams 24, Cardinals 22.
6:43 left in fourth quarter
A 22-yard pass to Floyd and another one to David Johnson got the Cards moving, but a couple of incompletions — one of which was a near interception broken up by John Brown — has Arizona facing a 3rd and 10 at the St. Louis 39.
8:16 left in fourth quarter
Woops X 2. The Rams pick up Arizona’s blitz and buy Foles enough time to find Austin for a 12-yard TD. Powers beaten on the play, and the PAT makes it a two-score game in Arizona. Rams 24, Cardinals 15, and this is why you can’t settle for field goals.
9:56 left in fourth quarter
Woops. Gurley picks up 52 yards on a run, with only Tyrann Mathieu saving a score. The Rams get to the Arizona 16, but are pushed back to the 21 with a delay of game. Imperative Arizona holds the Rams to a FG attempt.
11:57 left in fourth quarter
Cards move the ball well again, but stall in the red zone again. Gresham can’t hang on and unfortunately it looked like John Brown was open in the corner of the end zone, but Palmer never saw him. Catanzaro makes good on a 29-yard field goal, but the Cardinals still trail by a score of 17-15.
End of third quarter
Twice the Cardinals appeared to get that fumble, and twice they do not. The first time Gurley coughed up the ball but the Rams somehow recovered. The second time, Cunningham put the ball on the ground and it was recovered by Frostee Rucker. The refs ruled forward progress had stopped and thus no fumble, so Bruce Arians’ challenge flag is moot. Fans aren’t pleased, and nor should they be. Tough break for the Cardinals, whose defense came up REAL big on that series.
1:05 left in third quarter
The kick return is a good one but a penalty pushes it back to the Rams 12. Can the defense force a three-and-out? Maybe a turnover?
1:13 left in third quarter
New verse, same as the first. Cards move down the field at ease, but have to settle for a Catanzaro field goal after Palmer is sacked on 3rd and 2. The 38-yard kick makes the score 17-12 and again, while Arizona has had success moving the ball, settling for field goals is no way to win a game.
5:26 left in third quarter
Chris Johnson picks up 19 yards on a run up the middle and now there’s a break in the action due to an injured Ram. It’s LB Alec Ogletree, who is one of their more important players.
Still 5:44 left in third quarter
The kickoff sails out of the end zone so the Cards will start their drive at the 20. They seemed to be finding a groove on their last series before the fumble. Let’s see if that derailed them or if they can keep that going. Has to be a frustrating game for Arizona, who has shown flashes of the explosiveness we saw in the first three weeks but has pretty much tripped over their own feet when given a chance to do something big.
5:44 left in third quarter
Thanks to some good runs by Todd Gurley, the Rams end up scoring a TD. Foles hit Stedman Bailey on a nice 18-yard pass, and the Rams extend their lead to 17-9. Turning turnovers into points is a very simple way to win a football game, and the Rams have done that.
The Cardinals are in no way out of this game, but they’ve done little to help themselves.
8:36 left in third quarter
Cardinals seemed to have something good going after a nice John Brown play was followed by a great deep ball to Larry Fitzgerald, but the ball was pried loose and the fumble was recovered by the Rams. It was a great hit, sure, but the Cardinals are not helping themselves in this one. Assuming the fumble stands, and I’m sure it will, the Rams will take over at their own 42.
The Cardinals are the better team, but they’re giving the Rams good field position. Can’t do that.
10:34 left in third quarter
Rams move the ball a bit with some screens, but the Cards are able to force a punt before any real threat was posed. The punt is fair caught by Peterson at the Arizona eight, which is where the offense will start.
A lot of good things happened for Palmer and Co. in the first half, though an interception and failure to reach the end zone really marred what was otherwise a solid performance. Can they continue to move the ball in the second half?
End of second quarter
A Jared Veldheer hold wipes out a big gain to John Brown, which then leads to Arians conceding the drive and Palmer kneeling on the ball. The Cards head into the half trailing 10-9 in a weird game.
Arizona’s offense has moved the ball while the defense has been stout, but a really bad turnover on the opening kick and an inability to get the ball into the end zone have the score where it’s at.
If you’re the Cardinals, how do you feel about this?
:35 left in second quarter
Cards force a three-and-out with help of Calais Campbell, who read a third-down screen play and did not make the tackle but forced the RB back inside.
Hekker gets off a 57-yard punt, which Peterson only returns for two yards. Thee Cards are out of timeouts and have a long way to go, but Bruce Arians is their coach so who knows if they’ll try to make something happen here. The drive starts at the Arizona 23.
1:13 left in second quarter
Drive stalls when Palmer’s pass to David Johnson falls incomplete. Crowd wanted a flag, but looked like the RB slowed down in an effort to draw a penalty so the no-call was probably the right call. Catanzaro is good from 42 yards out on the field goal, so now the score is 10-9 Rams.
2:00 left in second quarter
Larry Fitzgerald makes his first catch of the game (after an earlier drop) and then Chris Johnson breaks off a 23-yard run to get the Cardinals to the St. Louis 46. Solid response so far, but with a couple minutes left can they finish the drive and take the lead?
3:16 left in second quarter
Tyrann Mathieu makes a nice play to knock the ball out of Jared Cook’s hands. Didn’t look like he knew where the ball was, just put his arms up and made the play. Zuerlein’s field goal is good, and the Rams extend their lead to 10-6.
3:27 left in second quarter
The Rams got a nice pass to Austin to get deep into Cards territory, and Arizona may have just got a break as it looked like St. Louis RB Todd Gurley may not have been down when the play was whisteled dead on a run. As it is, the Rams call a timeout and it is 3rd and 4 at the Arizona 12.
6:50 left in second quarter
The Cards were moving and then, with Palmer trying to hit Brown on a deep ball, are picked off in the end zone. It looked like Brown had a step on the corner but the ball was a little late and a little short, allowing it to be tracked and intercepted by Janoris Jenkins.
It is the Cards’ second turnover of the day, and while it’s not as bad as the first, it’s certainly not good. A better throw probably would have been a score.
8:56 left in second quarter
Cards force another three-and-out, their third straight. Peterson returns the punt nine yards to the Arizona 17. The defense has done its job so far while the offense has been just OK.
10:45 left in second quarter
Cards move the ball a little more with some short passes and runs, but the drive stalls and leads to a 27-yard Catanzaro field goal. Points are points, yes, but the Cards had been so good about scoring in the red zone and so far today have just a pair of field goals to show for their two trips.
End of first quarter
Palmer hits Michael Floyd for a first down and the drive will continue as we hit the second quarter. Palmer is getting beat up pretty good this game — not necessarily the line’s fault, mind you, as the Rams are often times sending more rushers than there are blockers. So far he seems no worse for ware and that’s a good thing.
When play resumes the Cards will have a first and 10 at the St. Louis 37.
2:14 left in first quarter
No turnover but the three-and-out happens, so that’s good for Arizona. Peterson fair catches the punt at the Arizona 40. Can the offense get going?
4:08 left in first quarter
A penalty on the kickoff return (which didn’t go far anyway, so maybe the Rams should have cheated better) pushes the ball back to the St. Louis eight, which is where the drive will start. It’s a big early series for Arizona’s defense, which is rested now and could wrestle away some momentum with a stop (or better yet, a turnover).
4:13 left in first quarter
Cardinals go backwards on consecutive Chris Johnson runs, and then David Johnson drops what should have been a touchdown on third down. Not a great finish to what was otherwise a pretty good drive.
Chandler Catanzaro connects on a 21-yard field goal and the Cards are on the board, though they still trail in this one by a score of 7-3.
5:40 left in first quarter
Cards pick up a big first down when Palmer dumps the ball off to David Johnson, who breaks tackles and would not be denied. Following play is a deep ball from Palmer to Michael Floyd, who does not come down with the catch but does draw a PI call. First down at the 1.
8:32 left in first quarter
The defense makes its mark on this game, forcing a three-and-out that is capped by a Markus Golden sack of Foles. Though the Rams have some skill, you have to figure this should be a game where they struggle to move the ball, which is why that first turnover was so huge.
Patrick Peterson nearly breaks the punt return for a long one, and instead is able to get to the Arizona 34 before he is tripped up (and flipped in the air).
Offense back on the field.
9:59 left in first quarter
A couple of short passes to John Brown helped move the Cardinals down the field, but the Rams started to get some pressure on Palmer and ended up dropping him in the backfield a couple of times, including for a sack on third down. The big concern going into this game had to be whether or not Arizona’s line could protect No. 3, and so far the early returns are not great.
Butler’s punt is a not-so-good-looking 44-yard boot, which is downed at the St. Louis 23.
13:24 left in first quarter
The kickoff goes out of the end zone for a touchback. Cards will start at their own 20 trailing for the first time this season.
13:24 left in first quarter
Well, that’s what happens when you give a team great field position. A short screen pass followed by a great tackle in the backfield by Deone Bucannon set up a 3rd and 5, but Nick Foles hits Tavon Austin for a 12-yard score. Jerraud Powers was beat on the play.
Not the start Arizona wanted, that’s for sure. With the PAT the score is Rams 7, Cardinals 0.
14:46 left in first quarter
Palmer won’t get that chance as David Johnson fumbles the opening kickoff. The Rams recovered and have the ball at the Arizona 17. Not the way you want to start against a team with a struggling offense, giving them prime field position to start a drive.
Prior to kickoff
The Cardinals won the toss and chose to receive. Bruce Arians has said he likes getting the ball first because he trusts Carson Palmer to if not lead a scoring drive, lead a drive that at least picks up a few first downs and flips the field.