Notes from the Nest: Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams
This one is in the books. Cards win 30-10, earning their 7th non-losing season since moving to Arizona and their first NFC West win since Week 1 of last year.
Time to head downstairs.
1:55 left in fourth quarter
Andre Ellington punches it in from six yards out, and the Cardinals go up 30-10. This one is over, folks.
3:58 left in fourth quarter
And Rashad “9.5 fingers” Johnson picks off a Clemens pass, and that should just about do it. The safety made a great play on the ball to come up with the pick.
4:27 left in fourth quarter
Cardinals do everything right on their drive but finish. A nice pass from Palmer to Jaron Brown set the Cards up, but a couple of incomplete passes and a missed field goal by Jay Feely mean the score remains 23-10. Rams take over at their own 20 and have a little bit of life left in them.
8:45 left in fourth quarter
Karlos Dansby crushes Clemens on third down and the sack leads to another punt. Peterson’s return is a whole lot of meh, and the Cards take over at their own 40.
Still 10:44 left in fourth quarter
Rams challenge and the call is overturned. Ball heads to the 20.
10:44 left in fourth quarter
Cards move the ball but ultimately have to kick it away, and Bryan McCann miraculously keeps the ball out of the end zone. Refs say the ball is on the St. Louis 1-yard line, which would be a HUGE spot. It was close, and a challenge could very well lead to this ball being placed at the 20.
14:57 left in fourth quarter
Stacy punches it into the end zone, and the Rams score for the first time since the first quarter.
23-10, Cards on top.
Arizona is still in control of this game, but it’s only two scores. Need to put together a drive on their next series to restore a little order in this one.
End of third quarter
The third quarter ends with the Rams facing a 2nd and goal from the Arizona 2.
:39 left in third quarter
Tavon Austin takes the first play (an end-around) a long, long way. The rookie uses outstanding speed and moves to take the ball 56 yards, but winds up hurt on the play. A personal foul on Daryl Washington adds another two yards to the play, and the Rams have it at the Cards’ 2.
1:06 left in third quarter
Andre Roberts drops a third-down pass then Jay Feely pushes a 50-yard field goal attempt wide right. Fans below the press box thought it was good, though, and were cheering the kick. Oops.
Rams take over at their own 40.
4:06 left in third quarter
No safety, but Cards do force a three-and-out. Peterson returns the punt nine yards and Arizona takes over at the St. Louis 47.
5:47 left in third quarter
Injury update: Tyrann Mathieu has a left knee injury and will not return.
Cardinals punted the ball away, and a penalty puts the Rams at their own 5.
9:01 left in third quarter
Tyrann Mathieu is hurt on the ensuing kickoff and the Honey Badger is carted off the field after returning the ball. Hope he’s alright, but the cart is never a good sign.
As for the Cardinals, they’ll take over at the 22.
9:10 left in third quarter
Abraham makes me look smart as he crashes through the line unblocked and sacks Clemens in the end zone for a safety. It’s Abraham’s 10th sack of the season, making him the first Cardinal to reach that mark since Bertrand Berry in 2004.
The Cardinals are also up 23-3.
10:33 left in third quarter
Cards go nowhere and punt it away, and Zastudil’s beauty is downed at the 1-yard line.
This could get ugly for a Rams team that is now struggling to keep the Cardinals away from Clemens.
12:30 left in third quarter
Cardinals nearly get another turnover as John Abraham strip-sacks Clemens, though the Rams fall on it and end up punting away.
Cards will have the ball on their own 34.
14:42 left in third quarter
Calais Campbell hits Clemens just as he’s throwing the ball, Karlos Dansby intercepts the ball and takes it back for the score. It’s Dansby’s second pick-six in as many home games, and the Cards are up 21-6.
Some stats to chew on:
Cardinals have combined to gain 67 yards on 13 carries, which is good for an average of 5.2 ypc.
Carson Palmer has completed 16-of-17 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown. He should have two touchdowns.
Larry Fitzgerald caught eight passes on eight targets, tallying 71 yards and a score.
The Cardinals have also out-gained the Rams 236-169, and have allowed St. Louis RB Zac Stacy just 11 yards on seven attempts.
End of second quarter
Rams get into Cards territory but time expires on the half. Cards head into the break with a 14-3 lead that, quite frankly, should be better.
It was arguably Carson Palmer’s best half of football for the team, as he was decisive and accurate, and Larry Fitzgerald looked like the Fitz of yore.
You almost get the feeling that the Cards are a stop/score away from burying the Rams, as they’re not exactly a team that is best suited to play from behind.
:50 left in second quarter
What. A. Drive. By. Carson. Palmer. And. Larry. Fitzgerald.
The QB/WR duo is virtually unstoppable, with outstanding throws and great catches. Cards go 80 yards in 10 plays, and score on a 7-yard strike from Palmer to Fitz. No fumble there.
2:00 left in second quarter
Palmer sees his perfect streak come to an end on a deep ball to Housler, though it was actually a good throw — Housler just slipped.
A one-yard pass to Fitz makes it 3rd and 9 at the St. Louis 40.
4:31 left in second quarter
Cards give up a first down (by way of a pass to a TE) but holds from there. Punt sails into the end zone and the offense will head back onto the field.
Palmer has not thrown a bad ball yet, but the Cards should be up more than just 7-3. Gotta bounce back from the turnover, especially with the Rams getting the ball to start the second half. Points would be nice here, but certainly can’t afford a three-and-out or another turnover.
By the way, where’s Michael Floyd?
10:46 left in second quarter
Review shows Dray lost the ball just before crossing the goal line. Clear recovery by the Rams gives them the ball at the 20, but the personal foul pushes them back to the 10.
Either way, big mistake by Dray, who just cost the Cardinals some points.
10:46 left in second quarter
Have a day, Carson Palmer.
The QB directs another outstanding drive, showing outstanding poise and accuracy. The final play is a 17-yard toss to TE Jim Dray, who may have fumbled just after crossing the goal line.
On the run back (that may not have been necessary), Palmer is targeted by a Ram, meaning the personal foul penalty will cost St. Louis 15 yards on the kickoff.
Like all scoring plays, the touchdown is under review.
14:46 left in second quarter
Jared Cook beats Daryl Washington down the seam, but the throw is a touch underthrown and falls incomplete. Rams punt it into the end zone, so the Cards will take over at their 20.
The offense moved well on drive one and stalled on drive two. We have yet to see Michael Floyd get involved, and the feeling here is that is going to need to change.
End of first quarter
The first frame ends with the Rams driving but the Cards leading. It was an OK quarter for Arizona, as the first drive was great but nothing too exciting after that.
Defense hasn’t been sharp, though.
2:46 left in first quarter
A 21-yard draw play to Andre Ellington (welcome back, kid) was the highlight a drive that came a couple yards short of a first down. It was the type of run that you expect from the rookie, with some good jukes and a quick burst.
Palmer also showed solid mobility on third down, escaping the rush to get a good pass off.
Punt has the Rams on their 15.
6:12 left in first quarter
Rams answer with a pretty decent drive of their own, mixing in some short passes from Kellen Clemens to a bevy of receivers (and tight ends, of course). Defense holds the Rams to a 44-yard field goal from Legatron, and the score is now 7-3.
10:32 left in first quarter
A catch by Dray was followed by off-setting personal fouls. Palmer then hits Fitz, who gets to the two, which is followed by Mendenhall punching it in.
As far as drives go, that was a doozy for the Cardinals. Good start, 7-0 lead.
13:01 left in first quarter
End-around to Patrick Peterson picks up 12 yards, and Cards get another 15 thanks to a T.J. McDonald personal foul. McDonald is a dirty, dirty player by the way.
Did I mention McDonald is dirty?
13:25 left in first quarter
Following a touchback, the Cardinals have run three plays and gained 30 yards. The first was a pass from Palmer to Fitz, and his arm looked fine there.
For what it’s worth.
1:00 before kickoff
Cardinals won the coin toss and elected to receive the football, so we’ll get an early look at Palmer and the offense. The yards were there last week but so were the turnovers, and everyone in red is hoping that is a one-game fluke.
Last time these teams played in this stadium St. Louis’ Janoris Jenkins had a pair of pick-sixes.
3:00 before kickoff
Alright, let’s get this party started.
The Cardinals are being introduced to what is being called a sellout crowd but looks more like the Sun Devil Stadium days.
No real surprises or big names on the Cards’ inactive list, as QB Carson Palmer is in the lineup and will start. It will be interesting to see if his elbow injury affects his play today.
Anyway, the Cards are in their all red uniforms again, the stadium’s roof is open (take that East Coast!) and there is a sundae bar for the media.
Today, my friends, is a good day.