Bradley Sowell, offensive line bounce back for Arizona Cardinals

Dec 9, 2013, 5:24 PM | Updated: 5:24 pm

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The first time the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams faced off this season, Cards QB Carson Palmer was sacked four times in his team’s 27-24 loss. He also fumbled twice, and was hit six other times while being pressured often.

Rams defensive end Robert Quinn accounted for three of the sacks and both forced fumbles as the team basically had its way with Arizona’s offensive line.

Since then, the Cardinals replaced left tackle Levi Brown with Bradley Sowell, but otherwise have kept the line unchanged. So needless to say, how Arizona’s front would fare in the second meeting between the teams was discussed quite often leading up the game.

They fared well.

The Cardinals averaged 5.3 yards per rush and Palmer was sacked just once while engineering one of the most efficient games of his career.

“We probably did a better job coaching, to be honest with you,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said after the game. “We covered our guys up and chipped and helped a little bit more than we have in the past.”

Arians, though, noted that there were still plenty of times where his linemen were asked to go it alone, and they held up rather well, affording Palmer just enough time to get the ball away.

“We had a great game plan protection-wise,” Palmer said, noting he was sacked just one time. “That defense rarely only ever gets one sack, and they always get quarterback pressures and quarterback hits and knock downs, but protection was phenomenal.”

Quinn, who was a monster in the first meeting, was held to just three combined tackles, with only one of them being for a loss. Chris Long, who is also adept at getting to the quarterback, had just two combined tackles, none of which went for a loss.

“They were getting the ball off fast – chipping a lot,” Quinn said. “His receivers were making plays.”

It was one of the better all-around performances from the line, and an important bounce-back performance from Sowell. The week before, in Philadelphia, he struggled to contain the Eagles’ Trent Cole. Given the struggles his predecessor had against Quinn a couple months ago, there were justifiable concerns that the second-year pro would have some issues throughout the day.

He did not.

“I took it pretty personal all week when I kept seeing all the stuff about the matchup being circled, this, that and the other,” Sowell said. “My goal was to go out there and every time I got my hands on him try to beat him up. It was a good matchup between me and him; we had a physical battle out there.”

Like the offensive line as a whole, Sowell was able to bounce back when the team needed him most.

“You can’t think about the week before,” he said. “You’ve got to have a short memory and come out here. It’s a new week, a new ballgame, and come out and play as hard as you can.”

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, left, catches a 4-yard pass for a touchdown as St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, left, catches a 4-yard pass for a touchdown as St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, bottom, fumbles the ball as he is sacked for a 7-yard loss by St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn during the first quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford throws during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd is congratulated by teammate Larry Fitzgerald (11) after catching a 44-yard pass as St. Louis Rams safety T.J. McDonald, left, looks on during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd, right, catches a 44-yard pass as St. Louis Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, right, knocks the ball out of the hands of St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook after Cook caught a 47-yard pass during the first quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. Cardinals' Karlos Dansby recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throws during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook, left, dives into the end zone after catching a 16-yard pass for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals safety Yeremiah Bell defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook celebrates after catching a 16-yard pass for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game as Arizona Cardinals safeties Rashad Johnson (26) and Yeremiah Bell (37) stand on the field on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy, left, runs with the ball for a 4-yard gain as Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, right, defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson runs with the ball after intercepting a pass by Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and running it back 29-yards before being pushed out of bounds during the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Rams quarterback Sam Bradford lofts a pass near the outstretched arms of Arizona defensive tackle Dan Williams during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen) Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams, center, returns an interception for a touchdown as teammates Jasper Brinkley (52) and Karlos Dansby, right, watch during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, left, catches a 24-yard pass for a touchdown as St. Louis Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan defends during the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald celebrates after catching a 24-yard pass for a touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, left, catches a 24-yard pass for a touchdown as St. Louis Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan and safety Rodney McLeod (23) defend during the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook (89) celebrates after catching a 1-yard pass for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford celebrates after scoring a two-point conversion during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, center, fumbles as he is hit by St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, left, and defensive end William Hayes watches during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. The Rams recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brian Quick (83) carries a 16-yard pass down to the 1-yard line during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams placekicker Greg Zuerlein boots a 48-yard field goal during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

St. Louis Rams placekicker Greg Zuerlein (4) is congratulated by teammates Johnny Hekker, left, Chris Williams (65) and Matt Conrath, right, after booting a 48-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. The Rams won 27-24. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins hops onto linebacker James Laurinaitis as they celebrate as time expires during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee) Rams head coach Jeff Fisher calls to his players during a timeout during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen) Arizona Cardinals players try to block St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein's game-winning 48-yard field goal during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee) Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett sits on the bench following a 27-24 loss to the St. Louis Rams in an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

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