Rams hand Cardinals first loss
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Sam Bradford connected on a pair of touchdown passes and was aided by a stifling defense as the St. Louis Rams downed the Arizona Cardinals, 17-3.
Bradford completed just 7-of-21 passes for 141 yards with an interception for St. Louis (3-2), which has won its last two games to push its record over the .500 mark for the first time since 2006.
Robert Quinn collected three sacks to lead a defensive unit that racked up nine sacks of Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Steven Jackson carried the ball 18 times for 76 yards, while Chris Givens and Lance Kendricks each caught a touchdown in the win.
Kolb went 28-for-50 through the air for 289 yards for the Cardinals (4-1), who were dealt their first loss of the season.
Larry Fitzgerald paced all receivers with eight receptions for 92 yards in defeat.
The Rams received the ball to start the game and wasted no time in getting on the board as Bradford hit Brandon Gibson for 14 yards on the first play of the drive before Danny Amendola made a one-handed grab deep down the left sideline for a 44-yard gain on the next snap.
Faced with a 3rd-and-6 at the Arizona 7-yard line, Bradford scrambled to his left and hit Kendricks in the left side of the end zone for an early lead.
Arizona answered with a 17-play drive that ate up over nine minutes of clock, but Kolb failed to connect with Early Doucet on a 3rd-and-8 and the Cardinals were forced to settle for Jay Feely's 35-yard field goal.
St. Louis later took over on offense at the 50-yard line following a series of punts and Jackson's 12-yard rush set up a 53-yard kick by Greg Zuerlein with 10:45 left in the second quarter.
After the teams again traded punts, the Cardinals marched down to the Rams 22, but Feely missed a 40-yard kick wide to the left, keeping it a 10-3 game at the half.
Feely had made 19 straight field goals prior to the miss.
Neither team was able to record a first down through the first three possessions of the third quarter until Jackson picked up a couple with four straight runs, collecting 28 yards to move the ball to the Arizona 29.
Two runs by Daryl Richardson and another rush by Jackson brought St. Louis to the Cardinals 16-yard line, but the Rams did not come away with any points as Patrick Peterson intercepted a floating Bradford pass in the back of the end zone.
Arizona did not capitalize on the turnover, though, and St. Louis took its next touch 89 yards on 10 plays to go on top, 17-3.
The drive, which stretched into the fourth quarter, included runs of 16 yards by Richardson and 12 by Jackson before Bradford found Givens for a 51-yard touchdown deep down the left sideline with 11:49 remaining in the game.
The Cardinals responded with a lengthy drive that moved as deep as the St. Louis 6, but an offensive pass interference penalty during a 3rd-and-3 pushed the ball back 10 yards and Fitzgerald could not force his way across the goal line on a short reception on fourth down, turning the ball over on downs with 5:25 left.
Arizona regained the ball at the Rams 38 following a 26-yard punt return by Peterson, but the Cardinals managed just one first down and Kolb was sacked on a 4th-and-1 at the St. Louis 13.
The Cardinals got one more shot to bring themselves back within a score after a three-and-out by St. Louis, but Quinn forced a Kolb fumble on the first play of the drive and recovered the ball himself, allowing the Rams to run out the rest of the game clock.
Amendola was forced to leave the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return ... Richardson finished with 35 yards on nine carries ... James Laurinaitis, Cortland Finnegan, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Bradley Fletcher, Chris Long and Jermell Cudjo each had a sack for the Rams ...The Cardinals recorded one sack in the game to snap a streak of 10 straight games with at least two sacks ... Arizona leads the all-time series between the teams, 33-32-2.