It was a battle between a firstplace 10win team

first_imgIt was a battle between a first-place, 10-win team and a last-place team with a losing record.But heading into Thursday night’s game between the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams, it was the last-place team that was getting all the attention.That’s not to say some of the attention wasn’t warranted. The Rams came into the contest riding the momentum of two straight shutouts — 52-0 over the Oakland Raiders in Week 13 and 24-0 over the Washington Redskins last week. That’s a pretty rare accomplishment for any NFL defense. 0 Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “(The Rams) were acting like they were 12-1 or 12-2 the way they were crowing all week. So yeah, our guys were more than ready,” the Cardinals coach said. – / 46 But as it turned out, the Rams’ unit was the second-best defense on the field at the Edward Jones Dome. Arizona held St. Louis to 280 yards and kept the Rams out of the end zone in a less-than-pretty 12-6 win.The victory was the 11th of the season for the Cardinals — good enough to clinch an NFC playoff berth as long as the Dallas-Philadelphia game Sunday doesn’t end in a tie.“It’s probably the proudest I’ve ever been of a group of men, watching them compete in this ball game,” Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians told Arizona Sports 98.7‘s Paul Calvisi after the game. “Our defense came out and showed them really what defense is all about.”That, they did. St. Louis would get points on its first possession of the night: A 48-yard drive was capped by a 24-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein, which gave the Rams a 3-0 lead. That would be all St. Louis would get for quite a while. The Rams’ next nine possessions didn’t change the number on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were content to run the ball and settle for field goals of their own. Rookie Chandler Catanzaro hit four field goals for all of the Arizona scoring. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retirescenter_img But as stated earlier, this night was all about the “D.” The Rams (6-8) couldn’t do anything on the ground against the Cardinals’ front. St. Louis had just 69 yards rushing — and 32 of that came on end-arounds and quarterback scrambles. Running backs Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham combined for 37 yards on 15 carries. “Nobody runs the football on us,” Arians said. “You can’t find a game, other than the Atlanta game where we didn’t show up, that anybody ran the football on us.”The Rams weren’t getting much through the air, either. After St. Louis quarterback Shaun Hill started hot, completing his first seven passes, he cooled off. The veteran finished 20-of-39 for 229 yards and an interception, which was claimed by Patrick Peterson on the final play of the game. Arians knew the players on the Arizona defense were aware of the league-wide love fest going on with the St. Louis defense.“We just blocked them,” Arians said. “We got after them. I think they’ve been reading their press clippings way too much. They didn’t get near our quarterback until that one time.”St. Louis does still have a streak of three consecutive games without allowing an offensive touchdown in tact, but they’ve also got another loss, their third-straight defeat at the hands of the Cardinals. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img

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