ST. LOUIS — In its first nationally televised home game since December 2007, St. Louis showed it might just be ready for prime time.
Using a ferocious pass rush and just enough offense, the Rams toppled previously unbeaten Arizona 17-3 Thursday night at noisy Edward Jones Dome.
It was the second NFC West home win in five days for St. Louis, which was coming off a 19-13 triumph Sunday over Seattle. It’s the first time since November of 2006, a span of 2,161 days, that the Rams have owned a winning record.
St. Louis (3-2) sacked Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb nine times, with Robert Quinn notching three and also drawing multiple holding penalties. Arizona (4-1) couldn’t run the ball (17 attempts, 45 yards), enabling the Rams to tee off on Kolb.
Offensively, St. Louis struggled as much as the Cardinals. Quarterback Sam Bradford threw 12 straight incompletions at one point and was just 7-of-21 for 141 yards, but did connect on a game-breaking, 51-yard scoring strike to Chris Givens with 11:49 left in the game.
The Rams sealed the verdict with a goal-line stand, stopping Arizona on a fourth-and-goal play from the 6 when Larry Fitzgerald caught a slant pass and was dropped at the 3 by rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
St. Louis took a 7-0 lead 2:21 into the game when Bradford, flushed to his left, calmly hit Lance Kendricks with a seven-yard touchdown pass in the front left corner of the end zone.
The score was set up when Danny Amendola beat Patrick Peterson deep down the left side for a 44-yard catch despite pass interference, setting the Rams up at the 11-yard line.
The Cardinals responded with a 17-play, 63-yard drive that ate up 9 minutes and 15 seconds. But they had to settle for Jay Feely’s 35-yard field goal with 3:24 left in the first quarter.
Greg Zuerlein drilled a 53-yard field goal with 10:45 remaining in the first half, his 13th straight field goal without a miss, to give St. Louis a 10-3 advantage it carried to intermission.
Notes: Amendola left the game with a right shoulder injury midway through the second quarter. Amendola caught 31 passes in the Rams’ first four games . . . Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith was among the Rams’ inactive players for a second straight game, as was starting left tackle Rodger Saffold, who missed his third straight contest with multiple injuries. Among the Cardinals’ inactives were tight end Todd Heap and backup quarterback John Skelton … CBSSports.com reported Thursday that St. Louis running back Steven Jackson will be allowed to void the final year of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent following this season. Jackson is the franchise’s all-time rushing leader but will turn 30 years old by next year … Arizona’s overtime win last week over Miami made it the ninth franchise in NFL history with 500 wins.