With a dominating defensive performance, the St. Louis Rams won a physical game Thursday night at the Edward Jones Dome over Arizona, 17-3.
The Rams (3-2) have more wins five weeks into the season than they did all of last year.
“Thursday nights are challenges. They’re challenges for both teams, especially difficult to travel, and then on top of that to play a physical game like both teams did tonight, that was really impressive efforts by both teams,” said Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher. “I’m happy for our guys. We put the short-week concept behind us and we talked about trying to find a way to win the game and enjoy the long week ahead. We’re going to need that because we’ve got a few guys banged up.”
One of those banged-up guys is wide receiver Danny Amendola, who leads the Rams with 32 receptions. He suffered a shoulder injury while diving for a pass. No official word on the injury was given following the game, but there was talk about a possible broken collarbone.
“Losing Danny is big. Everyone knows that he’s a big part of our offense. A lot of what we do runs through him,” said Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. “From what I’ve heard, they don’t know anything for sure. Hopefully, the results of everything come back good tomorrow and he’s back with us.”
The story of the game was the Rams’ defense, who sacked Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb nine times. The last time the Rams had nine sacks in a game was at Buffalo in September of 1998.
“It just feels so good to be on a defense that can help this team win. In the past, I’ve even been embarrassed at how we’ve played defense, and feeling helpless and all those things,” said Rams defensive end Chris Long. “Every day we step on the field now I feel like we have an opportunity to win the game on defense.”
Defensive end Robert Quinn had three sacks, giving him six on the season.
“We just went out there and played hard. It was a short week for us. I guess that didn’t matter. We just really tried to stay focused,” Quinn said. “Coaches put a great game plan together. We just went out there and executed.”
It was the first loss of the season for the Cardinals, who dropped to 4-1.
The Rams’ offense still had its struggles, especially following Amendola’s shoulder injury.
Bradford completed just seven passes, but two of them went for touchdowns, including a 51-yard pass to rookie Chris Givens.
“It feels good. It’s definitely a humbling experience because of everything I’ve been through,” Givens said. “We’re just going to continue to keep it rolling.”
Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein converted a 53-yard field goal. He now has 13 consecutive field goals made, four going for 50-plus yards.
Zuerlein, who made 21 straight field goals in college at Missouri Western, is the sixth kicker in NFL history to make his first four career field goals of 50-plus yards.
St. Louis now has a winning record for the first time since November of 2006.
“Within four days, we’ve beaten two divisional teams that are very good,” said Rams running back Steven Jackson. “We’re going to have a very tough division and for us to defend our home turf is huge. This team is fighting and it feels good.”
The Rams are 2-0 in NFC West games and have won their first three home games of the season for the first time since 2003.
“It’s awesome. It feels good. A shout out to the fans tonight. I thought they were awesome,” Bradford said. “When our defense was on the field, they were loud. It’s probably the loudest that I’ve heard the Dome. Hopefully, that continues to get better. The more we win, hopefully, the more reasons they have to come out and support us.”
The Rams return to action Sunday, Oct. 14, at Miami at noon.
“Our statement is just that we want to continue to progress as a team,” Long said. “We won two games here in a row. A lot of teams have done that before, so we’re going to act like we’ve been there even though we might not have been there before. We’re just going to continue to grind and take it one week at a time.”