Week 11 Game Recap: Arizona Cardinals 38, St. Louis Rams 28
What you need to know
The Cardinals earned their third win of the season by playing confident offensively, and matching the Rams score for score until pulling away late in the game.
QB Kurt Warner led Arizona against his former team with 285 yards through the air, and three passing scores. He looked right at home in his former stomping grounds, and showed flashes of the MVP years he had in St. Louis. Warner completed passes to seven different receivers, with almost no help from his running game, and showed heís still able of putting up respectable fantasy numbers.
J.J. Arrington led the Cardinals in rushing, with 45 yards on 11 carries, and had a late score that ended any chance the Rams had of coming back. Arrington may be slowly working his way back into a starting position, as starter Marcel Shipp only carried eight times for the game for 30 yards.
Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald each put up nice numbers. Boldin hauled in eight catches for 105 yards and a touchdown, and Fitzgerald caught nine balls for 104 yards and a score. They lit up the Ramsí depleted defensive backfield and showed how dangerous they can be.
Defensive back Eric Green had 15 tackles for the Cardinalsí defense, and most of them came after he was beat in coverage. Safety Adrian Wilson had another strong outing, with eight tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery.
St. Louis put up good numbers offensively, but could not get their running game going, or stop the Cardinalsí passing game.
QB Marc Bulger looked sharp early, throwing for 224 yards on 19 of 24 passing, including scores to both Holt and Bruce. Unfortunately for Ram fans, and Bulger owners alike, he seemed to re-aggravate the shoulder injury he was coming off of, and also suffered a mild concussion when he was sacked by Adrian Wilson in the third quarter. Jamie Martin was sharp in relief, throwing for 161 yards and a score on 14 of 19 passing.
Torry Holt led the way for the St. Louis receivers, with 11 catches for 129 yards and a score, and was targeted 17 times. Holt owners should not only be pleased with the stat line, but the fact that he showed no effects of his previous injury, and looked like heís back to 100%.
DB Mike Furrey led the way with six tackles for the Ramsí defense, which as a whole got lit up by the Cardinalsí passing attack.
What you ought to know
|QB Kurt Warner, Pass: 27 - 39 - 285 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0|
Warner was stellar all day, spreading the ball around and connecting with his talented wideouts to the tune of 285 yards and three scores through the air. He was terrific in leading his club and helping them keep up with the explosive Rams offense, leading drives that answered St. Louis scores on four occasions. Warner did lose a first half fumble that resulted in a Ramsí field goal.
J.J. Arrington did his part to inject some life into the Cardinalsí rushing attack, with 45 yards on the ground on 11 carries, including a seven yard score late in the fourth quarter to help seal the deal for Arizona. He caught two of the three balls thrown to him, both for first downs. It should also be noted he had 11 rushes for the game, with Shipp getting only eight carries.
|RB Marcel Shipp, Rush: 8 - 30 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (2 targets)|
Shipp started the game for Arizona, and rushed for 30 yards on eight carries. Arrington had three more carries than Shipp for the game, but this still seems like a committee rushing attack.
Ayanbadejo had three rushes for six yards, and was used primarily in short yardage situations, converting two of his rushes into first downs.
Jackson was not a factor with one rush for three yards.
Fitzgerald had a productive day, with nine catches for 104 yards. One of his catches, a seven yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, answered a St. Louis field goal and increased the Cardinal lead to 11.
Boldin finished with eight receptions for 105 yards, including a 13 yard touchdown reception and a two point conversion reception. He was targeted 12 times for the game, and the St. Louis defensive backfield just could not contain Boldin or Fitzgerald.
McCoy caught two balls for ten yards and was targeted five times for the game.
Bergen caught four of the five balls thrown his way for 35 yards; including a nine yard score in the fourth quarter that helped regain the lead for Arizona.
Edwards caught one pass for seven yards that resulted in a first down and was targeted two times for the game.
Rackers remained perfect on the season, hitting all three of his extra point attempts, and connecting on field goals from distances of 32, 33 and 51 yards.
Arizona seemed to be content with letting the passing attack of St. Louis get whatever they wanted, as long as they kept RB Steven Jackson under wraps. Under interim head coach Joe Vitt, the Ramsí offense seemed to be more balanced and have a greater emphasis on the running attack. The Cardinals shut that phase of the offense down, and forced the Ramsí offense to be one dimensional. As a result, Jackson got only 12 carries and was not able to do anything with them, finishing with only six yards.
The Cardinals defensive unit got torched by the St. Louis passing attack. They gave up a total of 385 yards and three scores through the air between the two Ramsí quarterbacks, and could not keep the talented trio of Holt, Bruce and Curtis from gaining separation whenever they wanted to. Part of the reason seemed to be their emphasis of sending a safety to put extra pressure on passing downs and leaving their DBs in single coverage. With them earning the win, itís hard to argue that their defensive game plan did not work. S Adrian Wilson did record three sacks and two of the fumbles they forced came on passing situations.
Bulger was having a nice day until he was sacked by Cardinalsí safety Adrian Wilson in the third quarter, and was forced to leave the game. It looked like he aggravated the shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for the last few weeks, as well as a mild concussion, so Bulger owners will want to monitor this throughout the week. Before the injury, the Rams quarterback threw for 224 yards on 19 of 24 passing and two touchdowns. His first score was a 22 yard strike to Torry Holt, and on the second he hit Isaac Bruce from 46 yards out for the score.
Martin came out of the pen for the injured Bulger and played pretty well, completing 14 of 19 for 161 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown pass came with under a minute left in the game, when he hit Kevin Curtis for a 26 yard score. Following the scoring strike, he connected with RB Arlen Harris for a two point conversion. The St. Louis backup quarterback did lose a fumble when he was sacked late in the fourth quarter, a turnover that led to a Cardinalsí touchdown.
Jackson was never able to get going, as the Cardinalsí defense completely shut him down. He finished with only six yards rushing on 12 carries and had three catches for 16 yards in the passing game. Jackson also lost a fumble on a third and short play that led to an Arizona field goal.
Faulk was not a factor in the game as he caught just one ball for three yards and did not have a rushing attempt.
Holt had a monster game, hauling in 11 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. He seemed to be open on every play, and he did whatever he wanted to do against the Arizona defensive backs. His touchdown was a 22 yard catch from Bulger early in the second quarter. Holt was clearly a favorite target for the St. Louis quarterbacks with 17 targets. He definitely looked completely healed for the first time since his injury.
Curtis had 13 balls thrown his way, and came through with 9 catches for 98 yards and a late touchdown from 26 yards out. Until the late scoring strike, Curtis did most of his damage on short and medium pass routes.
Bruce caught all four balls thrown his way for 83 yards and a 46 yard touchdown. While it was tough to see if he is completely healed, he definitely did enough to show Bruce owners heís ready to be a factor from here on out in the fantasy world.
McDonald had three receptions for 37 yards, and all three of his receptions resulted in first downs.
Looker caught one pass for ten yards on the only ball thrown to him.
Hedgecock had one catch for nine yards on the only ball thrown his way.
Wilkins connected on field goals from 47 and 32 yards out, and hit both of his extra point attempts.
The St. Louis rush defense gave up 94 yards on 26 carries for a 3.6 average. The good news is, those numbers arenít all that bad. The bad news is they played the Arizona Cardinals, who have virtually no running game to speak of. They did give up a rushing score late in the game, but for the most part, when Arizona did choose to run the ball, the Rams did a nice job of containing them.
The Ramsí pass defense could not stop the duo of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, as they torched the St. Louis defensive backfield for 17 receptions for 209 yards and two scores through the air. Former St. Louis quarterback Kurt Warner threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns with almost no help from a mediocre running game. The Ramsí defensive backfield has been hurt by injuries, and their replacements just are not getting it done.