Week 2 Game Recap: St. Louis Rams 17, Arizona Cardinals 12
What you need to know
The Rams went into the desert and re-introduced themselves to their former MVP Kurt Warner early and often. The defense put pressure on the new starting QB for the Cardinals, sacking Warner five times, forcing three fumbles and grabbing an interception. Fittingly, the final play of the game was disrupted by a defensive blitz and sack followed by an ugly false start with :07 on the clock which ended the game with a ten second runoff of the clock.
RB Steven Jackson touched the ball 20 times, including 18 carries for 93 yards. Jackson helped the Rams to control the ball and manage the game, complimenting the passing attack and chewing up the second half after St. Louis was ahead by two scores.
QB Marc Bulger was consistent, but not dominating. Bulger completed just over 60% of his pass attempts, but for only 216 yards. Bulger finished 18 of 29, balancing his production in each half. He completed nine passes before and after halftime, and he produced at least 100 yards in each.
The Rams’ defense was the star of the afternoon, limiting Arizona to four field goals and keeping the Cardinals out of the end zone. Arizona was held to under 100 yards rushing and reduced to a one-dimensional passing team in the fourth quarter.
QB Kurt Warner faced off against his former Super Bowl team, leading his new team and his offense to the red zone often. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, that is as far as they could get. The Cardinals had 14 plays in the red zone and scored a mere three field goals. Arizona was unable to get a touchdown for the entire contest.
RB JJ Arrington was unable to play due to a lingering illness, so RB Marcel Shipp was given the starting assignment. The running game suffered and the Cardinals became a one-dimensional “pass first” team in the second half.
WRs Anquan Boldin (nine targets), Bryant Johnson (eight) and Larry Fitzgerald (six) led the receiving corps for Arizona, combining for 14 catches and over 200 yards. However, none of them could locate the end zone. Fourth WR Charles Lee added 40 more yards on six targets.
Arizona was hamstrung by numerous penalties that stalled drives and took away big plays. The Cardinals had 72 yards in penalties, including losing the final opportunity of the game. A false start call with under 10 seconds remaining in the game with the Cardinals in the red zone resulted in the end of the game.
K Neil Rackers was perfect, and led all scorers. Then again, he was the only scorer.
What you ought to know
|QB Marc Bulger, Pass: 18 - 29 - 216 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0|
Bulger statistically had a modest game, completing 62% of his passes (18 of 29) for 216 yards, but even those numbers were deceiving. Bulger completed only half of his first half attempts, going 9 of 18 for 116 yards. He was able to improve his completion percentage in the second half by going an additional 9 for 11, but only for 100 yards, as most of his passes were for possession and short yardage.
Bulger’s numbers would have improved if it weren’t for two penalties that negated a 35 yard screen pass to RB Steven Jackson and a seven yard pass to WR Kevin Curtis. It should also be noted that he was under pressure often, getting sacked four times and fumbling once.
Jackson was the anchor to the Rams’ offense in Week 2, touching the ball 20 times and gaining 109 total yards. Jackson ran for 93 yards and a score on 18 carries, and added two catches for 16 yards receiving on three targets. His third target, a 35-yard screen pass, would have made Jackson’s performance stand out even further if it had not been overturned by a penalty.
Faulk was used sparingly, carrying the ball three times for 15 yards and catching two passes for just eight yards.
Bruce was a bigger part of the game plan than he was last week. He was the most targeted receiver for the Rams, getting eight chances. Bruce caught five of them, ranging between three and 23 yards in distance. Four of the five were for 11 yards or more, and all of those were for first downs. Bruce was also targeted in the second quarter in the end zone, but the pass was batted away before he could haul it in. Bruce improved his impressive resume as he passed Don Maynard for 12th all-time yards receiving list on his 23-yard catch in the second quarter.
Holt scored his second touchdown of the season on the opening drive of the game, a 19-yard reception. All of Holt’s catches were for first downs and between 10 and 20 yards. Only one of his three other targets was a drop, as he was drilled on his second target in the first quarter and separated from the ball. His final target, the seventh, was thrown well short. Torry Holt continued his consecutive catch per game streak. He has caught at least one pass in the last 93 Rams games.
Curtis continues to contribute to the St. Louis offense as the #3 wide receiver. He received five targets, but could only catch two. Curtis caught his first opportunity for 19 yards and a first down in the opening quarter, then finished the game with a six yard catch in the fourth. He also lost a seven yard catch in the first quarter due to a penalty. Both of the other targets were defended well and he had little chance to make a play.
McDonald was thrown to twice – catching his second ball for nine yards in the third quarter. His other target was an overthrow in the first quarter and McDonald had no chance to make the catch.
Williams caught one pass for seven yards in the second quarter.
Manumaleuna caught one pass in the third quarter for 13 yards and a first down.
Wilkins was perfect for the game, making a 29 yard field goal and both extra point attempts. He has connected on his last 278 extra point attempts, the third longest such streak.
The Rams kept Arizona under 100 yards rushing. RB Marcel Shipp started in place of JJ Arrington, who was ill and unable to play. The longest run by the Cardinals came from WR Larry Fitzgerald on an end-around in the first quarter.
St. Louis allowed QB Kurt Warner to throw for over 300 yards, but they kept the offense outside of the end zone. The Arizona offensive line was porous at best, allowing the Rams five sacks and numerous opportunities, including three fumbles and an interception. The Cardinals tried the deep pass early and often, and were unsuccessful on every attempt.
|QB Kurt Warner, Pass: 29 - 42 - 327 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0|
Kurt Warner played valiantly despite being under constant duress from the Rams. Warner was sacked five times and pressured often, leading to three fumbles (one lost) and an interception. Despite the pressure from his former team, Warner completed 29 of 42 passes for 327 yards. However, Warner was unable to lead his newest team to any touchdowns.
|RB Marcel Shipp, Rush: 12 - 54 - 0, Rec: 5 - 39 - 0 (6 targets)|
Shipp was the starter for Arizona this week, as JJ Arrington was inactive due to a lingering illness. Shipp quietly filled the role of starting RB fairly well, gaining nearly 100 all-purpose yards on 17 touches. Shipp ran for 54 yards on 12 carries, and added five catches on six targets for another 39 yards receiving. Shipp also lost two carries for a total of 15 yards and another catch for eight yards due to penalty.
Ayanbadejo was used as the third-down and passing-down feature back for Arizona. He finished with three catches for 16 yards. All of his targets before the fourth quarter came on third down, with his final target coming on second and 17 in the final stanza. Ayanbadejo also lost an eight yard catch and run due to penalty. Ayanbadejo showed bursts of speed every time he had the ball, showing strong signs of increased work in the Cardinal offense.
Jackson touched the ball just once, rushing for three yards on the third quarter. He was also thrown to in the second quarter, but the ball was thrown short and uncatchable.
JJ Arrington did not play on Sunday due to a lingering illness. He was deactivated before kickoff.
Boldin was targeted the most by QB Kurt Warner, getting nine targets. Boldin caught all but one of the chances, gaining 119 yards and picking up six first downs. The only ball that he did not catch was not really a legitimate opportunity – the ball was tipped by the line, well before Boldin could make a play on it. Boldin was active in every quarter, getting two targets or more in every period. Six of his eight catches were for ten yards or more, with his two longest going for 27 yards each in the first and last quarters.
Fitzgerald followed up his Week 1 100-yard performance with a less productive afternoon. He caught four of his six targets, gaining 70 yards. He had a very quiet first half, catching just one ball for 22 yards in the second quarter. His only other touch before halftime came on an end-around for 15 yards in the first quarter. Fitzgerald picked up the pace in the second half, catching three passes for 48 yards, all of which went for first downs. He also lost a nine yard catch in the fourth quarter as it was overturned due to a penalty. Fitzgerald added ten yards on a rush, as he caught a ball in the flat that was actually a backwards pass in the third quarter.
Lee caught four passes for a total of 40 yards for the Cardinals. Lee received most of the attention (five targets) in the fourth quarter as Arizona attempted to get back in the game. Both of his targets that fell incomplete were in the end zone, but only one was catchable.
Johnson is the deep threat for Arizona, and QB Kurt Warner looked to him often to try and stretch the field. Johnson was targeted in every quarter, but caught just one ball before the fourth quarter. Johnson and Warner could not connect on the deep ball, but Johnson was in a position where if the ball had been thrown on the money he would have scored two or three touchdowns. His first target was in the end zone, and the third was an interception that would have been a touchdown if more air was put under the ball. Johnson had three more long opportunities in the third quarter but came away empty handed. Johnson finished with two short catches of 11 and four yards in the fourth quarter.
Bergen was targeted once in the first quarter, making the catch for five yards. He also was thrown towards twice in the third quarter, receiving the only catchable ball for ten yards.
Johnson caught one pass for 13 yards in the fourth quarter. Johnson, formerly of Oakland, was just signed by the Cardinals this week.
Rackers was perfect on the afternoon, scoring four field goals (29, 26, 48 and 35 yards). Rackers was responsible for all of the points for Arizona.
The Cardinals were unable to limit the Rams from moving the ball on the ground. St. Louis’ leading rusher, RB Steven Jackson, averaged over five yards per carry by rushing for 93 yards on 18 carries.
Arizona kept QB Marc Bulger to 216 yards and just one score on the opening drive of the game. Recording four sacks and an interception, the Cardinal defense also kept the Rams from hitting the big play. The Rams were unable to connect on any pass play for more than 23 yards, and both WR Isaac Bruce and WR Torry Holt were limited to 64 and 70 yards, respectively.