Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams: Winners and Losers for the Rams
The NFC West is suddenly one of the stronger divisions in the NFL. Of course, the San Francisco 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL. Seattle has big wins over Dallas and Green Bay. The Arizona Cardinals were 4-0 as one of the last undefeated teams in the NFL.
Then there is the St. Louis Rams, the ugly duckling of the group.
As a Rams fan, I feel like this team isn't getting the respect they deserve. This is a football team that entered Thursday night's contest with a 2-2 record. The Rams lost their season opener, on the road, when the Detroit Lions scored with 10 seconds left in the game.
The Rams easily could have won that game.
The Rams lost their second game, on the road, when they couldn't muster enough offense against the Chicago Bears. Hey, get in line, because the Bears D has been impregnable all season. The Rams entered the fourth quarter of that game down 10-6. The Bears pulled away, but the final score (23-6) did not reflect how close the game actually was.
So, with the Rams pulling off the big upset over the undefeated Cardinals, maybe now the Rams will start to get a little respect.
Read along as I break down this week's winners and losers from the Rams' big win.
Winner: Robert Quinn
Robert Quinn was a beast in this game. Kevin Kolb will probably see Robert Quinn in his nightmares for the next week. He was that dominant.
Quinn had two sacks, countless pressures, and even batted down a pass for good measure.
When Quinn gets his motor running opposite Chris Long, with the way the Rams secondary is playing, the Rams D becomes one of the best in the NFL.
Loser: Danny Amendola
It looks like Amendola might have suffered another season-ending injury. Of course, I'm not a doctor, and I'm not on the field. Early reports had Amendola injuring his shoulder, which now appears to be a broken collar bone.
Amendola's reaction indicates that the injury was indeed serious, meaning the Rams could lose their best offensive weapon.
Winner: The Rams D
The Rams D was dominant, completely shutting the Arizona Cardinals down for much of the second and third quarters. The Rams were able to overwhelm the Cardinals O-line with a four-man rush for most of the game.
The Rams secondary did a phenomenal job on Larry Fitzgerald, one of the best receivers in the NFL. The Cardinals couldn't get anything going in the second half, and it's a good thing, because the Rams offense was equally putrid.
The St. Louis defense is carrying this football team right now.
Loser: Sam Bradford
First of all, he lost Amendola, his best receiver. Second, he only completed seven passes in the game. Bradford was awful, plain and simple. The Rams had chances to absolutely blow the Cardinals out of the Edward Jones Dome, but Bradford could not capitalize.
Amendola going down put a spotlight on how much Bradford likes to target No. 16. Without his security blanket, Bradford looked lost, completing 1-of-13 passes over one stretch of the game.
At some point, Bradford has to start making the receivers around him better. So far, I have only seen him do that once (Washington) this season.
Bradford's final stat line: 7-of-21, 141 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT...Yuck. That's just awful.
Winner: Special Teams
Johnny Hekker was outstanding, averaging over 60 yards per punt in the first half. I'm not sure why Jeff Fisher opted to kick to Patrick Peterson with 3:00 left in the game, but Hekker did a good job in backing up Peterson all night long.
Greg Zuerlein continues to be the Rams' not-so-secret weapon. Zuerlein is in range from anywhere inside the 314 area code, and it's a good thing the way Bradford and the Rams offense usually dies somewhere short of the red zone.