Cardinals vs. Rams: What Arizona Learned from 23-20 Win
The Arizona Cardinals traveled to St. Louis to seek out a seventh consecutive win against the Rams at Edward Jones Stadium. With the series between the two franchises knotted up at 32-32-2, the Cardinals rode out a victory in what is becoming typical fashion: Patrick Peterson returning punts for touchdowns.
The Cardinals won their fourth game of the season after beating the Rams, 23-20.
Along with Peterson's punt return, there were aspects of the Cardinals that we learned about, some good, some bad.
Follow along to see what the Cardinals have taught us about themselves this week.
The Offense Flows Through the Well
Beanie’s back! Arizona running back Beanie Wells topped 200 yards against the Rams and is clearly the centerpiece of the Cardinals offense. Wells rushed 27 times for 228 yards and a touchdown. He was also tripped up by a shoestring tackle in the fourth quarter on his way to a second score.
While this year may be lost, look for Wells to dominate in 2012, just as he did the Rams defense.
John Skelton Is Not Ready to Lead an NFL Team
Arizona quarterback John Skelton continued where he left off in San Francisco, throwing a first-quarter pick. Several of his throws were high and just plain inaccurate all game long.
He has the stature for an NFL quarterback, just not the experience yet.
Hopefully, with more experience, he will improve his play. As it stands now, Skelton should be sitting. His stat line of 12-of-23 for 114 yards and two picks is actually pretty good compared to how he looked against the Rams.
The Cardinals Secondary Still Leaky
The Arizona Cardinals secondary is still leaky. While Patrick Peterson is amazing on punt returns, he play on defense leaves a lot to be desired.
The rest of the Cardinals secondary plays soft as well. They allowed Sam Bradford to move the ball well and provided little resistance. The Rams beat themselves by not attacking the Cardinals secondary more often. Bradford had 31 attempts against arguably the league's worst secondary.
Arizona's Front Seven Continues to Dominate
The Arizona Cardinals front seven is still dominant. Throughout the game, the Cardinals put pressure on quarterback Sam Bradford. Rookie linebacker Sam Acho forced a first-quarter fumble on a sack that was a preview for the rest of the game. Acho also showed great awareness on a fumble recovery that led to a Beanie Wells touchdown in the third quarter.
The young linebackers and stiff defensive line proved to be a brick wall that Steven Jackson couldn't bust through. Jackson managed a meager 64 yards on 17 carries.
This front seven is one of the best in the league.
Patrick Peterson Dazzles with Another Punt Return for Touchdown
Patrick Peterson did it again. He snagged a punt out of the air and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown.
I'm not sure why any punter would kick it to him, but Donnie Jones of the Rams did just that. A few second later, Peterson did what he does with punts and returned it for a touchdown.
This will be a trend not only for this season, but for the rest of Peterson's NFL career.
Pride Resides in the Cardinals
The Cardinals started the season 1-6 and suffered several last-minute losses. Those losses would have taken the wind out of the average team's sail. Not the Cardinals.
Every week, the Cardinals play with a great deal of pride. Every. Single. Play.
It's without question that they don't make all of the throws, or block quite the way they should. But there's no questioning the determination and fight that resides inside each Cardinal player.
It's great to watch this team fight for a victory, no matter how insignificant it may seem to the rest of us.
The Cardinals Don't Need Larry Fitzgerald to Win
The Arizona Cardinals played well enough to secure a win against the St. Louis Rams. And they did it with minimum help from wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald tallied three catches for 55 yards. One of those catches went for 41 yards.
The Rams clearly wanted to shut Fitzgerald down, and that's what they did. Of course, they had a lot of help from quarterback John Skelton, but that's neither here nor there.
With running back Beanie Wells at full health, the Cardinals no longer have to rely on their inept quarterback play. That translates into Fitzgerald not being as much of a factor as he should be.
Nevertheless, the Cards proved that they can still win even if Fitzgerald is locked down—either by the defense or quarterback.