The St. Louis Rams needed some late heroics from their kicker–and they got it. Greg Zuerlein nailed a 48-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining as the Rams slipped past the Arizona Cardinals, 27-24, at the Edward Jones Dome.
The Cards struck first as Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald with a four yard strike to put them ahead 7-0 early in the 2nd. After both teams traded field goals, the Rams tied it up at 10-10 with a Sam Bradford strike to Jared Cook just before halftime.
Things didn’t start out well for Arizona in the 2nd half, as St. Louis’s Trumaine Johnson picked off Palmer and returned it to the Cardinals 4, setting up a short Zuerlein field goal to put the Rams in front. But on the Rams’ next offensive possession deep in their own end, big (and we mean really big) Dan Williams grabbed a tipped Bradford pass that was tipped at the goal line and rumbled in for the score to make it 17-13, followed by a Fitzgerald TD grab, his second of the day, with just under two to play in the frame to make it 24-13.
But the Rams battled back. Early in the 4th, Bradford marched the Rams down the field on an eight-play, 80 yard drive, capped by a second TD pass to Cook and a two-point conversion to make it 24-21; a Zuerlein field goal less than four minutes later tied it up. The defenses held for both teams until Bradford and the Rams went on an eight-play, 50 yard drive, ending with a Zuerlein go-ahead field goal to make it 27-24 with just 40 seconds remaining. But with no time outs remaining on the ensuing drive, the Cards came well short of getting it into field goal range as time expired before any threat of a game-tying score.
Bradford was 27-38 for 299 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing a single pick; Palmer went 26-47 for 327 yards, two touchdowns and an INT of his own, but was sacked four times (three times by Robert Quinn). Cook finished with seven grabs and 141 yards to go along with his two scores in his first game in a Rams uniform. Neither team was able to get it going on the ground, as the Cardinals held an 86-67 margin in that department.
The Cardinals host the Lions next week at University of Phoenix Stadium; the Rams travel to the Georgia Dome to take on the Falcons.