Safety sacked Warner with game on the line

News-Democrat

TEMPE, Ariz. - It was fitting that St. Louis Rams strong safety Adam Archuleta got a game-saving sack in his final game at Sun Devil Stadium.

Archuleta sacked Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner for a 5-yard loss to help preserve the Rams' 17-12 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday.

Archuleta played all of his home games during his four years at Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium. Next season, the Cardinals will play all of their home games at a new stadium under construction in Glendale, Ariz.

"Knowing that this is the last time that I was going to get an opportunity to play in this stadium, it's kind of good to go out like that," Archuleta said.

Warner and the Cardinals moved 81 yards in only one minute, 21 seconds to get into position for a game-winning touchdown.

On first-and-goal at the St. Louis 5, Archuleta came on a blitz. He knifed past fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo, who was attempting to block him, and tackled Warner.

Warner and the Cardinals tried to run another play, but left tackle Leonard Davis was called for a false start, resulting in a 10-second runoff on the clock and an immediate end to the game.

"I'm sure (Rams defensive coordinator Larry Marmie) realized that we needed to get aggressive and make something happen," Archuleta said. "We were kind of sitting back and playing kind of soft, because we knew they needed a touchdown. I think that was a great play-call. That's what we really needed at that time."

Rams coach Mike Martz said Marmie calling for a blitz showed guts in that situation.

"You can't be scared," Martz said. "You have to make those calls and recognize that your guys are going to make a play. You put them in a position to make a play, and that's what he did. It was a heck of a call."

Archuleta now has 13 1/2 sacks in his career. However, he's still looking for his first interception since the 2003 season as he had a deflected pass elude him in the first half.

"I need those interceptions," Archuleta said. "I know I can make sacks, but I just try to get my hands on the ball."

Beating the heat

The temperature at kickoff was 94 degrees, but a thermometer on the field at Sun Devil Stadium showed 112 degrees.

Rams players, wearing special cooling shoulder pads and having a machine spray mist on them on the sidelines, managed to handle the heat with few problems.

"I forget what it was like to play in this heat," Archuleta said. "At first, I might start out a little sluggish, but as the game went on, I think the conditioning really kicks in."

Quick hits

The Rams' inactives included their top three picks in the 2005 NFL draft -- offensive tackle Alex Barron, cornerback Ron Bartell and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe.

Also inactive were running back Aveion Cason, cornerback Terry Fair, guard Ryan Tucker, defensive tackle Brian Howard and emergency quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Rookie punter Reggie Hodges bounced back from his shaky NFL debut to average 42.9 yards per punt on his seven punts against the Cardinals.

Rams running back Marshall Faulk became the 12th player in NFL history to rush for 12,000 or more yards in his career with a 3-yard gain in the second quarter.

Rams cornerbacks Travis Fisher (elbow) and DeJuan Groce (hamstring) both finished the game despite suffering injuries that forced them to sideline in the first half.

Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce had five catches for 64 yards, moving him past Don Maynard and into 12th place on the NFL's all-time list for receiving yards. Bruce now has 11,878 receiving yards, while Maynard had 11,834 receiving yards in his Hall of Fame career.