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Thread: No glory, only gloom for Rams
No glory, only gloom for Rams
With Kurt Warner at the helm, Cardinals put up 31 straight points to bury his old team
BY STEVE KORTE - News-Democrat
ST. LOUIS -- On a day that former coach Dick Vermeil was honored, former quarterback Kurt Warner reminded everyone at the Edward Jones Dome how the St. Louis Rams' glory days are a thing of the past.
Warner threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns as the Arizona Cardinals took command of the NFC West with a 34-13 win over the Rams on Sunday.
The Cardinals rolled up 510 yards of offense against the Rams, who managed only 210 yards of offense as their running game never got in gear because of injuries.
"We had no running game whatsoever, and if you're going to throw the ball all day, you're going to get some turnovers," Rams coach Jim Haslett said.
That was Haslett's way of saying that when quarterback Marc Bulger is your leading rusher, you're in trouble.
Bulger committed three turnovers -- two interceptions and a fumble -- that led to 10 points for the Cardinals.
"That just killed us," Haslett said of the turnovers. "They're averaging 28 points a game, and then you turn around and have three turnovers, two of them that led to points."
Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson played despite a thigh injury, but he clearly wasn't himself as he had only seven carries for 17 yards.
Antonio Pittman suffered a hamstring injury on the first play of the game. He had 10 carries for 12 yards.
That left Bulger with three carries for 32 yards as the team's top rusher.
By contrast, the Cardinals rushed for 177 yards, including 22 carries for 109 yards and one touchdown from rookie running back Tim Hightower.
Hightower was the Cardinals' first 100-yard rusher since Edgeriin James ran for 102 yards on Dec. 30, 2007 against the Rams.
The Rams hit the halfway point of the season with a 2-6 record, three games behind the Cardinals (5-3) in the NFC West.
Asked how the Rams can keep their heads up in the second half of the season, Haslett said, "They're professionals. They get paid. They're going to come out and play hard every game, and they're going to practice that way. If they don't, if someone doesn't do it, we'll get someone else to do it."
It was vintage Warner as the man who led the Rams to a pair of Super Bowl appearances completed 23 of 34 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 120.0 for the game.
"It is a little bit like that," Warner said of comparing the Cardinals' current offense to the Rams' Greatest Show on Turf. "We have a long way to go to get where we were with the Rams in those three seasons (1999-2001) where we were flying high, but there are times where there are glimpses of what we did then.
"All I have been trying to do since I left here was recapture some of the specialness that we had."
Bulger completed 16 of 33 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 60.9 for the game.
Haslett said the Rams' coaching staff considered having backup Trent Green relieve Bulger in the second half.
"We talked about it," Haslett said. "We felt that we should just keep going the way we were going. We wanted to see if we could score a touchdown, which we did."
Haslett was referring to a 3-yard touchdown pass from Bulger to wide receiver Torry Holt early in the fourth quarter.
The Rams' other touchdown came on an 80-yard pass from Bulger to first-year wide receiver Derek Stanley in the first quarter.
Factor out Stanley's catch and the Rams averaged only 2.8 yards per play. The Cardinals averaged 7.5 yards per play.
"You have to be able to move the ball," Haslett said. "You can't give the offense that they have the ball that many times without thinking they're going to score points."
The Rams led 7-0 in the early going after their defense made a goal-line stand on the Cardinals' opening drive.
The Cardinals had first-and-goal at the St. Louis 2.
Tim Hightower gained a yard on first down, was stopped for no gain by James Hall on second down and then ran for what was initially ruled a touchdown on third down.
Haslett challenged the ruling, and Hightower was ruled as down at half-yard line on instant relay.
On fourth down, Warner tried to score on a quarterback sneak.
Warner's was stacked up at the line of scrimmage, and before he could make a second effort, Eric Moore grabbed him around the waist and spun him to the ground.
The Rams got on the scoreboard later in the first quarter when Bulger connected with Stanley on the 80-yard bomb.
Stanley reached behind defender Eric Green and plucked the ball with his left hand, staggered briefly before regaining his balance as he raced down the sideline for a touchdown.
It was Stanley's first NFL catch.
The Cardinals' defense scored their team's first touchdown when safety Antrel Rolle picked off a Bulger pass intended for Donnie Avery and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
It was Rolle's fourth interception return for a touchdown, ranking him third in Cardinals history behind Aeneas Williams' six career interceptions returns for touchdowns and Larry Wilson's five.
Bulger's second turnover in less than three minutes enabled the Cardinals to take a 10-7 lead.
Adrian Wilson sacked Bulger, causing a fumble that was recovered by Arizona's Bertrand Berry at the St. Louis 23.
Neil Rackers kicked a 36-yard field goal.
The Cardinals added two touchdowns in the final 1:53 of the first half to increase their lead to 24-7.
Hightower scored on a 30-yard run with 1:53 to go, and Warner threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Jerheme Urban with 42 seconds remaining.
Rams defensive back Jonathan Wade had the ball in his hands, but lost control of it as he fell. The ball went right to Urban, who ran down the sideline for the touchdown.
The Cardinals completed their 31-0 scoring run when Warner threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin with 3:16 left in the third quarter.
"They kicked our butts," Bulger said. "We had an early lead, and in the second quarter we kind of fell apart.
"They are a good football team and you don't want to take anything away from them. They took advantage of our mistakes."
Re: No glory, only gloom for Rams
Only GLOOM. Gloom is definitely one sure way to describe our state. That and the frustration that Holt is feeling, and has been for weeks; it has spilled over and deep into the hearts of the Rams fans.
As I mentioned yesterday in the Chat Room, it is hard to believe we were actually leading at one point in this game! I'm still slowly shaking my head...
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