Cards Lose Ugly Game In Ugly Way

It was a brutal game to watch. The high flying, death defying, shootout that many had predicted never happened. Instead it was a slog, the kind of game that turned on a mistake. In this case though, it was a series of mistakes, culminating in one HUGE mistake, that sealed the fate of the now 1-2 Cardinals.

In an ugly game that showcased two of the leagues best passing quarterbacks, in recent history, it was the inability to get a handle on the ball that made the difference. Both teams still had a chance to win in the final two minutes and when Marc Bulger's fumble at the St. Louis 30 with 1:58 to play was recovered by Arizona's Antonio Smith, it appeared that a Cardinal victory was in the bag, provided All-Pro place-kicker Neil Rackers could hit a chip shot to seal the win.

Rackers would never get the chance. Kurt Warner botched the transfer between him and the center with 1:46 to play at the Rams 18, Will Witherspoon recovered and all the Rams needed to do was run the clock out to secure the 16-14 win.

Warner spent the entire day giving the ball, and the game for all matters, to the Rams. Warner threw 3 interceptions on the day, including one in the end zone from the 6-yard line that was thrown directly to Rams defender Dexter Coakley, and along with his late game fumble sent Arizona to the bottom of the NFC west with San Francisco at 1-2.

The game was not without its fair share of excitement and great plays however, the expected battle between passing attacks was waged, and both teams entertained.

Anquan Boldin had 10 receptions for 108 yards while delivering hits to would be tacklers throughout the, game and breaking away for key first downs, including a 34-yard reception on a slant route to counter the blitzing Rams defense.

Torry Holt led the Rams with 8 receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown and made it clear that no defensive back the Cardinals now have can contain him. Especially not 3rd year DB Matt Ware, who was attacked all day and gave up Holts touchdown with 3:20 left in the 2nd quarter.

Marc Bulger looked shaky from the onset of the game but appeared to settle down long enough in the 2nd, when Rams head coach Scott Linehan threw in a few plays from the Rams old playbook, that allowed Holt and Bulger to hook-up for big yards. Accompanied by a solid rushing attack, Bulger was able to lead the Rams 84-yards down the field in the 2nd quarter after the first of Warner's three interceptions gave the Rams the ball on their own 6-yard line.

            Steven Jackson had only 62 yards on 24 carries for the day but they were punishing yards that wore down the Cardinals defense and kept drives alive for the Rams.

            Edgerrin James has yet to break the 100 yard mark this season and was held to 94-yards on 24 carries, his best output yet this year, but still not enough to give the Cardinals any sense of a balanced offense.

            Warner had interceptions on successive passes in the 2nd quarter that gave the Rams the lead before half time. Arizona forced the Rams to punt on their opening drive and answered with a 45-yard drive that culminated in a 12-yard TD reception to Larry Fitzgerald giving the Cardinals had a 7-0 lead.

            Jeff Wilkins field goal with 11:28 left in the half put the Rams on the board and put the ball back in the hands of the Cardinals offense with a chance to jump out to an 11-point half time lead. However, Warner was intercepted on an ill-advised pass over the middle that was tipped by Pisa Tinoisamoa, and caught by Oshiomogho Atogwe and the Rams quickly went to work on DB Matt Ware. A Holt touchdown against Ware gave the Rams the lead with 3:20 left in the half. After the ensuing kickoff Warner was again picked off and the Rams drove the ball down the field for a Wilkins field goal sending the game into half time at 13-7 in favor of the Rams. Wilkins ended the scoring for the day in the third when he kicked a 21-yard field goal to give the Rams their final score and secure their 16-7 victory.


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