Cards Leave Nest on Even Ground

The Cardinals swept the St. Louis Rams and ended on even ground. The 48-19 victory was bittersweet, as Arizona is heading in the right direction but will have to wait for next season to get there.

The Cardinals scored a season-high 48 points, but it was their defense that secured the victory. Kicker Jeff Wilkins was the only Rams player to score in the first half. By the time Rams TE Joe Klopfenstein found the end zone in the third quarter, the game was out of hand.

The Cardinals limited the Rams to 13 first downs. They pressured Marc Bulger and Gus Frerotte, netting three sacks and three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

Antrel Rolle returned his fourth pick of the season 47 yards for his third touchdown of the year. He added another interception in the fourth quarter.

Gerald Hayes corralled his first interception of the year and brought it back 30 yards for the game's final score.

Edgerrin James scored his first touchdown in five weeks, a 2-yard score in the second quarter. James also chipped in a 25-yard run, his second-longest of the year.

James' hardnosed running resulted in his third 100-yard game of the season (102). His 1,222 yards on the season are the fifth-most in franchise history.

Kurt Warner hit 23-of-39 passes (59 percent) for 300 yards and three touchdowns. It was Warner's fourth 300-yard game in the last six weeks.

Larry Fitzgerald served as the catalyst for the offensive explosion. Fitzgerald, the only Cardinals Pro Bowler, caught 11 balls for 171 yards and two touchdowns. After catching just one touchdown in the first half of the season, he finished the year with double digits.

Anquan Boldin added 56 yards and a touchdown. The score gave him a career-high nine touchdowns this season. On the flip side, this is just the second time in his five-year career that he failed to receive for more than 1,000 yards.

Notes from the Nest

--Arizona's 8-8 finish is its best in nine years. In 20 seasons, the Cardinals have finished with a record of .500 or better just three times.

--Arizona finished 6-2 at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

--After entering the starting lineup because of a season-ending injury to Chike Okeafor, Calvin Pace made his presence known. He ended the season with 98 tackles, 6.5 sacks and an interception -- all career highs.

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for She has contributed to the official Web sites of several NFL players for Sixthman Communications.

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