Rookie RB Tim Hightower got the nod over Edgerrin James and excelled in the first start of his young career. Hightower finished with 109 yards rushing on 22 carries, including a 30-yard touchdown scamper late in the first half.
Hightower is the second Cardinals' running back to break the century mark this year and the first since Edgerrin James 100-yard rushing performance in Week 1. Hightower has been one the most productive first-year players in the NFL and currently leads all rookies with six touchdown runs on the season.
While James did not receive a carry, RB J.J. Arrington effectively spelled Hightower throughout the game. Arrington carried the ball six times for 62 yards and caught five passes for 57 yards. He continues to flash his big play potential with two plays resulting in 30-plus yards.
QB Kurt Warner had a successful return to St. Louis, completing 23-of-34 passes for 342 yards and two scores. While Warner was not called upon as often as usual, he remains accurate and efficient in the passing game.
WR Anquan Boldin
Arizona held an inept Rams' offense to only 231 total yards and just 13 first downs. In addition, Clancy Pendergast's unit forced QB Marc Bulger into three turnovers. FS Antrel Rolle picked off a Bulger pass and returned in 40 yards for a touchdown and CB Rod Hood intercepted his first pass of the season in the final minutes of the game.
Outside of an early 80-yard touchdown strike to WR Derek Stanley, Bulger was extremely ineffective. He completed just 16-of-33 passes for 186 yards but managed to connect with WR Tory Holt for his second touchdown pass early in the forth quarter.
With RB Steven Jackson still limited with a thigh injury, the Rams were unable to muster up anything on the ground. As a team they totaled just 61 yards on 20 carries and Jackson carried the ball only seven times for 17 yards.
The Cardinals improve to 5-3 on the year and continue to build their lead in the NFC West. Next up for Arizona is a Monday night showdown with the San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at email@example.com