Rams end 8-game skid against Arizona 19-6By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
2010-12-05 21:17:37 -
GLENDALE, Ariz.(AP) A great performance wasn't needed for the St. Louis Rams to end their eight-game losing streak to Arizona.
Whether that's a reflection of how much the Rams have grown or how low the Cardinals have sunk is an open question.
Steven Jackson rushed for 102 yards, including 27 on the game's lone TD, and St. Louis sent Arizona to its seventh loss in a row with a 19-6 victory Sunday.
The Rams improved to 6-6 after going 1-15 a year ago, won consecutive road games for the first time since Nov. 18, 2007, and remained in a first-place tie with Seattle in the weak NFC West. Their six wins equals their total combined for the previous three seasons.
Even though this Arizona team is a far cry from the ones that won the division the past two seasons, the Rams saw the victory as a milestone.
``We really want to make this thing go and turn this thing around,'' Jackson said. ``It has to go through Arizona. They were the division winners last year. I have a lot of respect for this team and to come out with this win was very meaningful for us. It has been a long time.''
Josh Brown tied his career best with four field goals and the game ended with the Rams well within range for another one.
``I love it, I really do,'' Brown said. ``It's obviously a big change, from the last two years, being on the field a number of times. I was kind of begging for that fifth one, quite honestly. The coaches didn't want to do that.''
Rookie quarterback John Skelton made his NFL debut for Arizona (3-9) in the fourth quarter after Derek Anderson was benched and backup Max Hall went out with a dislocated left shoulder.
``I really wasn't too nervous,'' Skelton said. ``I guess I was about as nervous as a third-string quarterback going into his first action.''
After the game, coach Ken Whisenhunt said Anderson ``didn't seem right'' after taking several hard hits in the first half but indicated he would have been replaced regardless. He said Anderson would be checked out for a possible concussion.
Whisenhunt wouldn't commit to starting Skelton next Sunday against Denver, but came close.
``I don't know right now, to be honest with you,'' Whisenhunt said. ``Something's got to change.''
Arizona wasted a defensive effort that was a vast improvement from its showing in Monday night's 27-6 loss to San Francisco.
``But we were still short,'' defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. ``In the end, we didn't play good enough.''
St. Louis scored 19 consecutive points after Jay Feely's first-quarter field goals of 45 and 41 yards put Arizona up 6-0. Up 9-6 at the half, the Rams outscored Arizona 10-0 in the second half, holding the Cardinals to 47 yards.
``We had not played very well and yet we were up by three points,'' St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo said. ``We kind of rallied around that in the second half, knowing that we had to play better, and we did that.''
Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford passed for 187 yards and threw just his second interception in the last seven games.
Arizona's Tim Hightower gained 81 yards in 15 carries, but had just 14 yards in six attempts in the second half. Anderson completed seven of 20 passes for 93 yards with one interception.
Brown's field goals of 28 and 52 yards tied it at 6, and the Cardinals had third-and-10 at the St. Louis 31 when Anderson's pass over the middle went right into the arms of safety Craig Dahl. He returned the interception 23 yards to the Rams 33. St. Louis drove to the Arizona 2, but the Cardinals, whose red-zone defense has been one of the few bright spots for the team, held the Rams out.
Brown's 20-yard field goal with 4 seconds left put the Rams up 9-6 at the half.
St. Louis went 85 yards in 10 plays in the third quarter for the game's lone TD. The Rams went without a huddle and Jackson broke free down the sidelines for the 27-yard score that made it 16-6.
The drive came after Kerry Rhodes intercepted Bradford's pass at the Rams 46 but Arizona, as has almost always been the case this season, couldn't take advantage.
``I thought we did some things at the start of the game that showed we had a chance to be a pretty decent team,'' Whisenhunt said, ``but then, obviously, we didn't get it done at the quarterback position through the course of the game and that really hurt us.''
Anderson was benched after his first four passes of the second half were incomplete. But Hall came on and was sacked, then was intercepted by Bradley Fletcher to set up Brown's 43-yared field goal that made it 19-6.
Arizona had minus-7 yards in nine plays in the third quarter, with Anderson and Hall going a combined 0 of 6.
Hall was hurt when he fumbled and recovered the ball. That brought on the strong-armed Skelton, a 6-foot-6 fifth-round draft pick out of Fordham. Skelton completed passes on a pair of third-and-long situations for the only signs of life for the Arizona offense in the second half.
Notes: Larry Fitzgerald had four catches to tie Anquan Boldin's Cardinals record for career receptions. ... Jackson needs 15 yards for his sixth consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season. ... The roof at University of Phoenix Stadium was open for a Cardinals game for the first time since Dec. 27 of last year. ... St. Louis starting cornerback Ron Bartell left in the first half with a shoulder injury.
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