The Rams ended their five game turnover drought with four interceptions of Cardinals rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley on their way to a convincing win in Arizona.
Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, a second-round pick in this year’s draft, returned two of the interceptions for touchdowns as St Louis scored 17 unanswered points to sink Arizona’s slim playoff hopes.
In what turned out to be a significant game for mostly just fantasy football managers, here are five things we learned:
1. Kevin Kolb is sorely missed
I’m sure no one could have said that would be the case a few weeks ago but the lack of production at quarterback for the Cardinals has seen their dream 4-0 start to the year turn into a seven-game losing streak.
The Ryan Lindley experiment started off well with a nice confidence-building first drive that saw the rookie connect for 80 yards on 7-of-8 passes. However, he quickly erased all that with a pick-six on the next drive and a complete collapse in the second half.
2. Beanie Wells will shoulder the load again
Beanie Wells showed some fresh legs as he capped off the Cardinals’ opening drive with a one-yard touchdown run and added another in the second quarter but finished with only 48 yards rushing for the day.
Despite his solid play in Wells’ absence, LaRod Stephens-Howling received only the one carry possibly due to a rib injury that had him listed as questionable earlier this week.
3. The Rams are only going to get better
Things are looking up for the young Rams defense. Once St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher started dialing up the pressure against Lindley, the defense locked the Cardinals down and shut them out in the second half. Even linebacker James Laurinaitis chipped in with a pick.
With two first-round draft selections in 2013 and 2014, thanks to the trade with the Redskins for their number two pick and the chance to draft Robert Griffin III, the Rams could soon be looking at a new era of dominance under Fisher.
4. Steven Jackson still has plenty of gas left in the tank
Jackson battered the Cardinals for 139 yards on 24 carries. Though he failed to get into the endzone, his return to form bodes well for fantasy managers who showed faith in him this year. At 46 yards, his longest run of the day was a season-high and showed that he still had plenty of explosiveness even at age 29.
5. Other St. Louis receivers have stepped up their game
Though doubtful for the game, Danny Amendola was active and limped his way to 38 yards on his only catch for the day. Chris Givens received the bulk of the targets and finished with 115 yards and one touchdown on five receptions.
With Jackson moving the ball well on the ground, Sam Bradford was especially dangerous with the play-action pass, finding Givens and tight end Lance Kendricks for touchdowns. Bradford finished the day with 205 yards, a pair of touchdowns and one interception.