GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — St. Louis' long takeaway drought ended spectacularly in the desert.
For five games, the Rams failed to force a single opponent turnover. Then on Sunday, they intercepted rookie Ryan Lindley four times in his first NFL start. Janoris Jenkins took two of them back for touchdowns in St. Louis' 31-17 victory over Arizona, the Cardinals' seventh loss in a row.
"I knew eventually they were going to come," Rams safety Quintin Mikell said, "and they came in a big way today."
No NFL rookie since 1960 and no Rams rookie ever accomplished what Jenkins did with his two TD returns.
"I'm glad I broke it," Jenkins said when told of his franchise first. "I feel good, but I have to keep playing and strive for something better than turnovers."
Jenkins' returns of 36 and 39 yards emphatically ended the Rams' streak of five straight games without an opponent turnover.
The talented defender had slipped to the second round for the Rams after he was booted from the Florida team following a pair of marijuana-related incidents and finished his career at North Alabama. Then there was his acknowledgment that he fathered four children with three women.
Just two weeks ago, he and fellow rookie Chris Givens were inactive for the game against San Francisco for violating team rules.
All that was mere history on this big day.
"What a great game by Janoris," Rams defensive end Chris Long said. "I'm really proud of him. I'm happy for him. When you get one turnover for a score, your chances of winning go up exponentially, so if you get two, I don't know what the statistic is, but when you do it two times with the same player, it's pretty awesome."
Sam Bradford had a pair of 37-yard touchdown passes — to Lance Kendricks and Givens — for the Rams (4-6-1), who snapped a five-game winless streak and beat Arizona (4-7) for the second time this season.
The Rams' Steven Jackson rushed for 139 yards in 24 carries.
"That's Steven," coach Jeff Fisher said. "We built this game plan around him today. He took it over."
St. Louis outscored Arizona 17-0 in the second half.
Lindley, a sixth-round draft pick out of San Diego State and the third quarterback to start for Arizona this season, completed 31 of 52 for 312 yards and no touchdowns. The interceptions, especially the two returned for scores, outweighed anything else he did.
"I think you just have to understand he's a young player and he's got to understand he can't make a couple of those throws, especially the last one that was returned for a touchdown," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "That was a bad throw because he had Larry (Fitzgerald) down the sidelines. He's just got to step up and put it up."