Cardinals' unbeaten season over
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Any hope the Arizona Cardinals had at another close-call victory ended with Kevin Kolb on his back — again and again.
Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass on St. Louis' first possession Thursday night, then pretty much turned things over to a defense that harassed Kolb for nine sacks in a 17-3 win over the previously unbeaten Cardinals, who got stopped twice inside the St. Louis 20 in the final minutes.
Kolb called the offensive effort "sickening" and said the team's lack of production set up the sacks.
"We got ourselves in a situation where they pinned their ears back and it's not ideal," Kolb said.
Arizona made a habit of winning ugly in starting the season 4-0. The Cardinals won three of the games by a combined nine points and still haven't reached 300 yards of offense in a game this season. The loss leaves Atlanta and Houston as the only unbeatens.
Second-year defensive end Robert Quinn had three of the Rams' nine sacks. St. Louis (3-2) had six total sacks in the previous four games.
Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said the protection needs to improve.
"We got beat on the edge a couple of times," Whisenhunt said. "We've got to work on technique and our sets, and we've got to do some things to help those guys out."
The Rams also had a strong defensive game last week in a 19-13 victory over Seattle, also at home.
Bradford busted a lengthy slump with a 52-yard touchdown pass to rookie Chris Givens for a two-TD cushion.
Lance Kendricks caught a 7-yard TD pass in the first quarter and Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Rams, who are 3-0 at home and ended Arizona's seven-game winning streak in St. Louis — the Cardinals' home before leaving for the desert in 1988.
The Rams totaled two victories last year but so far have executed a quick turnaround under new coach Jeff Fisher. They're 3-0 at home for the first time since 2003, when they were unbeaten in the Edward Jones Dome and they're above .500 for the first time since they were 4-3 on Nov. 4, 2006.
Bradford had been 3 for 16 for 25 yards and an end-zone interception since the opening drive, often missing on his receivers by a lot. Undoubtedly, he missed Danny Amendola, sidelined in the second quarter with a right shoulder injury on a diving attempt that was initially ruled a 22-yard catch for a first down but overturned after the Cardinals challenged.
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