ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jeff Fisher began rebuilding the St. Louis Rams' confidence when he was hired in mid-January. Now they've got the results to back it up.
Heading into a three-day break and a 10-day gap between games, the Rams (3-2) have more to savor than just knocking off previously unbeaten Arizona. They've already topped their win total from the dismal 2011 season with 11 games to go, and they're 3-0 at home for the first time since 2003.
"To be in this position and to have this franchise above .500 is a beautiful thing," middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "I'm happy to be a part of it."
Far from satisfied, too. Never too early to start thinking about next weekend's game at Miami.
Cornerback Cortland Finnegan and Laurinaitis, an Ohio State alum, are driving to Columbus, Ohio for the Ohio State-Nebraska game on Saturday.
"But I'm downloading all the Dolphins stuff," Finnegan said. "So, football won't be too far away from me."
The key to the 17-3 victory over the Cardinals was a fast-improving defense that sacked Kevin Kolb nine times, the Rams' best total in 14 years, with very little blitzing. End Robert Quinn, one of three first-round picks on the line, had a career day with three sacks.
The Rams, who totaled six sacks the first four games, stopped Arizona twice inside the 20 in the final minutes.
"It's a new mindset overall," Quinn said. "We knew we had it in us, it's just really fitting the pieces and getting them to click together. Everything is starting to jell."
On his third sack, Quinn stripped Kolb and Williams Hayes recovered at the Arizona 47 with less than two minutes to go to stop the Cardinals' final chance.
"We knew they were going to come," Fisher said. "I hope keep coming."
Rookie corner back Janoris Jenkins had his best game of the year with three pass breakups, and also filled in ably on punt returns after Amendola was injured in the second quarter.
"He's just coming right along," Finnegan said. "It's just exciting to have somebody like that you can mentor to, but doesn't really need it."