Lindley throws 4 INTs, Cardinals lose 31-17

Associated Press Published: November 25, 2012
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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals turned to rookie Ryan Lindley hoping he would be the answer to their season-long quarterback quandary.

The search goes on.

Lindley threw four interceptions in his first NFL start, including two returned for touchdowns by St. Louis rookie Janoris Jenkins, sending the Cardinals to their seventh straight loss, 31-17 to the Rams on Sunday.

"I punched myself pretty good today," Lindley said. "It obviously wasn't the outcome, the start I wanted, we wanted."

Lindley's rough day was the difference in a game between teams stuck in a tailspin since St. Louis beat Arizona 17-3 on Oct. 4.

The Cardinals, 4-0 headed into that game, went on to lose six straight behind a lackluster offense that struggled to score even after the defense forced six turnovers against Atlanta last week.

St. Louis was only slightly better after that meeting, losing four games and scraping out a 28-all tie against the NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers.

The Rams (4-6-1) were a lot better than the Cardinals (4-7) in the rematch.

After going five straight games without forcing a turnover — the third team in 62 years to do that — St. Louis forced four against Arizona. Jenkins had two of those, becoming the first rookie since 1960 and first Rams player to have two interceptions for touchdowns in one game.

Picking up the defensive pressure on Lindley in the second half, St. Louis forced three of his interceptions and held Arizona's offense to 141 yards while outscoring the Cardinals 17-0.

Sam Bradford was quietly efficient in running the Rams' offense, throwing 37-yard touchdown passes to Lance Kendricks and Chris Givens. Steven Jackson broke off some big runs with his hard-charging style, finishing with 139 yards on 24 carries.

In desperate need of a win, the Rams got it in emphatic fashion.

"It seems like for weeks or forever we've been talking about turnovers," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "We kept saying that they often times come in bunches and they did today."

Consistency from the quarterback has been a problem for the Cardinals all season.

John Skelton opened the season as the starter and sprained his right ankle in the first game. Kevin Kolb took over the next five games before he suffered a chest injury against Buffalo on Oct. 14. Skelton was the guy the next four games before being replaced by Lindley after struggling against Atlanta last week.

Combined, they've thrown 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions, the highest quarterback rating among them Kolb's 86.1.