ST. LOUIS (AP) — It had been seven years since the St. Louis Rams won their opener, with Jeff Fisher dropping his debut to the Lions last year on the heels of three failures from Steve Spagnuolo and two more from Scott Linehan.
Getting the best of the Arizona Cardinals was cause for celebration, no matter how the Rams got there.
After Greg Zuerlein kicked the go-ahead 48-yard field goal with 40 seconds to go, capping a fourth-quarter comeback from an 11-point deficit in a 27-24 victory Sunday, Fisher did not hesitate when asked what he remembered best.
"Watching the game clock tick to zero, that's my most favorite part," Fisher said. "You know, we're really excited. You take them when you get them like that."
Linehan dropped his first eight games in 2007 and was fired after an 0-4 start in '08. Spagnuolo's teams opened 0-7, 0-2 and 0-6, but the Rams won in Week 2 last season under Fisher.
Next week at Atlanta, they'll be trying for their first 2-0 start since 2001, their last Super Bowl season.
"We had some good plays and some bad plays," offensive tackle Jake Long said. "No one panicked. We just kept pushing."
Bruce Arians was the NFL coach of the year last season, going 9-3 with the Colts as the interim coach. His true head coaching debut with the team's he's overhauled after a 5-11 season was going well until the final 15 minutes.
"I wanted to win," Arians said. "We didn't come to play close and build for next year. We felt like we gave this game away."
Five reasons why the Rams are feeling pretty good about themselves, warts and all, and why the Cardinals know they can do better:
1. TIGHT END UNLEASHED: Fisher drafted Jared Cook in the third round in 2009 when he was the Titans' coach, and made him a priority pickup in free agency. Cook opened with a gaffe when he got stripped by Tyrann Mathieu a few long strides from the end zone and a 55-yard breakaway that would have been the game's first score.
He didn't mope about it, catching seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns — the first multi-touchdown game of his career. Cook had a key 25-yard reception that set up Zuerlein's winning field goal.
Mathieu was a difference-maker at LSU, where he forced 11 fumbles and recovered eight fumbles, two for touchdowns, in two seasons. But the third-round draft pick cost the Cardinals three points later in the half when he was whistled for a 38-yard interference penalty on rookie Tavon Austin, resulting in one of Zuerlein's four field goals.
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