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10/05/2012 3:16 AM EDT
Rams get 9 sacks, bust Cardinals' unbeaten run
ST LOUIS 17, ARIZONA 3

By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Without his favorite target, Sam Bradford
seemed lost. The top pick of the 2010 draft completed a measly
seven passes.



The St. Louis Rams defense was there to pick him up - by
continually knocking down Kevin Kolb.



The Rams (3-2) totaled nine sacks, their most since 1998, in a
17-3 victory Thursday night that ended the Arizona Cardinals'
early unbeaten run.



"They've played great all year," Bradford said. "They've kept us
in a lot of games. Fortunately, we were able to make the big
play in the fourth quarter to go up two scores, but all the
credit tonight to our defense."



Danny Amendola made a spectacular one-handed grab for a 44-yard
gain on an underthrown ball that set up Bradford's touchdown
pass to Lance Kendricks' on the Rams' opening drive.



Bradford misfired on five consecutive passes before Amendola
injured his right shoulder making a diving attempt on a
22-yarder that was initially ruled a catch but was overturned
after the Cardinals challenged. Amendola used his left arm to
fling his helmet on the way to the X-ray room and had his arm in
a sling after the game, when he was not made available to
reporters.



Bradford had six more incompletions plus an end zone
interception by Patrick Peterson before ending the slump with a
52-yard touchdown pass to rookie Chris Givens for a 14-point
cushion early in the fourth quarter. Givens, the fastest player
on the team, had dropped a few passes earlier in the game.



"I don't know how wide open I was," Givens said. "But I knew I
was going to be open."



The Cardinals outgained the Rams 282-242. But St. Louis made all
the big plays.



Robert Quinn had three sacks, and six others had one apiece.
Rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins had three pass breakups.



"We know we can be a dominant defense," said Quinn, a
first-round pick last year. "We don't try to talk too much. Just
go out there and execute, and let our play do the talking for
us."



Arizona (4-1) scored at least 20 points in each of its first
four games, but had no luck containing a pass rush that had
totaled just six sacks on the year and got stopped twice inside
the 20 in the final minutes. The Rams also had a strong
defensive game last week in a 19-13 victory over Seattle, also
at home.



"I didn't like anything," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
"The thing I respected is our guys didn't quit. And even as bad
as it went, we had a chance at the end of the game."



Kolb got his helmet knocked off twice on hits, once after
getting popped in the jaw. He described the Cardinals'
first-half woes as "sickening."



Arizona was one-dimensional, gaining just 45 yards rushing on 17
carries.



"We need to get our running game going," Kolb said. "That's no
secret. That can slow them down some, but it is what it is."



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 have gotten off to a good start under new coach Jeff
Fisher after earning just two victories last year. 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.



"I've never been there before," Rams defensive end Chris Long
said. "I'm unfamiliar with the sound of it, but I'm liking it."



Bradford finished 7 for 21 for 141 yards, the second-lowest
total of his career. He threw for 126 yards against Tampa Bay
his rookie year in 2010.



The Rams, ranked 27th in offense, came out throwing, with
Bradford completing passes of 14 yards to Brandon Gibson and 44
yards to Amendola on the first two plays, setting up the score
to Kendricks on third down. It was the first offensive touchdown
in three games for St. Louis.



Arizona responded with a drive that lasted 9:24, ending with Jay
Feely's 35-yard field goal. The Cardinals kept the drive alive
with three third-down conversions. Larry Fitzgerald's 5-yard
catch on the first play of the drive marked his 122nd straight
game with a catch, a franchise record.



Zuerlein, a sixth-round draft pick out of Missouri Western, made
it 10-3 early in the second quarter. He is 13 for 13 this
season, including four kicks of 50-plus yards.



Feely missed a 40-yard field goal late in the second quarter.



Bradford was 3 for 4 for 65 yards on the opening drive before
cooling off. St. Louis was well within Zuerlein's range at the
Arizona 16 late in the third quarter when Peterson made an
interception in the back of the end zone.



Arizona's loss leaves Atlanta and Houston as the only unbeaten
teams. The Cardinals were still the St. Louis Cardinals the last
time they were 4-0, in 1974. Known as the "Big Red," those
Cardinals won their first seven that season en route to a 10-4
record, before losing in the first round of the playoffs to
Minnesota.



The loss was only the Cardinals' third in 14 games after
starting the 2011 season 1-6.



NOTES: Fitzgerald broke the mark set by Mel Gray from 1973-82
and finished with eight catches for 92 yards, leaving him 48
yards shy of 10,000 for his career. ... Kurt Warner, who took
the Rams to two Super Bowls and the Cardinals to one, got a huge
sustained ovation when he was introduced in the first quarter.
Warner and another former Rams great, Marshall Faulk, are on the
NFL Network broadcast team. ... Rams S Quintin Mikell and
Cardinals backup LB Reggie Walker were sidelined by blows to the
head.

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