Rams 27, Cardinals 24
Updated On: Sep 08 2013 07:19:50 PM CDT
ST. LOUIS -- With tight end Jared Cook leading the way, St. Louis' beefed-up offense stormed from behind for a dramatic 27-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday's season opener.
Cook caught seven passes for 141 yards, including a 25-yarder to set up Greg Zuerlein's game-winning 48-yard field goal with 40 seconds to play and the Rams knocked off NFC West rival Arizona in the Edward Jones Dome.
Cook, signed as a free agent from the Tennessee Titans in the offseason, caught two touchdown passes and more than made up for his fumble after a 47-yard reception in the first quarter.
Zuerlein's field goal was his fourth of the day and capped an eight-play, 50-yard drive.
It was the 150th regular season win for Rams coach Jeff Fisher and denied new Cardinals coach Bruce Arians victory in his head-coaching debut. Arians was Coach of the Year last year while filling in on an interim basis for Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, but his 9-3 record was credited to Pagano.
St. Louis entered the fourth quarter trailing by 11 points, but drew even with two scores in under four minutes. Sam Bradford, who was 27-of-38 for 299 yards, flipped a 1-yard touchdown pass to Cook, then ran for the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 24-21 with 12:46 left.
Robert Quinn then sacked Carson Palmer for the third time and forced a fumble that fellow defensive end Chris Long recovered at the Arizona 22. Zuerlein cashed it in with a game-tying 38-yard field goal with 9:04 remaining.
After a scoreless first quarter, both teams put up 10 points in the second quarter. Arizona grabbed a 7-0 lead 49 seconds into the period on Palmer's 4-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald.
Zuerlein got St. Louis on the board with a 36-yard field goal with 11:20 left in the half, but the Cardinals' Jay Feely answered with a 30-yard field goal at the 5:23 mark. However, the Rams delivered an equalizing touchdown with 26 seconds left in the half on Bradford's 13-yard connection with Cook, who stretched the ball across the right front pylon.
Zuerlein's 25-yard field goal with 13:57 left in the third quarter gave St. Louis its first lead at 13-10, but it didn't last long. Arizona defensive tackle Dan Williams intercepted Bradford's pass -- it was tipped by linebacker Matt Shaughnessy -- and rumbled 2 yards for the go-ahead touchdown at the 10:34 mark.
The Cardinals then appeared to take control when Fitzgerald hauled in Palmer's 24-yard scoring strike with 1:47 remaining in the third for a 24-13 lead. But St. Louis ruined their plans with its dramatic finish.
NOTES: Among the inactives for Arizona were RB Ryan Williams, a healthy scratch who has apparently been beaten out by Alfonso Smith and Andre Ellington, and TE Rob Housler (ankle). ... Each team had a player serving an NFL-related suspension. Cardinals LB Daryl Washington is sitting out the first four games, while Rams backup RB Isaiah Pead will return next week when St. Louis visits Atlanta. ... The Rams start the season with the NFL's youngest roster, averaging 24.98 years of age. Twenty-eight of the 53 active players are either rookies or second-year men.