The win was exhilarating once again, a fourth-quarter comeback that featured a touchdown bomb to
And it raised the Cardinals to more lofty heights, a 31-14 win over the St. Louis Rams at University of Phoenix Stadium to make their record 8-1 for the first time in franchise history since 1948.
But left in the pit of the team’s collective stomach was the fourth-quarter scene of starting quarterback Carson Palmer lying on the grass, having twisted down in agony without a hit, his left knee hurt – the same knee Palmer had to have reconstructed in 2006 after multiple ligaments were shredded in a January playoff game.
Coach Bruce Arians said after the game the actual injury and its severity were unknown, until tests were performed Monday.
“You see a guy, a captain, one of the big leaders on your team, you see him lying down on the ground, we’re human – before Carson is our quarterback, he’s our friend,” wide receiver
“Then you look up there on the clock and you look at your teammates and you realize we are on a journey together. There are going to be bumps in the road and you have to be able to weather those rough times.”
One more time, that’s exactly what the Cardinals did.
The Cards couldn’t run the ball (28 total yards in the game, with
The Rams (3-6), who have made life miserable for their NFC West brethren, were doing it again, punishing the Cardinals repeatedly. There was irony, then, during a game where Palmer was repeatedly hit or sacked, that he crumpled to the turf practically untouched, just trying to avoid a blitz. To make matters worse, rookie kicker
With about 11 minutes left, the game was in the hands of Stanton and the defense. Neither would disappoint.
A three-and-out put the ball in Stanton’s hands for the first time. He hit tight end
“It’s unfortunate when something like that happens but it’s also in your job description to be ready,” Stanton said. “That (pass) was something we had in the game plan all along. We knew we wanted to get to it, and taking that shot to Smokey was huge. We did exactly what we wanted.”
Rams quarterback Austin Davis had little chance after that. The Cardinals’ defense hadn’t played poorly most of the game – save for a 59-yard touchdown bomb to tight end Jared Cook, beating rookie safety
“As far as hitting our quarterback, we definitely took that personal,” cornerback
Peterson was the catalyst, making his first two interceptions of the season – including a highlight reel pick-6 that started when he tipped an already tipped pass to himself and then racing in for a touchdown. Fellow cornerback
The Rams, who rushed for 40 yards on their first touchdown drive, had just 70 yards rushing for the game.
Fitzgerald led the Cardinals with a third straight good game, making nine receptions for 112 yards. Palmer finished 25-of-36 for 241 yards and the one interception before getting hurt.
The attention now turns to Palmer’s knee. Palmer just signed a three-year contract extension Friday – worth a reported $20 million in guarantees – and now there is big question whether Palmer will be available. If he isn’t, it’s not an easy thing for a good team to handle in a quarterback-driven league.
But in a season that has been special for the Cardinals despite setback after setback after setback, maybe it’s fitting Arians’ club might have to deal with the ultimate test.
“Anytime your quarterback goes down and he gets hit like that you think it’s going to be serious,” Arians said. “I wanted to go out (on the field) and see. It’s always different for your quarterback than it is for anybody else. It is always ‘Next man up,’ but for me, it’s a little bit different.”