Running back Tim Hightower breaks off a 50-yard run during the Cards' 21-13 win Sunday in St. Louis over the Rams.
ST. LOUIS – In the present, the Cardinals got what they wanted Sunday – a decisive victory over one of their NFC West rivals to increase their division lead to three games.
For the future, watching quarterback Kurt Warner leave the game with "concussion-like symptoms" was decidedly less welcome.
With the Cards hanging on to what eventually became a 21-13 win over the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome, Warner's injury created some nervous moments. But Warner said he didn't feel the injury was serious and expects to play next week in Tennessee.
"I took a shot and I was a little unclear right after," said Warner, who was brought down on a rollout by safety Oshiomogho Atogwe while completing a pass to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. "I just wanted to be smart. I didn't feel perfect."
Even without Warner, the Cardinals (7-3) managed to run their record to 5-0 on the road this season and push the 49ers – who lost in Green Bay, 30-24 – further back in the standings.
Backup quarterback Matt Leinart couldn't lead the Cards through the Rams (1-9) for any more points in the second half. But after St. Louis closed within one score, Leinart hit Early Doucet for a crucial 20-yard third-down completion that all but sealed the win with a little more than two minutes left.
"We didn't finish the way we wanted," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "But we did finish."
Leinart was 10-of-14 for 74 yards, and said while he still had things he wanted to work on, "winning the game was the biggest thing."
Whisenhunt praised Leinart, saying he felt the Cards would have had a good drive on a late sequence where tight end Anthony Becht fumbled after a reception. He also was encouraged by Leinart's throw to Doucet.
Warner was again headed to a big day in his former stomping grounds, completing 15-of-19 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. And once again, the running game was impressive.
Starter Tim Hightower had the second 100-yard game of his career, getting 110 yards on only 14 carries, including a 50-yard run that was the franchise's longest since Troy Hambrick had a 62-yarder against Miami in 2004.
Hightower was the last Cardinal to run for 100 yards in a game when he did it on the Cards' trip to St. Louis last season in his first NFL start.
Beanie Wells added 74 yards rushing as the Cards ended up with 183 yards rushing as a team, topping the 182 they had in Chicago as the most in a game since 2004.
"It's just a question of opportunity," Hightower said. "The more we do it, the better at it we will be."
Rams running back Steven Jackson dented the Cards for 100 rushing yards – 116 total – for the first time in nine games against Arizona, although defensive end Darnell Dockett lamented that was boosted by Jackson's 48-yard run after the Cards had bottled Jackson up fairly well most of the game.
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin also had his second straight 100-yard receiving game, making eight grabs for 103 yards and a touchdown. Fitzgerald had eight catches for 87 yards and a score.
But it was Warner who was the big story. He finished the drive on which he was hit, and Whisenhunt said Warner was talking to him throughout the second half about strategy. Warner also said he remembered everything about the game, all good signs when it comes to judging how bad a possible concussion might be.
"We'll do the baseline tests as they do with anyone," Warner said. "But I'm thinking I'll be good to go next week."
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