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Wilson Cramps Rams' Style

Notebook: Safety shines in win; Hightower fighting fumble problems

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Safety Adrian Wilson lets out a primal scream after his sack during the Cardinals' 17-13 season-opening win in St. Louis Sunday.




ST. LOUIS – As soon as Adrian Wilson came down with the ball – his second interception Sunday, this one to clinch the Cardinals' 17-13 win against the Rams – he stayed down.

Leg cramps forced Wilson to stay on the turf for a couple extra minutes, a by-product of one of Wilson's best all-around games in a career that already counts three Pro Bowls. Wilson made two interceptions, had a flying sack of rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and blocked the first field goal of his career.

He wanted to make sure he got credit too, so when a reporter asked him to recount his day and left out the picks, Wilson made sure to remind everyone "I had two interceptions too."

"I was just trying to go out and fight for my team," Wilson said. "I was trying to make plays and be the captain they all voted me to be."

Both Wilson and coach Ken Whisenhunt said the Cardinals didn't really game-plan for Bradford specifically. The Cards' defense made the three interceptions and sacked Bradford just twice. But with the offense struggling – Arizona netted 73 yards in the five possessions between their touchdowns, and 75 of the yards came on a drive that ended in a Max Komar fumble – the defense was forced to stand stout.

"The defense played phenomenal the whole game," wide receiver Steve Breaston said.

That's what it is supposed to do, Wilson said.

"We can't really worry about the offense," Wilsons said. "We just have to respond when we are called to."

RUNNING WITHOUT BEANIE


With Beanie Wells out Sunday with his bad knee, Tim Hightower was poised to shoulder the rushing load. While Hightower was productive with 54 yards rushing on 13 carries and another 40 on four receptions, he also lost two key fumbles – the first short-circuiting what looked like was going to be a game-opening scoring drive, the second unexpectedly forcing a final defensive stand after it looked like a Kerry Rhodes interception had already done so.

"You know me – I am very upset about putting the ball on the ground," Whisenhunt said. "That is something we have to eliminate. Especially there at the end, even though it was a close call.

"But I was pleased with the running game. I think what we will see when we look at the tape was that there were a number of plays close to breaking out."

LaRod Stephens-Howling got his most extensive work of his short career, gaining 49 yards on seven carries.

EXTRA POINTS


The Cardinals reported two injuries in the game, with wide receiver Early Doucet leaving with a groin injury and safety Hamza Abdullah coming out with a hamstring strain. …

Nose tackle Gabe Watson was a healthy inactive, with Bryan Robinson and rookie Dan Williams ahead of him on the depth chart. …

The 65-yard return by Rhodes on his interception was the longest of his career.

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