ST. LOUIS – It wasn’t St. Louis’ traditional offensive lineup, but it got the job done.
In St. Louis’ 37-13 win against Arizona on Sunday at Edward Jones Dome, Rams quarterback Marc Bulger and running back Lamar Gordon, who didn’t have starting jobs when the season began, accounted for more than 88 percent of the Rams’ offense.
Rams (2-2) coach Mike Martz said the win came at the right time, a week after a one-point loss to Seattle.
“We did a phenomenal job of rebounding and coming back and playing an excellent football game,” Martz said. “I thought they dominated, they were physical, they were fast. They played with great enthusiasm and passion. We got better this week.”
The Rams got better with a relatively new offensive scheme, but still managed to dominate nearly every statistical category. They controlled the ball for 42:27 and ran 48 more plays than the Cardinals (1-3).
“If we can’t play better defense than that, you are not going to give yourselves a chance to be in the ballgame,” Arizona coach Dave McGinnis said. “I mean how many times did we make them punt? Twice?”
True, the Rams’ Sean Landeta punted twice, but Gordon, who started for the first time this season in place of the injured Marshall Faulk, got more attention. He carried the ball 21 times for 81 yards and scored the Rams’ first touchdown before injuring his left wrist and leaving the game in the fourth quarter.
After the record-setting catch in the third quarter, the 65,758 in attendance gave Bruce a standing ovation, and he walked over to the stands to shake hands with fans. After the game, though, he played down the accomplishment.
The Rams scored on their first five drives of the game, four of those in the first half.
The streak ended when Jeff Wilkins’ 29-yard field-goal attempt went wide right.
The Cardinals were still down 23-13, though, and their offense couldn’t seem to match St. Louis’ fast pace. Quarterback Jeff Blake and running back Emmett Smith, in the twilight of their careers, had no answer to the Rams’ offensive onslaught.
Smith, the NFL’s career rushing leader, finished with 25 yards on 12 carries and scored the Cardinals’ only offensive touchdown, his first of the season. Blake was 10-of-17 for 88 yards before Josh McCown replaced him for the final drive of the game.
The Rams’ defense limited Arizona to 161 yards of total offense and stopped the Cardinals on all eight third-down conversion attempts. It was the first time a team has been shut out on third down this year.