The most memorable play of the game wasn't the one that won the game, but it was an emblem of so many things.
The St Louis Rams' dangerous new weapon, Jared Cook, came open in the seam with acres of green in front of him. And as he will do as often as he can, Bradford found him with the football. It was going to be that rarest of things for the Rams: an easy score created by an athletic mismatch. But of course, nothing comes easy for the Rams.
Tyrann Mathieu outsprinted Cook (and his own 40 time) to race madcap diagonally across the field and punch the ball out of Cook's hands.
Arizona coach Bruce Arians on Mathieu's forced fumble: "It was one of the best plays I have ever seen at this level. It was all out hustle."— Ben Frederickson (@Ben_Fred) September 9, 2013
For the Cardinals, the play gave them the confidence to know that they could go toe to toe with a much-improved Rams team in their own house. The Cardinals, then 4-0, were blown out here on primetime television a year ago, 17-3, a loss that inspired a 1-11 finish and a wholesale housecleaning. Said Chris Long, after Sunday's game: "They’re a lot better ball club than they were last year, and it showed. We’re going to have to see them again, and we’re going to have to play a lot better to beat them next time."
For the Rams, it was just another obstacle they would have to overcome before they could prove to their fans, and themselves, that they are a team separated from its mistake-filled past. What they have proven, though, is that they now have the talent to overcome its mistakes.
"In the past, we had to play pretty close to perfect to win a game, especially a game like this," said Sam Bradford after the game. "We blew so many opportunities today."
Those opportunities - two possessions inside the ten yard line that turned into field goals and Cook's goal line fumble - turned a possible 21 points on the scoreboard into six. Subtract Bradford's tipped pick-six (his one egregious mistake on the day), and you have the difference between a win and a convincing win.
"I think it shows we’ve got a lot to correct," said Bradford, "but with the guys we have in this locker room now there’s no doubt that we can overcome that."no comments