The St. Louis Rams lost their sixth game of 2008 in Week 9 at home against the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams were coming into the game hoping to beat the Arizona Cardinals and become players in the NFC West. But, the Rams came out flying on offense and were able to hold the Cardinals on a fourth and goal on the 1 yard line. The Rams kept the high flying Cardinals offense off the scoreboard in the first quarter and things were looking good for the Rams.
However, as the first quarter turned into the second quarter, so did the Rams fortunes turn from good to bad. Marc Bulger threw an interception to Antrelle Rolle that was returned for a touchdown and everything went the Arizona Cardinals way after that. With about 5 minutes left in the first half, the Cardinals only lead 10-7 and got the ball on their own 8 yard line.
One would think that the game is now in the Rams favor, but the Cardinals drove down the field in only 5 plays for a touchdown. The Rams were unable to get a first down or run any time off the clock. Consequently, the Cardinals went down the field in only two plays, getting all their yards on a 56-yard touchdown to Jerehme Urban.
The pass to Urban was under thrown and Jonathan Wade, the Rams fourth corner was able to make a play on the ball and should have caught it. But, this was not the Rams day and after Wade got two chances at the ball it bounced into Urban’s hands and he ran for a touchdown. That, as they say, was that.
The Rams offense was stifled by the less than stellar Cardinals defense and never could find their rhythm. Steven Jackson returned from injury, but was unable to be effective and must have still been feeling the remnants of his thigh injury. Jackson also coughed up a crucial fumble deep in the Rams own territory. The Rams also went for the first down on 4th down deep in their own territory, just like they did successfully last week against the New England Patriots. If you can sense a theme here, the Rams did not pick up the first down and did not get back to the end zone until garbage time in the fourth quarter.
There were a few highlights for the Rams. One, Derek Stanley can play. He can effectively replace Dante Hall as the primary return man with no drop off and probably some marginal improvement. Stanley also made a highlight reel catch on the Rams only good play of the day, an 82-yard TD pass. The Rams have a lot of good plays to look forward to in their “teen squad” of Stanley, Avery and Burton. Avery and Burton are rookies and Stanley is just off the practice squad.
This loss may effectively end the Rams chance to win the NFC West crown and their playoff chances. They may be still mathematically alive, but they have very long odds.