Sam Bradford threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Lance Kendricks on the opening drive, rookie Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yard field goal, and the St. Louis Rams then relied on defense to take a 10-3 lead over the Arizona Cardinals 10-3 into the fourth quarter Thursday night.
The Rams, ranked 27th in offense, came out throwing, with Bradford completing passes of 14 yards to Brandon Gibson and 44 yards Danny Amendola on the first two plays from scrimmage in the game, setting up the score to Kendricks on third down. It was the first offensive touchdown in three games for St. Louis (2-2).
Arizona responded with a drive that lasted 9:24, ending with Jay Feely's 35-yard field goal. The Cardinals kept the drive alive with three third-down conversions. Larry Fitzgerald's 5-yard catch on the first play of the drive marked the 122nd straight game with a catch, a franchise record.
Zuerlein, a sixth-round draft pick out of Missouri Western, made it 10-3 early in the second quarter. He is 13 for 13 this season, including four kicks of 50-plus yards.
Amendola, who is second in the NFL in in receptions, left for X-rays after injuring his shoulder while diving for a pass in the second quarter, a ball initially ruled a reception that was overturned after review. He didn't return. Amendola threw his helmet into a wall in the walkway as he walked off. The 44-yard catch was his only one Thursday.
Feely missed a 40-yard field goal late in the second quarter.
Bradford cooled off after the opening drive. After going 3 for 4 for 65 yards on the first series, he was 3 for 16 for 25 yards, including an interception in the end zone when St. Louis was well within field goal range at the Arizona 16 late in the third quarter.
Arizona's Kevin Kolb was 17 for 35 for 179 yards, but was sacked seven times. Six Rams had sacks — Robert Quinn had two. The Rams had six sacks combined in the first four games.
Arizona entered the game 4-0, joining Atlanta and Houston as the only remaining unbeaten teams. The Cardinals were still the St. Louis Cardinals the last time they were 4-0, in 1974. Known as the "Big Red," those Cardinals won their first seven that season en route to a 10-4 record, before losing in the first round of the playoffs to Minnesota.
This Cardinals team is 11-2 since starting the 2011 season 1-6. They've also won seven straight games in St. Louis against their NFC West rival, and 10 of the last 11 overall against the Rams.
St. Louis has already matched last season's win total. The Rams are 2-0 at home after beating another NFC West foe, Seattle, on Sunday. If St. Louis wins, the Rams will be over .500 for the first time since they were 4-3 on Nov. 4, 2006.