Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - The Arizona Cardinals were trailing when quarterback Carson Palmer exited with a left knee injury early in the fourth quarter.
Instead of falling apart, the best team in the NFL rallied around Drew Stanton and scored two defensive touchdowns to beat the St. Louis Rams, 31-14, on Sunday.
Trailing 14-10, Palmer, who signed a three-year, $50 million contract extension earlier this week, went down in obvious pain when he was sacked by Rams safety Mark Barron.
Palmer eventually walked off the field with a noticeable limp. He was then put on a cart and taken to the locker room.
Stanton threw a 48-yard TD pass to rookie John Brown with 7:49 to play. Patrick Peterson followed with a pair of interceptions, returning the second one 30 yards for a touchdown.
Arizona's defense followed with another score after Kareem Martin sacked Austin Davis. Antonio Cromartie scooped up the loose ball and raced 14 yards the other way for a touchdown.
The Cardinals have won five in a row and are off to an 8-1 start for the first time since 1948 when the franchise was based in Chicago.
Palmer completed 25-of-36 passes for 241 yards and an interception before leaving. Stanton connected on 3-of-5 passes for 85 yards.
Arizona coach Bruce Arians said after the game the team wouldn't know Palmer's prognosis until more tests are done. According to NFL.com, the team believes the quarterback tore his ACL.
Larry Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 112 yards for Arizona, which is off to a 5-0 start at home for the first time since 1976 while based in St. Louis. Andre Ellington carried the ball 18 times for 23 yards and a score.
Davis completed 17-of-30 passes for 216 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Rams (3-6). Jared Cook caught two passes for 84 yards and a score.
"I think we learned today that this game is four quarters long," said St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher. "Three doesn't get it done for you."
With Palmer in the locker room, Stanton and the Cardinals took over at their own 11-yard line with 9:45 remaining. After connecting with John Carlson for a 26-yard gain, Stanton threw a 48-yard bomb to Brown.
Arizona's offense was right back on the field following Peterson's interception. But the Cardinals went three-and-out.
On Peterson's second interception, the ball bounced off the hands of the Rams' Kenny Britt. Peterson caught it and raced to the end zone to make it a 24-14 game.
On St. Louis' next possession, Cromartie scored Arizona's second defensive touchdown of the fourth quarter.
"As far as hitting our quarterback, we definitely took that personal," said Peterson. "When Carson went down, obviously it was a non-contact injury, but after he went down, we just wanted to win this ballgame that much more, and try and tee off on their quarterback."
After each team punted twice to start the game, the Rams started from their own 38-yard line. Tavon Austin caught a screen pass and made some nifty moves for a 17-yard gain. The Rams followed with five straight running plays, culminating in Benny Cunningham's 3-yard TD run with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
The Cardinals tied the game early in the second stanza. Palmer threw four passes of at least 13 yards, with Fitzgerald's 14-yard catch moving the ball to the St. Louis 3-yard line. Ellington then found the end zone.
Arizona reached the 25-yard line of the Rams on its next possession, but had to settle for a 43-yard Chandler Catanzaro field goal. Catanzaro tied the NFL record for consecutive field goals to start a career at 17.
The Rams needed just five plays to take the lead back, as Cook's 59-yard TD catch made it 14-10.
The Cardinals were driving late in the third quarter when Palmer was picked off by Alec Ogletree. St. Louis took over at the Arizona 45-yard line but got nothing out of it.
Catanzaro missed a 53-yard field goal after Palmer got hurt.
The Cardinals have won five in a row for the first time since a six-game run back in 1977 ... Tre Mason carried the ball 14 times for 48 yards for St. Louis ... Brown caught five passes for 73 yards ... Palmer missed three games earlier this season with a shoulder injury.