(SportsNetwork.com) - The Arizona Cardinals felt a range of emotions in their former home of St. Louis on Thursday night.
So much so that's it's time to "pump, pump, pump it up" with Rob Base and the late DJ EZ Rock.
A touchdown-less 12-6 win created the "joy" of understanding that the Cards will be on their way to the NFL playoffs, while the latest injury for football's grittiest team spawned the "pain," along with realization that they can't do anything once they get there.
The Cards didn't officially clinch a postseason berth with their ugly win over the Rams but their ticket will be punched on Sunday night as long as the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys don't play to a tie in the City of Brotherly Love.
A year after a 10-win season didn't get Bruce Arians' club to the dance, an 11-win one will, along with a chance to become the first team to play the big game in their own stadium.
Of course I also have an opportunity to win the Power Ball and my odds might be a little bit better than the Cardinals chances of playing in Glendale on Feb. 1.
Arizona suffered another injury at the quarterback position at the hands of the St. Louis defense as Drew Stanton left the game with a right knee injury in the third quarter after a sack by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
The veteran backup hopped off the field on his left leg, unable to put any weight on his right knee and was eventually carted off to the locker room.
Stanton, who was 12-of-20 for 109 yards before exiting, was starting his fifth straight game since Carson Palmer tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a 31-14 win over the Rams on Nov. 9.
Arians chose to go with the nondescript Ryan Lindley, who re-signed with the Cardinals on Nov. 11 after Palmer's injury, over rookie Logan Thomas, a far more gifted player.
"I went with (Lindley) because of his experience, he has been in a stadium and played against these guys and this was not a time to put (Logan Thomas) out there," Arians said. "(Thomas) is going to be a great player someday, but he is not ready for this yet. Ryan was more than ready; I really liked his poise and his confidence. I didn't feel like we had to scale it back, but I let him throw some balls and he made some nice throws."
In reality the San Diego State product, who started four games back in 2012 when Ken Whisenhunt was the Cards' coach, showed little, completing four of his 10 passes for 30 yards.
"Linny hasn't gotten any reps probably since training camp in the offense," star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "For him to come in this type of situation, in this hostile environment with all of the implications going into the game, he did an amazing job."
The early indications on Stanton's knee injury are not good, something Fitzgerald amplified after the game.
"It's unfortunate, you feel terrible for Drew going down," he said. "Hopefully tomorrow the MRI reveals something more positive."
"More positive" implies a less than positive initial diagnosis.
And that means Plan C.
Arians' assessment of Thomas was stark and the phrase "he is not ready for this yet" doesn't exactly foreshadow him being ready any time soon, meaning Arizona needs to line up behind Lindley, originally a sixth-round pick of the club 2012 who spent some time on San Diego's practice squad earlier this season.
"You couldn't be more happy for the guy. He's worked extremely hard to put himself in a position of being well-prepared, and we're going to rally around him," Fitzgerald said.
Rallying is fine but talents wins in the NFL.
It's a small sample size but Lindley has now thrown 183 passes in his professional career and has yet to find the end zone. He has, however, had no trouble locating the opposition, throwing seven interceptions or one in every 26.1 attempts.
And the Cardinals will be trying to hold off the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, who are currently ranked No. 1 in the NFL on defense, next week with the NFC West title likely the ultimate prize.
"I saw (the Seahawks) once in San Diego, saw them once when I came out here, so this is going to be the third time around game planning for these guys so that should help a little bit," Lindley said.
He'll need more than a little bit of help.
Arians is already the presumptive NFL Coach of the Year. If he holds off the Seahawks, he might be canonized as a real-life miracle worker.