Cardinals 12

(11-3, 4-3 away)

Rams 6

(6-8, 3-4 home)

Coverage: NFL

8:25 PM ET, December 11, 2014

Edward Jones Dome, Saint Louis, MO 

1 2 3 4 T
ARI 0 6 3 312
STL 3 0 0 36

Top Performers

Passing: S. Hill (STL) - 229 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: K. Williams (ARI) - 15 CAR, 75 YDS

Receiving: S. Bailey (STL) - 5 REC, 74 YDS

Cardinals-Rams Preview

Game Balls: Cardinals vs. Rams
Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss' game ball goes to kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who had four field goals. The defense gets the honor from Rams reporter Nick Wagoner after keeping the Cardinals from scoring a touchdown.

Though the offense has sputtered since quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a season-ending knee injury against the St. Louis Rams one month ago, the Arizona Cardinals remain atop the NFC standings.

But to build on a much-needed victory and avoid a third straight road loss Thursday night -- while missing their leading passer and rusher -- the Cardinals must prevent St. Louis from becoming the first team in 38 years to shut out three straight opponents.

"For some teams, (playing in December) doesn't mean a damn thing except the season's almost over," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. "This one means a lot because everything rides from here on in, so every game is a real playoff game, especially in the NFC."

Arizona (10-3) has four offensive touchdowns in four games since a 31-14 win over St. Louis on Nov. 9, when Palmer tore his ACL while being sacked by safety Mark Barron in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals weren't an offensive juggernaut with Palmer under center, though they recorded at least 24 points five times while going 6-0 in games he started.

They scored at least 20 in the three Drew Stanton started as Palmer was sidelined with a shoulder problem earlier this season, but have averaged 14.0 during his latest starting stint as he's thrown five interceptions in four games. Top rusher Andre Ellington also struggled after Palmer went down, and he was placed on season-ending injured reserve this week with a hip problem.

However, his replacement, second-year back Kerwynn Williams, came through with 100 yards on 19 carries in his third NFL game Sunday in a 17-14 home victory over Kansas City.

"I didn't know what my role was going to be," said Williams, who had never touched the ball prior to Sunday. "I just wanted to be prepared whatever it was."

The Cardinals avoided a third straight loss and remained one game ahead of Seattle in the West. They also own the tiebreaker over Green Bay for the top spot in the conference.

Arizona, which fell 19-3 at Seattle on Nov. 23, hosts the rematch next weekend.

The Cardinals know they first face a tough task against the Rams (6-7), who have allowed 34 points while going 3-1 since losing at Arizona. They outscored Oakland and Washington 76-0 in the last two weeks.

No team has blanked three consecutive opponents since the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers.

"They're playing as good a football as anybody now," Arizona defensive end Calais Campbell said. "It's a division game, a team you know. They know us, guys you've played against multiple times. It's going to be a good football game."

Though the Rams' latest conquests came against two of the league's lowest-scoring teams with a combined 5-21 record, they're confident that dominance can continue against the offensively challenged NFC leaders.

"I want to see it again," said coach Jeff Fisher, whose team held Washington to 206 total yards in Sunday's 24-0 road victory. "We need to keep playing, keep preparing the way we are."

St. Louis allowed 244 yards in a 52-0 rout of the Raiders on Nov. 30, part of an impressive three-game winning streak at home. The other two victories were against last season's Super Bowl participants, beating Seattle 28-26 and holding Denver to its lowest point total of the season in a 22-7 win.

The Rams limited the Cardinals to a season-low 28 rushing yards on 22 carries last month and have allowed an average of 58.7 while winning four of six.

"We've been locked in and just getting better and tightening up on all the little plays that were hurting us," safety Rodney McLeod said.

St. Louis has recorded 13 sacks in the last two games, including 4 1/2 by defensive end Robert Quinn.

"Guys are playing lights-out right now," said Quinn, who has 10 1/2 sacks on the season. "Hopefully, we just keep it going."

The Rams have recorded more than 20 points in four straight games after doing so three times in the first nine. They've returned two interceptions and a punt for touchdowns in those four.

Shaun Hill has completed 62.0 percent of his passes with six TDs and two INTs while starting the last four games. He earned the job after Austin Davis struggled against Arizona last month, when Patrick Peterson had a 30-yard interception return for a TD and Antonio Cromartie took back Davis' fumble 14 yards for a score.

Five of Peterson's 14 career interceptions have come against the Rams.

Arizona has allowed an average of 16.5 points in the last six games, though the only time it yielded more than 20 during that stretch came in a 29-18 loss to Atlanta on Nov. 30 in its most recent road contest.

Larry Fitzgerald caught a season-high nine passes for 112 yards against the Rams last month and has 29 catches for 288 with three TDs in the last three meetings.

In that same span, Rams tight end Jared Cook has 274 yards and three scores. He had two TD receptions Sunday.


Passing Leaders

D. Stanton55.0171175
C. Palmer62.91626113
A. Davis63.42001129
S. Hill63.3165787

Rushing Leaders

A. Ellington2016603.33
K. Williams532464.60
T. Mason1797654.34
Z. Stacy762933.91

Receiving Leaders

M. Floyd4784117.96
L. Fitzgerald6378412.42
K. Britt4874815.63
J. Cook5263412.23

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

Total YardsARI
Yards PassingARI
Yards RushingARI
Yards AllowedARI
Pass Yds AllowedARI
Rush Yds AllowedARI

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

Arizona leads 15-11
Nov 9, 2014ARI 31, STL 14
Dec 8, 2013ARI 30, STL 10
Sep 8, 2013ARI 24, @STL 27
Nov 25, 2012ARI 17, STL 31
Oct 4, 2012ARI 3, @STL 17
Nov 27, 2011ARI 23, @STL 20
Nov 6, 2011ARI 19, STL 13
Dec 5, 2010ARI 6, STL 19
Sep 12, 2010ARI 17, @STL 13
Dec 27, 2009ARI 31, STL 10
Nov 22, 2009ARI 21, @STL 13
Dec 7, 2008ARI 34, STL 10
Nov 2, 2008ARI 34, @STL 13
Dec 30, 2007ARI 48, STL 19
Oct 7, 2007ARI 34, @STL 31
Dec 3, 2006ARI 34, @STL 20
Sep 24, 2006ARI 14, STL 16
Nov 20, 2005ARI 38, @STL 28
Sep 18, 2005ARI 12, STL 17
Dec 19, 2004ARI 31, STL 7
Sep 12, 2004ARI 10, @STL 17
Nov 23, 2003ARI 27, STL 30
Sep 28, 2003ARI 13, @STL 37
Dec 15, 2002ARI 28, @STL 30
Nov 3, 2002ARI 14, STL 27

Research Notes

Thursday night, the Rams will attempt to become just the 3rd team in the Super Bowl era to pitch 3 straight shutouts, and the first since the Steel Curtain Steelers in 1976.
The Cardinals have won their 11th game of the season, tying the franchise record for wins in a season with 2 games remaining. It's the most wins they've had since 1975, when they played in St. Louis.
If Drew Stanton is unable to play next weekend, Ryan Lindley is likely to fill in at QB for the Cardinals. Lindley has the worst Total QBR in the league over the last 3 seasons among players with at least 200 action plays.
Drew Stanton is 4-of-10 for 13 yards and a sack taken against five or more pass rushers tonight.
The Rams are the 1st team since the 2011 Dolphins to not allow any touchdowns in 3 straight games.
With Aaron Donald's third quarter sack, the Rams now have 23 sacks this season when sending 5 or more pass rushers, most in the league. The next closest team has 17 such sacks.
The Cardinals are the 1st team this season to win a game without scoring a touchdown. It's the 1st win for the Cardinals without scoring a touchdown since 2004 Week 17 vs the Buccaneers.
From Elias: Should Drew Stanton miss time, the Cardinals would be starting their 3rd different quarterback this season. The Cardinals would become the 3rd team in the last 10 seasons to win at least 11 games in a season while starting three different quarterbacks (2010 Steelers, 2005 Steelers).
After taking over for Austin Davis in Week 11, Shaun Hill led the Rams to three wins in their next four games. Hill found success on throws downfield over those four starts, but could not find the same effectiveness against Arizona Thursday, completing 4-of-13 such throws, including an interception.
Shaun Hill struggled to solve Arizona's standard pass rush Thursday, completing 8-of-18 passes for 123 yards, two sacks taken and an interception. The Cardinals' 12 interceptions when sending standard pressure are the 5th most in the NFL.

--The Cardinals sent a DB rusher on 14 of Hill's 43 dropbacks Thursday (32.6%), resulting in 4-of-14 passing for 14 yards. It is the highest percentage of dropbacks in which the Cardinals sent a DB rusher in a game this season.

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