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(Sunday, September 8th)
Final Score: St. Louis 27, Arizona 24
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Sam Bradford threw for 299 yards, Jared Cook had a monster debut and Greg Zuerlein's fourth field goal of the day lifted the St. Louis Rams over the Arizona Cardinals, 27-24, in a Week 1 matchup between division rivals.
Cook caught both of Bradford's touchdown passes, amassing 141 yards on seven catches, with his last reception going for 25 yards and helping to set up Zuerlein's go-ahead 48-yard field goal.
Bradford completed 27-of-38 throws and bounced back from a third quarter interception to lead the Rams (1-0) to scores on three of their last four series to cap a comeback victory.
"For a young team to endure some of the things we did today, I'm so proud of the guys. No one ever lost their cool," said Bradford.
Larry Fitzgerald enjoyed the presence of a capable quarterback, as the All-Pro receiver hauled in a pair of Carson Palmer TD passes among his eight receptions, totaling 80 yards.
Palmer, making his debut with the Cardinals (0-1), completed 26-of-40 throws for 327 yards, but had an interception and a crucial fumble to spoil Bruce Arians' first game at the coaching helm for Arizona.
"Obviously, late in the ballgame we've got to make plays on third down, then keep drives alive to win the game," Arians said.
The Rams were trailing by double digits after three quarters, but Bradford had them driving and hit Cook for a 36-yard completion prior to the end of the third. Brian Quick later added a 16-yard reception to put the Rams on the Arizona 1, and Bradford sold a beautiful play-action to hit a wide open Cook in the end zone. The Rams were then within 24-21 after Bradford picked up the two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper.
Robert Quinn recorded his third sack and forced his second fumble for St. Louis on Arizona's ensuing possession, with the end stripping Palmer of the football on the Cardinals' 22-yard line. The Rams recovered and four plays later, Zuerlein kicked a 38-yard field goal to knot the score with 9:06 left to play in regulation.
The Cardinals came up empty on their last two possessions, blowing an 11- point lead they had created in the third on Dan Williams' interception return of a deflected Bradford pass and Palmer's 24-yard touchdown strike to Fitzgerald.
Cook signed with the Rams this past offseason and looked like he was going to make an immediate impact on the score. On the Rams' second possession, he made a catch over the middle and sprinted 47 yards down the field. He looked almost certain to score, but rookie Tyrann Mathieu punched the ball out of his hands from behind and Karlos Dansby dove on it in the end zone for a touchback.
The Cardinals were able to capitalize on the turnover, as Palmer and Michael Floyd hooked up for a 44-yard completion to put them on the St. Louis 4 on the initial down of the second quarter. Two plays later, Palmer flipped a four- yard pass to Fitzgerald for a 7-0 lead.
The Rams got a 36-yard field goal from Zeurlein on the ensuing possession, set up by a 38-yard pass interference penalty on Mathieu, but the Cardinals countered with one of their own as Jay Feely booted a 30-yarder through to make it 10-3.
St. Louis was able to draw even with 26 second remaining in the half, driving 80 yards down the field in just under five minutes. Cook atoned for his earlier mistake, catching a short pass near the sideline and diving into the corner of the end zone for a 13-yard score.
Palmer got Arizona in field goal range with five seconds left after completing three long throws, but Feely's 50-yard try sailed wide right as the first half clock expired.
Palmer was then intercepted by Trumaine Johnson on the Cardinals' first series of the second half, and after the Rams took over on the Arizona 4 following a 29-yard return, Zeurlein booted a 25-yard kick through the uprights for a 13-10 St. Louis advantage.
St. Louis has beaten the Cardinals three straight times, but Arizona holds a 15-12 edge in the series since the Rams relocated from Los Angeles prior to the 1995 season ... Andre Roberts made eight catches for Arizona for 97 yards ... Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 60 yards on 16 carries in his debut with the Cardinals ... Daryl Richardson ran for 63 yards on 20 attempts for St. Louis.
09/09 01:48:27 ET