2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Cardinals go for 5-0 in former home city

By R.B. FALLSTROM - AP Sports Writer
    2012-10-03 17:39

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Thirty-eight years ago, the last time the Arizona Cardinals were 4-0, their home was St. Louis and they were known affectionately as the Big Red.

Nearly a quarter century since departing for the desert, they're on top of their game again.

The surprising Cardinals don't have one of the best offenses in the NFL, far from it actually. Throw out the big plays on defense and they're pretty much middle of the road there, too. Their games are going down to the wire, the last one ending in overtime and three of them decided by a total of nine points.

Not surprisingly, they're just a 1-point favorite to beat the St. Louis Rams. On Thursday night, the Cardinals will have a shot at being the first team to 5-0, two wins shy of the 7-0 start in 1974 by a team that featured Hall of Famers Dan Dierdorf, Roger Wehrli, Larry Wilson and Jackie Smith.

One of the advantages to all the close calls is there's no danger of overconfidence.

``Obviously, we're excited to be 4-0,'' coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ``We've had four up and down games. We've had a lot of trauma in them, so there's been a lot of emotion extended.

``But just to be where we are, we're certainly pleased about that.''

The Cardinals have had a knack for handling late-game pressure since midway through last year, when they rebounded from a 1-6 start and became the first NFL team to win four overtime games in a season. All eight of their wins last season were by a touchdown or less.

They're still in that mode, winning the 500th game in club history last week after forcing overtime on Kevin Kolb's TD pass to Andre Roberts with 22 seconds to go. The Dolphins gained 480 yards but scored just two touchdowns last week as Arizona won its seventh straight overtime game.

As coaches say all the time, it's a bottom line business.

``They are a hell of a team, they're really well-coached,'' Rams defensive end Chris Long said. ``They're 4-0 and rightfully so, they've done things to win those games.

``It's going to be a great challenge for us. I really mean that.''

There's good reason for those words of respect.

The series has been quite lopsided between the club that departed St. Louis in 1988 after big money squabbling thwarted plans for a new stadium, and the franchise that replaced them in 1995 after receiving a bounty of concessions. Among them is a lease that could allow to team to leave after the 2014 season if their domed stadium isn't deemed to be in ``first tier status.''

The Cardinals have won 10 of the last 11 since the second meeting in 2006, half of them by double digits, and have a franchise-best seven-game winning streak in St. Louis. Punt returns for touchdown by Patrick Peterson fueled both victories last season, one of them in overtime.

``I'm sorry that those guys are back up on the schedule again,'' Peterson said. ``But if they give me an opportunity, I have to do my job.''

The Rams (2-2) have made great strides under new coach Jeff Fisher, with every game up for grabs in the fourth quarter. The defense has been opportunistic with a league-leading eight interceptions, three of them last week capped by Brandon Fletcher's clinching pick with a minute to go that foiled the Seahawks' comeback bid.

The offense is developing despite severe injury woes on the line, with each member of the patchwork unit receiving a game ball last week after limiting the Seahawks to two sacks. Sam Bradford has had more time to establish chemistry with the deepest group of pass catchers he's had in his three NFL seasons. Cross midfield and they're in range for rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein, who's 12 for 12 and last week became the first kicker in NFL history to make field goals from 50-plus and 60 yards in a game.

If they can end the Cardinals' unbeaten run, they'll be 3-0 at home, where they're slowly regaining fan trust. The franchise was 15-65 the previous five seasons, the worst five-year streak in NFL history.

``Well yes, you establish rivalries, but I wouldn't imagine we have one based on past history over the last four or five years,'' Fisher said. ``We haven't had much a rivalry with anybody, so we have to work toward that, and that comes from having competitive, great games and close games and those kind of things.''

Both teams have a short work week. It'll be the Rams' first prime-time game at home since playing Pittsburgh in 2007, and just the eighth Thursday night game in club history.

Arizona is playing on Thursday night for the first time since 2008.

``It's an easy adjustment for me. I'm 22 years old, so I can bounce back fairly quicker than the other guys around here in the locker room,'' Peterson said.

If the Rams prevail, they'll have a winning record for the first time since 2006, when they began 4-1 before losing five in a row. It's a run of futility running back Steven Jackson, who's been with St. Louis since 2004 and has yet to play on a team that finished above .500.

``I've only been a Ram, so it would feel good,'' Jackson said. ``I hope to retire a Ram, so I hope to have a lot more of those.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tyler EifertJul 30 03:23p

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert said he is 100% healthy for the first time since the beginning of last offseason.

LeGarrette BlountJul 30 01:22p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount was placed on the Non-Football Injury list because he was not able to complete the conditioning test at the start of training camp. [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 30 01:02p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (hamstring) said his hamstrings are fine and that he is 100% healthy entering training camp.

Terrance WestJul 30 12:52p

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West worked with the first-team offense during team drills Thursday, July 30. Head coach Mike Pettine said several running backs will see time with the starters during training camp.

Trent RichardsonJul 30 10:22a

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson is rumored to being unimpressive with his new team.

Tom BradyJul 30 10:12a

Updating an ongoing story, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's lawsuit was transferred to Manhattan, N.Y., by a Minnesota judge Friday, July 30.

Tom BradyJul 30 09:52a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has filed a lawsuit against the NFL asking a Minnesota federal court for penalties against Brady to be vacated. The suit alleges that [ More ]

Jake LongJul 30 09:42a

Free-agent OT Jake Long (Rams) left his visit with the New York Giants Wednesday, July 29, without a deal. It was his second visit with the team without a [ More ]

Joseph RandleJul 29 08:43p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle received strong praise from team owner and general manager Jerry Jones Wednesday July 29. 'We have a player (in Randle) that has the potential [ More ]

Joique BellJul 29 07:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (undisclosed) was placed on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, July 29, as he recovers from offseason surgery. It is unclear what the [ More ]

James WrightJul 29 06:43p

Free-agent WR James Wright (Bengals) was placed on Reserve/Injured Wednesday, July 29.

Jordan ReedJul 29 05:43p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (knee) has been cleared for full participation in training camp, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Chase CoffmanJul 29 04:53p

Free-agent TE Chase Coffman (Titans) re-signed with the Tennessee Titans Wednesday, July 29, according to a source.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:33p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) can be placed on the Non-Football Injury list if/when he signs his franchise tender. Owner John Mara said the team would like [ More ]

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:23p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) is receiving his own medical treatment and rehabilitation at his home. There is currently no timetable for his return. Pierre-Paul, however, could [ More ]

Roddy WhiteJul 29 03:43p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White (knee) had his left knee drained before minicamp, and he could have it drained again before the season ends. White isn't concerned about it, [ More ]

Ryan KerriganJul 29 01:43p

Washington Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan signed a five-year contract extension Wednesday, July 29, worth $11.5 million per season, according to a source. The deal includes a $16 million signing bonus.

Cyrus GrayJul 29 01:13p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Cyrus Gray was released Wednesday, July 29.

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group