ST. LOUIS — Jeff Fisher began rebuilding the St. Louis Rams’ confidence when he was hired in mid-January. Now they’ve got the results to back it up.
Heading into a three-day break and a 10-day gap between games, the Rams (3-2) have more to savor than just knocking off previously unbeaten Arizona. They’ve already topped their win total from the dismal 2011 season with 11 games to go, and they’re 3-0 at home for the first time since 2003.
“To be in this position and to have this franchise above .500 is a beautiful thing,” middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. “I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The key to the 17-3 victory over the Cardinals was a fast-improving defense that sacked Kevin Kolb nine times, the Rams’ best total in 14 years, with very little blitzing. End Robert Quinn, one of three first-round picks on the line, had a career day with three sacks.
The Rams, who totaled six sacks the first four games, stopped Arizona twice inside the 20 in the final minutes.
“It’s a new mindset overall,” Quinn said. “We knew we had it in us, it’s just really fitting the pieces and getting them to click together. Everything is starting to jell.”
The defense took the pressure off an offense that’s scuffled lately. Tight end Lance Kendricks’ first-quarter touchdown reception was the first TD for the offense in three games.
Quarterback Sam Bradford had one of the worst days of his career, completing only 7 of 21 passes for 141 yards and enduring an 0-for-12 funk that included an end zone interception by Patrick Peterson. There were some drops, but he also threw too high, led receivers by too much, or not enough.
“A lot of little things. It was nothing major,” Bradford said. “We just never really got ourselves in rhythm. Fortunately, our guys up front were able to get the run game going in the second half when we needed it.”