The Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 17-13, on Sunday to get to a record of 3-1 for the first time since 2006.
Each week we review the tape to take a look at what worked, what didn’t and what you might have missed.
What: Rams WR Brian Quick’s 65-yard touchdown reception
Down: Third and seven
Time: 2:11 left in first quarter
Brian Quick has suddenly become the Rams’ most devastating offensive player after his role with the team was put in question during the preseason. Here the Cardinals defense doesn’t appear completely set before quarterback Case Keenum snaps the ball.
Still, Quick is played closely by corner Marcus Cooper (41), but he looses his chance to stop the big receiver once he goes airborne. Arizona safety Tony Jefferson is supposed to be Cooper’s backup, but his over pursuit to the sideline, as we noted Monday, gives Quick an open lane to the end zone.
What: Rams CB Trumaine Johnson picks off Carson Palmer
Down: First and 10
Time: 3:00 left in second quarter
Watch corner Trumaine Johnson’s (22) head on this play. He keeps his eyes on quarterback Carson Palmer, who stares down the right side of the field, during the entire play while running step-for-step with receiver John Brown (12). When Palmer sends up the fifty-fifty ball, Johnson has the better position and the smaller receiver never has a chance on it.
What: Rams FS Cody Davis saves a potential touchdown on a return
Down: Fourth and four
Time: 4:23 left in second quarter
This is an impressive stop by safety Cody Davis, even as the Rams give up a 19-yard return to John Brown (12). Davis (38) is sent in motion to the gunner spot on the right side and pinballs through the Cardinals’ special teams unit. Brown only had punter Johnny Hekker (6) and linebacker Bryce Hager (54) to beat for a touchdown, but Davis runs him down.
In all, Davis runs more than 70 yards north-south plus all the ground he covers from the numbers to the center of the field and back out again.
What: Rams’ creative blitz results in DT Aaron Donald forcing Palmer to fumble
Down: Second and nine
Time: 10:43 left in third quarter
This is a tricky formation from the Rams. Notice how Rams safety/linebacker Mark Barron (26) is set inside with middle linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) in the defensive tackle spots with Aaron Donald (99) lined up as an end over the right tackle.
Then, way outside of the tight end is another defensive end, Ethan Westbrooks (93). But that’s not all, defensive ends Cam Thomas (92) and Eugene Sims (97) are in on the play on the other side of the line. Can you feel the pressure?
On this, Donald simply beats D.J. Humphries (99) one-on-one, forcing the tackle to dive in a last-ditch effort to keep him from the quarterback. He fails. Donald hits Palmer and causes a fumble. Havoc is part of the plan.
What: Rams WR Tavon Austin’s 47-yard punt return to set up the go-ahead touchdown
Down: Fourth and 14
Time: 5:35 left in fourth quarter
Jeff Fisher said the Rams were counting on eventually getting a return against the Cardinals. This one was so good it helped set up the game-winning score. The Rams double up on Arizona’s gunners on the outsides, but the key is corner Justin Bethel (28) falling on the top side of the play.
Without a man to block, Cody Davis (38) and Troy Hill (32) run back downfield to provide extra protection for Tavon Austin, who also saw Bethel was down before running toward the well-blocked portion of the field. Arizona helps the Rams out even more with an additional 15 yards thanks to a facemask.
Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme