Week 1 Arizona at St Louis (-5): Rams Defensive Hogs Lead Victory
Arizona at St. Louis (-5)
CHFF Pick: St. Louis 17, Arizona 16
Final Score: St. Louis 24, Arizona 21
Result: A win for CHFF
Game in Review: The St. Louis Rams received great performances from its defensive line and starting tight end to help defeat the Arizona Cardinals on the opening weekend of the 2013 NFL season.
Rams defensive end Robert Quinn beat Cardinals left tackle Levi Brown repeatedly throughout the game, sacking quarterback Carson Palmer three times. Tight end Jared Cook had seven receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns and was wide open all afternoon.
The Rams were No. 1 in the NFL at pressuring the passer last year, forcing a Negative Pass Play on 11.52 percent of dropbacks according to our Defensive Hog Index. They picked right up were they left off against the Cardinals.
Though both quarterbacks played well throughout most of the game, Sam Bradford (100.7 passer rating) had the edge over Palmer (96.6 rating) because of line play. Palmer went down four times in total and also threw an interception.
That's a total of five Negative Pass Plays in 44 dropbacks (11.35%) for Palemer and the Cardinals, nearly identical to the rate at which the Rams pressured passers in 2012.
Bradford was hit numerous times and hurried out of the pocket even more, but the Rams did not allow a sack. With the lack of push from the Cardinals front seven, Bradford had all day to find receivers, and it led to the win.
The Rams overcame multiple personal foul penalties at inopportune times in the win. While they do not appear to be a disciplined team, they do have the weapons on offense and defense to compete in the talented NFC West division.
Other top performers from this game were Rams MLB James Laurinaitis (6 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 QB hit), Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (8 receptions, 80 yards, 10.0 YPC) and Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein (4-4 FG, 1-1 XP, long of 48).
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