Defense, field goals carry Cardinals over Rams

ST. LOUIS — The Arizona Cardinals lost another quarterback and won another game.

Despite the departure of starter Drew Stanton, Arizona used its stout defense and four field goals by placekicker Chandler Catanzaro to post a 12-6 win over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night in the Edward Jones Dome.

Stanton was knocked out with 8:41 left in the third quarter when his right knee was injured as defensive tackle Aaron Donald sacked him. Stanton hobbled off the field and was carted off shortly after Catanzaro converted a 51-yard field goal for a 9-3 advantage.

Stanton, who completed 12 of 20 passes for 109 yards, was making his fifth start after Carson Palmer sustained a season-ending knee injury Nov. 9. Coincidentally, that occurred against St. Louis in a game in which Stanton threw the go-ahead touchdown pass in a 31-14 win.

Third-stringer Ryan Lindley, not rookie backup Logan Thomas, relieved Stanton on Thursday. Lindley completed just four of 10 passes for 30 yards, spending most of his time handing off to running backs Kerwynn Williams and Stepfan Taylor.

Williams and Taylor combined for 136 yards on 29 carries, slugging out enough yardage between the tackles to set up Catanzaro for two critical second half field goals. Catanzaro’s 46-yarder with 10:48 left in the game made it 12-3.

The Rams (6-8) drew within 12-6 on a 19-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein with 6:07 remaining and drove to midfield with less than two minutes left. However, quarterback Shaun Hill’s pass on fourth-and-3 at the Cardinals 43-yard line was knocked down by cornerback Jerraud Powers.

Hill completed 20 of 39 passes for 229 yards. He had a pass intercepted by cornerback Patrick Peterson on a last-play Hail Mary. St. Louis managed just 280 yards of offense, going more than 20 minutes before picking up a first down in the second half.

The Cardinals finished with 274 total yards.

Arizona (11-3) upped its NFC West lead over Seattle to 1 1/2 games. The Cardinals, who are 7-0 at home, host the Seahawks on Dec. 21, likely with Lindley at quarterback. Arizona finishes the season at the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 28.

St. Louis opened the scoring with 6:57 left in the first quarter when Zuerlein booted a 24-yard field goal. Hill hit running back Benny Cunningham and tight end Cory Harkey for 19 and 21-yard gains, respectively, to key the drive.

Arizona tied it with 13:36 left in the half on a 23-yard field goal by Catanzaro. The score, the first against the Rams’ defense since a fourth quarter touchdown by San Diego Nov. 23, came seven plays after running back Tre Mason fumbled to linebacker Larry Foote at the Cardinals’ 27.

Catanzaro then gave Arizona a 6-3 edge with a 44-yard field goal at the 8:25 mark. Stanton found wide receiver Michael Floyd behind cornerback Janoris Jenkins for a 49-yard pass to set up the field goal.

NOTES: Arizona CB Antonio Cromartie (ankle) and LT Jared Veldheer (ankle) were both active, but RG Paul Fanaika (ankle) was inactive, replaced by LG Ted Larsen. G Jonathan Cooper, who backs up Larsen, got the start at left guard. … St. Louis DE Chris Long (ankle) was active after a full practice on Wednesday. … The Rams entered the game with 34 sacks in their last eight games, tops in the NFL. They managed just one sack, by DT Aaron Donald, against the Cardinals.

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