The St. Louis Rams are set to face the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday for the 72nd time at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Rams are in danger of losing their slight lead over the Cardinals; currently the record stands at 35-34-2. These two teams go way back in NFL history and even further back than the days of the Rams playing in Los Angeles and the Cardinals playing in St. Louis. If you dust off your NFL history books these two teams have played against each other as far back as 1937 when the Rams were located in Cleveland and the Cardinals were playing in Chicago.
With a history so extensive we decided to look back at the best Rams win over the Cardinals in the past 25 years. That historic win goes back over a decade ago on November 23, 2003. At that point, the St. Louis Rams had a 7-3 record in Week 12, and were making a serious push for the playoffs. The Cardinals were struggling, entering the game with a 3-7 record and 37-13 blowout loss to the Rams already on the books.
The second meeting between the two teams was more of a wakeup call for the Rams. and the Cardinals sent a message loud and clear that read, “don’t underestimate any team in the NFL.”
“The Greatest Show on Turf” had aged a bit, and they definitely weren’t the same Super Bowl-winning 1999 team, but they were effective enough to leave some defenses confused. Right out of the gates, the Rams drove downfield and scored on a one-yard touchdown carry by Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk. Later in the first quarter, quarterback Marc Bulger found receiver Isaac Bruce to put seven more points on the scoreboard.
Midway through the second quarter, the Cardinals scored a field goal to make the score 14-3. With a little over two minutes left in the quarter, Bulger threw an interception to defensive back Renaldo Hill, who returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. The Rams answered back with a Jeff Wilkins field goal to end the first half with the score 17-10.
The Cardinals may have been down by a touchdown, but it was still a victory considering where the Rams were in the standings. They were in the game until Cardinals’ veteran quarterback Jeff Blake made a terrible mistake and threw the ball to Rams cornerback Travis Fisher, who returned the errant pass 57 yards for a touchdown. With the score 24-10, the Cardinals responded with a 54-yard bomb to receiver Anquan Boldin to reduce the lead to 24-17 near the end of the third quarter.
The Cardinals simply weren’t going away, and they tied up the ballgame early in the fourth quarter with yet another Blake touchdown pass to Boldin. Midway through the quarter Cardinals’ kicker Neil Rackers placed the Cards in front of the Rams, 27-24, but Wilkins matched it with a field goal of his own to send the game into overtime. The Rams finally took control and sealed the game with 49-yard Wilkins field goal.
The Rams finished first in the NFC West division with a record of 12-4, while the Cardinals finished last with a 4-12 record. St. Louis was later eliminated from the playoffs in another overtime thriller, this time to the Carolina Panthers 29-23.