LONDON – Cameron Meredith showed the Los Angeles Rams he’s no longer just a practice squad player when he returned a punt for a touchdown in his third NFL game Friday night, breaking open a close game in the second half and helping the Rams to a 30-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in London.
The Cardinals (5-8-1) were rolling until Meredith’s run midway through the third quarter. Later, Jared Goff threw an interception that set up Carson Palmer’s 39-yard field goal that made it 16-13 for the Cardinals in the third quarter.
Tight end Gerald Everett then caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Goff, and the Rams (6-9) led 27-13 heading into the fourth quarter. But the Cardinals, slowed by injuries to cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Jamere Holland, lost running back David Johnson to a right ankle injury in the third quarter and had to punt again.
After Arizona’s first punt, the Rams took over at their own 30-yard line and took three plays to go 87 yards, with receiver Brandin Cooks going 32 yards to the Arizona 31. On third-and-11, backup quarterback Sean Mannion hit running back Todd Gurley for 21 yards and the Rams took over at the Cardinals 33.
Meredith took the punt at the Cardinals 39, took a few steps left on the huddle, turned and took off, going untouched on his way to the end zone for a 16-13 lead.
Cooks finished with four catches for 101 yards, while Gurley, cleared to play just four days earlier after missing one game with a sore knee, carried 16 times for 121 yards and a touchdown. Goff went 24 for 34 for 275 yards and no interceptions.
CARDINALS: Arizona’s chances of avoiding its first losing season since 2011 appear to be fading. Peterson was hurt on a fourth-down sack early in the game, and several others also were hurt or hampered. Backup Chris Moore suffered a concussion late in the first half and could be out for the season.
Rams center John Sullivan left with a concussion in the second quarter.
ROCK ON: Los Angeles backup quarterback Nick Foles tied the Rams franchise record with his 33rd win. It’s now six more than NFL Coach of the Year Jeff Fisher, who still has two years and $10 million left on his contract with the Rams.
Foles, who’s still in limbo with the Arizona Cardinals, had an interception in the first half in his second NFL game and the Cardinals turned it into two scores.
BOUNCING BACK: Arizona got a 26-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald to take the lead with the help of a personal foul called on safety Lamarcus Joyner. It was only Fitzgerald’s second touchdown catch of the season. He had an 18-yard TD catch last week in a win over Seattle.
JOHNSON, KING OUT: Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson missed the first extra point and field goal he’s attempted in his entire career in the first half. The seventh-year pro has never missed a PAT or a field goal from inside 50 yards in his entire career.
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