Derek Anderson hit Larry Fitzgerald for a go-ahead 21-yard touchdown pass with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter and the Arizona Cardinals spoiled Sam Bradford’s NFL debut with a 17-13 victory over St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
The two-time defending NFC West champion Cardinals struggled most of the day with the Rams, who have lost 15 straight division games and eight straight overall to Arizona (1-0).
The top overall pick, Bradford drove the Rams to the Cardinals’ 21-yard line late in the fourth quarter, but he was intercepted on fourth down by Kerry Rhodes.
The Rams (0-1) had one last chance after Tim Hightower fumbled at St. Louis' 29-yard line, but poor clock management doomed them and Bradford’s Hail Mary was intercepted as time expired.
Still, the Rams had to be encouraged by Bradford’s play. The former Heisman Trophy winner was 32 of 55 for 253 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Meanwhile, Anderson and Fitzgerald were out of sync for most of the day. Fitzgerald, who missed time in the preseason with a knee injury, had three catches for 43 yards and the score.
Anderson, who beat out Matt Leinart for the starting job after Kurt Warner retired in the offseason, was 22-of-41 for 297 yards and a touchdown.
His touchdown to Fitzgerald helped the Cardinals overcome three turnovers.