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first_img Top Stories The Cardinals-Rams rivalry is not the best in football. It’s not even the most heated in the NFC West.Yet, the games between the two teams often seem to have incredible ramifications.Since 2013, when Bruce Arians arrived in the desert, just once — in 2014 — have the Cardinals swept the season series.On Sunday, the Cardinals will host the Rams, who now reside in Los Angeles, for the first time this season. In honor of that matchup, here are five of the most impactful things to come out of the teams’ last six meetings. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The start of something greatThe Cardinals were heading for the playoffs, but there was a question surrounding their offense and whether or not rookie David Johnson could take over as the lead running back with Chris Johnson on the shelf. It did not take long for him to answer those questions, as his first game as the lead back saw him gain 99 yards on 22 carries and add 21 yards and one touchdown on a pair of catches in a dominant 27-3 Arizona road win. Johnson would go on to have more impressive games the rest of the way, but his effort that Sunday in St. Louis did a lot to ease concerns over what the Cardinals’ offense would look like without its leading rusher.An outstanding rookie season cut shortMost everything about Mathieu’s rookie season was excellent, save for the fact that it ended early in Week 14. He tore his ACL while returning a free kick following a third-quarter safety. It put an end to a brilliant rookie season, and that it came in a blowout on a freak play made it all the more disappointing. He finished his first season with 63 total tackles, two interceptions, one sack and one forced fumble, and it took him until about halfway through the following campaign before he started to look more like himself. Welcome to the NFL, Tyrann MathieuMuch of the talk over the offseason was about how great the Cardinals’ third-round pick, Tyrann Mathieu, was performing. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact when it counted. In the first quarter of the team’s 2013 Week 1 matchup it appeared the Rams were going to take a lead when QB Sam Bradford connected with a wide open Jared Cook, who was on his way to scoring a 55-yard touchdown before Mathieu chased him down and knocked the ball out of his hands. The fumble was recovered by Karlos Dansby in the end zone, and while the TV announcers gave all the credit to the linebacker, it was the defensive back who made the play and at that time gave a preview of what was to come.The pain of watching 2014 slip awayThe Cardinals were rolling in 2014, and took the field for a Week 10 home game against the Rams with a healthy 7-1 record, which was the best in all of football. They left the game with a 31-14 win, but lost starting QB Carson Palmer to a torn ACL in the process. Backup Drew Stanton came in and, with the help of his defense, led the Cardinals to victory, but just a few weeks later, in the road rematch, he too was lost to a knee injury. The Cardinals limped into the playoffs without their top two passers, and as a result were unceremoniously bounced in the Wild Card round. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments   Share   St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher talk with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians following an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) Them’s fighting wordsThough the Cardinals limped to the finish line in 2014, they managed to clinch a playoff spot with a Week 15 victory in St. Louis. All week long there had been talk about the Rams’ defense — and it was fine in holding the Cardinals to 12 points — but Arizona limited St. Louis to just six points in the win. After the game, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians had some choice words, including “Everybody wanted to talk all that stuff about how great their defense is; I think they saw a good defense tonight — it was in red and white” and “There’s an 11-3 team and a team that’s always 8-8. You figure it out.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more