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James, Shipp lift Cardinals over Rams

Dec 3, 2006 - 9:18 PM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Edgerrin James did the heavy lifting and Marcel Shipp put on the finishing touches.

James rushed for 115 yards and Shipp scored three touchdowns to lift the Arizona Cardinals to a 34-20 victory over St. Louis Rams in an NFC West matchup.

It was the first 100-yard game of the season for James, who signed a four-year, $34 million free agent contract with the Cardinals in the offseason.

It's been a while. It's just something you want to get out of the way," James said of hitting 100 yards. "Around here I didn't realize it was that big of a deal. Now I see. It was a normal thing for me for a while. You get here and you see it's a big thing."

Shipp, the backup to James, scored on runs of one, six and nine yards. He had entered the game with just three carries on the season and hadn't scored a touchdown since December 15, 2002.

"It's been a few years," Shipp said of his touchdown drought. "I'm just happy and thankful that I was able to get into the end zone. I give a lot of credit to the offensive line. Edge did a great job running and just set me up to score the touchdowns today."

Rookie quarterback Matt Leinart completed 15-of-26 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown for Arizona (3-9), which matched its season high for points set in Week One and won for just the fourth time in 22 games on the road under coach Dennis Green.

The Cardinals dominated the game, taking a 17-3 lead at halftime on a one-yard run by Shipp and Leinart's 11-yard TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald. The Rams never got closer than 24-13.

"We have not played our best football on the road," Green said. "We have played a lot better at home than on the road. This is the first time on the road where we played about as well as we could play and as well as we played at home, so that's a good sign for our guys."

The loss was a costly blow to the playoff hopes for St. Louis (5-7), which had snapped a five-game losing streak last week against San Francisco.

"I don't ever look at things like they are over and done," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "I think we put ourselves in a worse position by winning we would have been in a very favorable position but now it's an uphill battle. That is just reality but we have to keep playing.

St. Louis' Marc Bulger finished 24-of-44 for 314 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in falling to 7-2 lifetime against Arizona. He was livid with his team's lackluster effort.

"It's the same old story all year," Bulger said. "I'm not perfect, I don't play perfect games and I admit when I'm wrong and I care. I know there's some guys in here that don't care, it's obvious.

"It just seems like the same stuff that comes up. The same mistakes. I'm not pointing fingers at certain people because I certainly didn't play perfect and I haven't been playing perfect. I care and what bothers me are some guys that don't."

St. Louis' Isaac Bruce caught five passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. He moved past Jimmy Smith for the seventh-highest receptions total (867) in NFL history and also became the ninth NFL player to surpass 13,000 yards.

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