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Rapid Reaction: St. Louis Rams

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 31-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

What it means: Although the final score wouldn't indicate as much, this was a game that was winnable for the Rams. They actually had the lead entering the fourth quarter and missed some opportunities to put the game away. But, as has been custom all year, the Rams were unable to finish against the best fourth-quarter team in the league in terms of scoring and turnover margin. The Rams are now 3-6 on the season and any realistic hopes of mounting a second-half charge probably faded away with their latest fourth-quarter meltdown.

Stock watch: Down -- Rams quarterback Austin Davis. At halftime, Davis had a passer rating of 145.8, a number that mostly reflected a 59-yard touchdown catch by tight end Jared Cook. Though the offensive line didn't provide much cover and the receivers rarely got open, Davis struggled to recognize blitzes and sufficiently get the ball out in short order. He threw two inaccurate fourth-quarter passes that ended up as interceptions for Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson. Peterson returned one 30 yards for a touchdown to put the Rams away. It was Davis' fourth pick-six of the season. He also coughed up a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. While Davis has done some admirable work, it has become clear that pinning any future hopes on him as a starter would be foolish.

Costly call: With 4:13 to go in the third quarter, Davis hit Cook for a big gain down the right seam, a 41-yard gain that looked to set the Rams up with a prime chance to take a two-score lead inside Arizona's 10. But after Cook broke a tackle and headed for the right sideline, tight end Lance Kendricks delivered a crushing block to Arizona safety Tony Jefferson as he turned to pursue Cook at the 20. The block sprang Cook loose for more yards, but the officials flagged Kendricks for an illegal blindside block. Instead of first-and-goal, the Rams had a first-and-10 at Arizona's 35 and ended up punting. It was a big missed opportunity that dearly cost the Rams.

Game ball: Safety T.J. McDonald. The second-year safety has had his ups and downs in his first season and a half, but he was all over the field Sunday. In what was probably the best performance of his young career, McDonald finished with nine tackles, a sack, three tackles for loss and a quarterback hit.

What's next: Their three-game road swing finally over, the Rams get to head home to take on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos before another trip to the West Coast to play San Diego the following week.