Leonard Smith set up 10 second-quarter points with a blocked punt and an interception and Neil Lomax passed for three touchdowns in the second half, helping the St. Louis Cardinals to a 43-28 NFL victory today over the Green Bay Packers.
St. Louis (3-1), following a scoreless opening period, scored 26 points in just under 18 minutes extending to the second half.
Green Bay (1-3) lost despite Jesse Clark's 80-yard run, longest ever by a St. Louis opponent, and Lynn Dickey's three scoring passes.
Smith, the Cardinals' strong safety, broke through to bat down Joe Prokop's punt from Green Bay's 24 with St. Louis leading, 9-0, in the second quarter. Three players later, Ottis Anderson (20 carries, 104 yards) scored from one yard out. Moments later, Smith intercepted a deflected Randy Wright pass and went 67 yards to set up the first of Neil O'Donoghue's two field goals, giving St. Louis a 19-0 halftime lead.
"We had that in our game plan. I wasn't getting picked up," Smith said of the blocked punt. "On the interception, Lee Nelson made a good play. The ball shot up in the air. There were about six hands after it, but I got it."
"You can't spot a good football team like the Cardinals 19 points in the first half and expect to win," Packers Coach Forrest Gregg said. "Overall, the difference was our special teams and (our) offense played poorly in the first half."
Early in the second half, linebacker E. J. Junior had an interception to set up Lomax's 39-yard scoring pass to running back Stump Mitchell for a 26-0 lead.
At that point, Dickey replaced Wright, who made his first start as Packers quarterback. Wright completed eight of 17 passes for only 77 yards and two interceptions. Dickey completed 14 of 21 for 175 yards.
Dickey said earlier in the week he didn't think he should start because of recent poor performances. "I didn't bench him to begin with," Gregg said.
"Don't try to dig into my mind because there is nothing there," Dickey said.
Lomax, who had had trouble finding his wide receivers open in three previous games, completed 20 of 38 passes for 260 yards without an interception. Roy Green caught six passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
"I'm going to take what they give me. I've been saying that for three years. Today was a good passing day," Lomax said. "They let me throw over the middle, and I took advantage of it. I just think that the key for our passing game and our running game is protection.