ST. LOUIS — Coach Jeff Fisher referred to tight end Jared Cook's first game in a St. Louis Rams uniform as near perfect.
It was the "near" part of that assessment that could have come back to haunt Cook and the Rams.
Cook, who was signed to a five-year, $35 million contract this winter as a free-agent from the Tennessee Titans, caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams' 27-24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
It was the first multi-touchdown game of Cook's career, but he should have had another one.
"Near perfect, with the exception," Fisher said.
Cook appeared headed for a touchdown after catching a pass over the middle late in the first quarter before having the ball poked out of hands from behind by Arizona rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu around the 8-yard line.
"You have to remind him every so often that you always have to carry that ball high and tight because you never know when something is going to happen," Fisher said.
The ball rolled into the end zone where Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby fell on it for a touchback.
"That's never something that you want to happen," Cook said. "I wish I could have that one back, and I still wish I could have that one back after that type of game.
"It's just a battle of mistakes you come back from. It's just a part of the game. He made a good play."
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said it was important to keep throwing to Cook after the fumble.
"That's what I told him," Bradford said. "When we got on the sidelines., I said, 'Hey bro, be ready because it's coming right back to you.'
"I thought he did a great job because it would have been easy to get down right there. He showed a ton of maturity and confidence coming back and playing the way he did."
Bradford said he wasn't surprised by Cook's overall performance.
"Obviously, he made some huge plays for us out there today," Bradford said. "We've seen him do it all of training camp. I expect him to keep playing like that, and he's going to help us tremendously this year."
Crazy Legs Sam
When Bradford took off for the end zone on a quarterback draw on a 2-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter, no one in the Edward Jones Dome was expecting it.
"How did you guys like that?" Bradford said of his first rushing 2-point conversion. "That was pretty good, huh?
"They had no idea I was going to run the ball on that play, and I think that's why it worked so well. But, hey, we'll take what they give us."
Fisher said Bradford's run was a called play, not an improvisation by the quarterback.
"He's got options," Fisher said. "That's common in the game, but I don't think they expected that out of him."
The Rams' inactives were safeties Darian Stewart and Quinton Pointer, tight end Cory Harkey, linebacker Jonathan Stewart, guard-center Barrett Jones, guard, Brandon Washington and defensive end Gerald Rivers.
* Right tackle Rodger Saffold left the game early in the second quarter because of an injured left knee, but he returned to action later in the period.
* Rookie linebacker Alex Ogletree and cornerback Cortland Finnegan each had a team-leading seven tackles, according to the press box statistics.
* Rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin had six catches for 41 yards in his NFL debut.
* Defensive end William Hayes, who had seven sacks last season, registered a sack and three tackles for a loss.
* It was Fisher's 150th regular season win. It also boosted his career-record on Kickoff Weekend to 11-7.
* After winning the last three meetings, the Rams now lead the overall series against the Cardinals 34-33-2.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.