The Arizona Cardinals came really close to clinching a spot in the playoffs with a hard-fought, albeit ugly 12-6 win over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football.

Sobering the jubilation in the desert was the injury that current starting quarterback Drew Stanton suffered in the third quarter of the win. Stanton limped off the field without putting any pressure on his right leg and was eventually carted off into the locker room for further examination.

Bypassing on rookie Logan Thomas, who played a bit against the Denver Broncos earlier in the season, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians decided to roll with former late-round pick Ryan Lindley for the remainder of the game.

And while Lindley didn’t set the world on fire, he avoided what would have been a costly turnover in the struggle between two powerhouse defenses.

Unfortunately for fans in the desert, reports now indicate that Arizona fears Stanton will be lost for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

Stanton will undergo an MRI either later Thursday evening or early Friday morning to ascertain the severity of the injury, but it didn’t look good.

As you already know, Stanton was called on to be the Cardinals starter after Carson Palmer went down with a torn ACL against these very same Rams back in Week 10. Since replacing Palmer, Stanton has gone 3-2 as a starter with seven touchdowns compared to five interceptions.

If Lindley is indeed called on to replace Stanton, it’s not good news for the 11-win Cardinals. The former San Diego State prospect has thrown zero touchdowns compared to seven interceptions in seven career games (four starts) since being selected in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.

Arizona takes on the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers to end the regular season. With a playoff spot almost certainly clinched, the focus turns to winning the NFC West.

Photo: USA Today