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10/06/2013 5:51 PM EDT
Rams end slump, beat winless Jaguars 34-20
ST LOUIS 34, JACKSONVILLE 20
By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Rams had 10 days to mull over a
dispiriting blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the third
straight time they were so far behind there was no coming back.
Sure, it was winless Jacksonville on the other side of the ball.
At this point, it didn't matter.
"It just takes a snowflake to start an avalanche," said safety
His 82-yard interception return for a touchdown was one of
several big plays from the defense in a 34-20 victory over the
Jaguars on Sunday that ended a three-game losing streak.
"We needed to get a spark and I'm thankful that I'm the one to
spark it off," he said.
Sam Bradford threw three touchdown passes, two of them to Austin
Pettis, with no interceptions. Bradford was sacked just once
after the 49ers and Cowboys combined for 11 the previous two
The running game finally clicked with rookie Zac Stacy rushing
for 78 yards on 14 carries in his first start.
"It never gets old getting into the end zone," Pettis said. "We
played a pretty complete game, and we got a win."
The matchup met NFL qualifications for a sellout, but attendance
of 54,266 was about 12,000 shy of capacity.
Pettis' 31-yard TD catch with 5:45 to go put the Rams (2-3) up
by two scores. St. Louis, which had trailed by double digits in
every game, established control with a 17-point second quarter
after Jacksonville (0-5) had a pair of early leads.
Jaguars rookie left tackle Luke Joeckel was carted off with a
broken right ankle in the first quarter and is out for the
season. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert injured his left hamstring in
the third quarter and didn't return.
"He had a lot of up-side and was getting better each and every
game," coach Gus Bradley said of Joeckel. "It's sad to see him
go down like that."
The NFL's lowest-scoring team had to settle for its best
offensive day of the season. Justin Blackmon had a big debut,
Maurice Jones-Drew topped 10,000 total yards for his career and
Gabbert threw his first TD pass of the year.
Bradley said Gabbert is still the starter next week at Denver if
"That's a glimpse of what we can do," Blackmon said. "We've got
playmakers here. We know it. We've just got to go out there and
Blackmon caught his first pass of the year for a 67-yard score
after serving a four-game suspension. He had five receptions for
Cecil Shorts III caught a 4-yarder from Chad Henne early in the
fourth that cut the gap to a touchdown.
Pettis got away from Will Blackmon on the clinching score to cap
an 80-yard drive. His 4-yard TD catch at the end of the first
half finished a 12-play, 90-yard march to make it 24-10.
Chris Stewart set up a touchdown with a forced fumble and fumble
recovery in the second quarter. James Laurinaitis intercepted
Gabbert in the end zone in the third quarter to keep the Rams up
Joeckel was hurt when a Rams lineman rolled under him on a run.
Joeckel was the second pick in this year's draft and started at
left tackle after Eugene Monroe was traded to Baltimore for
multiple draft picks.
Robert Quinn helped set up Giordano's interception when he got a
piece of Gabbert on the pass rush. Gabbert stepped up but
overthrew Blackmon, and Giordano threaded his way across the
field to tie it at 7 late in the first quarter.
Gabbert was 2-0 at the Edward Jones Dome in college, helping
Missouri beat Illinois twice in his hometown. He's 5-22 as the
In a span of four plays early in the second quarter, the Rams
tied it on a short field goal by Greg Zuerlein and capitalized
on a turnover to take their first lead. Darian Stewart stripped
Clay Harbor after a short reception and returned the fumble 19
yards to the Jacksonville 16, and Lance Kendricks stretched for
the pylon on the next snap.
The Jaguars totaled eight points in the first half all season
before busting out with 10 in the first quarter. Blackmon's TD
was their longest play of the year.
Jones-Drew had 70 yards on 17 carries and is the third Jaguars
player to top 10,000 yards.
Notes: The Jaguars' Sen'Derrrick Marks got his first sack of the
year plus a pass deflection in the first quarter. ...
Jacksonville's last TD in the first quarter was a 5-yard
reception by Jordan Shipley from Chad Henne against Tennessee in
the 2012 finale. ... Giordano has two career interception
returns for touchdowns, also doing it for the Colts in 2007.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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