(Sunday, October 6th)
Final Score: St. Louis 34, Jacksonville 20
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Sam Bradford tossed three touchdown passes to lead the St. Louis Rams to a 34-20 victory over the winless Jacksonville Jaguars at Edward Jones Dome on Sunday.
Bradford completed 19-of-34 passes for 222 yards for St. Louis (2-3), which snapped a three-game losing skid thanks to a 10-day break following their 35-11 home loss to San Francisco.
"Seemed like a long 10 days, but it was a good win for us," said Rams coach Jeff Fisher. "Thirty-six rushes and 34 pass attempts, balance suggests that you're keeping the ball and creating third down situations that are convertible. Still got a long way to go."
Austin Pettis hauled in four passes for 49 yards and a pair of scores, while rookie Zac Stacy, making his first NFL start, rushed for 78 yards on 14 carries.
"I was able to make a couple of plays and get us the W," said Pettis.
Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne each threw a touchdown pass for Jacksonville (0-5), which has dropped 10 in a row since beating Tennessee in Week 12 last season.
Gabbert started and went 9-for-19 for 181 yards and two interceptions, but left the game with a left hamstring injury early in the third quarter. Henne finished up 7-of-13 for 89 yards.
"The tale of this game was the turnovers," said Jaguars coach Gus Bradley. "So many times this game comes back to ball security and making good decisions with the ball. We'll continue to emphasize that."
Justin Blackmon, who returned from a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, had five receptions for a game-best 136 yards and a touchdown. Maurice Jones-Drew gained 70 yards on the ground.
Early in the first quarter, Ace Sanders fielded a punt back at the Jacksonville 12 and dodged a number of defenders before sprinting down the left sideline for what appeared to be his first NFL touchdown. An illegal block nullified the score and left the Jaguars with poor field position.
Jacksonville started the series pinned down at its own 7, but after a 21-yard completion to Cecil Shorts on third down, Gabbert found Blackmon with plenty of real estate in front of him. The second-year receiver outran the defense for a 67-yard touchdown.
Matt Giordano provided a boost to the Rams later in the first when he picked off Gabbert, who sailed a throw intended for Blackmon, and ran it back 82 yards untouched for his second career interception returned for touchdown.
Josh Scobee and Greg Zuerlein traded field goals for a 10-10 score early in the second.
The Jags took over after Zuerlein's 32-yarder, but lost possession when Clay Harbor was stripped by Alec Ogletree. Darian Stewart recovered the fumble, setting up Bradford's short touchdown pass to Lance Kendricks on the very next play.
The Rams tallied again just before halftime when Bradford drove them 90 yards in 12 plays, resulting in Pettis' 4-yard touchdown grab.
Jacksonville caught a break early in the second half when Chris Prosinski partially blocked a punt, setting up Gabbert and the Jags offense in Rams' territory, but they ultimately came up empty. Gabbert hit Harbor for a 21-yard gain down to the St. Louis 4, but a failed scramble and two incompletions led to a Scobee field goal attempt.
The Rams jumped offside prior to the snap and Bradley decided to roll the dice and go for it on 4th-and-goal from the 2. Offsetting penalties on Gabbert's fourth down incompletion gave him another shot, but he threw into triple coverage and was picked off by James Laurinaitis.
Trailing 27-13 early in the fourth after the teams swapped field goals, the Jaguars attempted a comeback with Henne under center. Jones-Drew carried four times for 35 yards on the 12-play series, which Henne capped with a 4-yard touchdown strike to Shorts in the back of the end zone.
But the Rams had no intentions of slowing down. After converting a pair of third downs to extend the drive, Bradford found Pettis streaking down the right sideline for a 31-yard score.
Starting left tackle Luke Joeckel was carted off with a fractured ankle in the first quarter. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft will miss the remainder of the season ... Jones-Drew became the third player in Jaguars history to surpass 10,000 yards from scrimmage ... Zuerlein improved to 8- for-8 on field goals this season.
10/06 20:26:39 ET
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