Bradford directs Rams to first win
Monday, September 27, 2010 ~ Updated 12:16 AM
Bradford directs Rams to a 30-16 win against Washington with Jackson on sideline
ST. LOUIS -- Steven Jackson cheered from the sideline as the St. Louis Rams ended a 14-game home losing streak. Somehow they did not seem to miss their offensive star.
Backup running back Kenneth Darby scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter, the defense allowed only three points in the second half and Sam Bradford earned his first NFL win as the Rams overcame Jackson's groin injury in a 30-16 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
"We've put in a lot of hard work for this," Bradford said. "To get to celebrate with those guys, it was a great feeling."
The Rams (1-2) won for only the second time in 29 games overall behind a strong start and even stronger finish, with the biggest offensive showing under second-year coach Steve Spagnuolo.
"What I told the team was any win in the NFL feels good," Spagnuolo said. "When you can rise above some adverse situations, it's even better. Nobody bailed out, nobody panicked."
St. Louis shook off disappointment from a pair of losses by a total of six points to open the season. Bradford was 23 of 37 for 235 yards and one touchdown and one interception, spreading the ball to nine receivers.
Spagnuolo was hopeful that Jackson, who'll undergo an MRI exam today, could play this week at home against the Seahawks.
"All the signs point to that it's not a tear," Jackson said. "I'm just praying and hoping it's not going to be a serious injury."
The Redskins had 116 yards rushing, exceeding their total of 106 yards for the first two games. But they were only 1 of 10 on third down conversions and three times had to settle for chip shot field goals by Graham Gano.
"When you get in the red zone, you've just got to score," McNabb said. "You can't keep getting field goals. That's not going to cut it."
Gano also was the Redskins' stand-in punter after Josh Bidwell felt something pop in his hip during pregame warmups, and got his first attempt blocked.
The Rams led 14-0 after their first two scores in the first quarter this season, fell behind when the Redskins scored 16 straight points plus blocked a chip-shot field goal, and played keep-away after the break. They stymied the Redskins defensively despite going with a pair of backup safeties much of the game. The Rams also got impressive work from the reserve running backs after Jackson was sidelined with a groin injury in the second quarter.
"They came right at us, and we weren't ready," Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "Thirty points, that's very unacceptable. They just kept hitting us with big plays."
Darby had 49 yards on 14 carries and Keith Toston had 22 yards on 11 carries. Jackson finished with 58 yards on 10 carries, including a 42-yard score for the game's first touchdown.
Santana Moss had six receptions for 124 yards and a score for Washington (1-2) but also lost a fumble in the first half that led to a touchdown for St. Louis. McNabb, who will have a homecoming game at Philadelphia next week, was 19 of 32 for 236 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
The pick by Bradley Fletcher at the Washington 41 with 3 minutes, 39 seconds left to play helped the Rams finish it off with Josh Brown's third field goal of the second half.
Rams safety Oshiomoghe Atogwe injured his thigh in the second quarter and the other safety, Craig Dahl, was inactive with a concussion. There was no letup with James Butler and Darian Stewart in the lineup.
Darby, who entered with 2 yards on three carries, gave the Rams the lead for good at 21-16 on a 12-yard run midway through the third quarter. He gained 24 yards on four straight carries to open the fourth quarter, helping set up a field goal.
The Redskins' first turnover of the year, a fumble by Moss, helped the Rams go up 14-0 midway through the first quarter. St. Louis blew a shot to stretch that cushion when Dominique Curry blocked Gano's punt to give the Rams possession at the Washington 26, but Bradford's overthrown pass on the next play was intercepted by Kareem Moore.
The Redskins were opportunistic the rest of the half, with McNabb hitting Moss for a 21-yard touchdown the next play after Mardy Gilyard's lost fumble on a kickoff return, and Phillip Daniels blocking Brown's 21-yard field-goal attempt at the end of the half, keeping the Rams' lead at 14-13.
Gano's third field goal of the game, a 21-yarder, put the Redskins in front for the first time early in the third quarter.
* Rams owner Stan Kroenke made a lap of the dressing room, congratulating each player.
* Curry, one of the Rams' top special teams players, left with what Spagnuolo feared was a serious injury to his right knee in the first half.