Rams' troubles continue against Jets

Monday, November 19, 2012
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford reacts after failing to complete a third-down pass against the Jets during the fourth quarter Sunday in St. Louis. The Jets won 27-13. (CHRIS LEE ~ Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS -- Chris Long refused to sugarcoat the St. Louis Rams' latest loss.

The Rams' defense did not force any takeaways, while the New York Jets picked off one pass and recovered two fumbles -- turning both into touchdowns in a 27-13 victory on Sunday.

"It was just ugly," Long said. "We can be a lot better, and we should be. I guess you can attribute it to being young, but it's not an excuse. We have to be more consistent."

Mark Sanchez was solid for the first time in several weeks, the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback leading a turnover-free offense -- something the Rams couldn't say of their own offense.

"Anytime you turn the ball over -- I don't care who you play in the National Football League -- three times, you have a hard time if you don't get the ball back yourself," St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher said. "We got outplayed today."

Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford sits on the bench during the fourth quarter of the Rams’ loss to the Jets. (Seth Perlman ~ Associated Press)

St. Louis' defense hasn't forced a turnover in five consecutive games, tying the NFL's longest such slump since 1950.

"It's been too long since we've created turnovers," Long said. "We've got to do our part."

The beleaguered Sanchez was an efficient 15 of 20 passing for 178 yards and a touchdown, while Tim Tebow was merely a footnote. New York, which also dominated on defense, stopped a three-game losing streak and will head into a Thanksgiving night meeting against the AFC East-leading New England Patriots with renewed confidence.

"If you really take the positives from this game, build on those, continue to get better and improve, we can become a team that just doesn't turn the ball over," Sanchez said. "That could be our identity, if you want it to be and if you work at it."

Bilal Powell ran for the first two touchdowns of his career, Chaz Schilens scored on a 25-yard reception and Nick Folk kicked a pair of 51-yard field goals for the Jets (4-6), who were outscored 58-16 the previous two games. The Jets overcame a tumultuous practice week with several anonymous players quoted in a newspaper report disparaging the ability of Tebow, who had a handful of snaps but was no factor.

Jets receiver Chaz Schilens catches a 25-yard touchdown pass behind Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson during the second quarter Sunday in St. Louis. The Jets won 27-13. (CHRIS LEE ~ St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The Jets, moving past blowout losses at Seattle and against Miami, led 13-7 at the half and put it away with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

"Our guys have been working extremely hard, and I'm really happy for all of us that it showed," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "We needed a win, obviously, in the worst way."

Konrad Reuland's 18-yard catch to the 5, the longest of his career, set up Powell's 5-yard run for a 20-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Powell, questionable after sustaining a concussion against the Seahawks last week, shared carries with Shonn Greene and added an 11-yard TD run that made it 27-7 midway through the fourth quarter.

Brandon Gibson caught a pair of short touchdown passes for the Rams (3-6-1), who are in an 0-4-1 slump.

The Rams were favored for the first time this season -- a 3 1/2-point pick coming off a 24-24 tie at San Francisco a week earlier -- to beat a team that had been sliding. They've lost two straight at home -- three in a row counting a blowout loss to the Patriots in London -- after a 3-0 start.

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, right, holds on to the ball as New York Jets defensive back Ellis Lankster defends during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. The Jets won, 27-13. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

The last St. Louis victory -- 17-3 over visiting Arizona -- came Oct. 4.

"I don't believe in the whole ‘step forward, step back' stuff," Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "We definitely viewed this as a game that we thought we could get, and it's disappointing to lose one at home. I'm not going to lie about it. We have to figure out how to win games like these."

Gibson's 1-yard catch capped an 86-yard drive on the Rams' first possession, and his 2-yard grab cut the deficit to 27-13 with 5:40 to go.

Otherwise, Sam Bradford had little success against the Jets' secondary. He finished 23 of 44 for 170 yards with an interception.

The Jets capitalized on a turnover to take their first lead in more than 10 quarters on Schilens' scoring catch that made it 10-7 with 4:31 to go in the half. Muhammad Wilkerson had stripped Bradford and Bart Scott returned the fumble 38 yards two plays earlier.

Folk is the second kicker in Jets history with two 50-yard field goals in the same game. He's missed just three of 16 attempts, including a pair of blocked kicks over the last three weeks. Janoris Jenkins got all of the ball to snuff a 26-yard attempt in the first half, leaving the Jets with nothing to show for Eric Smith's interception that gave them possession at the St. Louis 13.

The Jets had been 3 for 3 on fake punts before Laurinaitis thwarted a shovel pass from up back Tebow to Lex Hilliard for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-5 from the Rams 45.

Noteworthy

* The Rams have scored a touchdown on the opening drive in each of their last three games. The last time the Rams accomplished that feat was in 2002.

* Jenkins blocked field goal was the first for the Rams since James Hall blocked a 49-yard field goal by San Diego's Nate Kaeding on Oct. 17, 2010.

* Gibson's two TD catches gave him the first multi-touchdown game of his career. Gibson has four touchdowns this season and eight in his career.

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