Bradford leads Rams to victory
Sam Bradford threw three touchdown passes as the St Louis Rams beat the winless Jacksonville Jaguars 34-20 on Sunday.
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In addition, Matt Giordano's 82-yard interception return was one of several big plays from the defense in a victory that ended a three-game losing streak for the Rams.
The match-up met NFL qualifications for a sellout, but an attendance of 54,266 was about 12,000 shy of capacity.
Austin Pettis' 31-yard TD catch with 5:45 to go was his second of the day and 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 quarterback Blaine Gabbert injured his left hamstring in the third quarter and didn't return. Rookie left tackle Luke Joeckel was carted off with a right ankle injury in the first.
Justin Blackmon caught his first pass of the year for a 67-yard score for the Jaguars after serving a four-game suspension. He had five receptions for 136 yards.
Cecil Shorts III caught a four-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 four-yard TD catch at the end of the 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 and James Laurinaitis intercepted Gabbert in the end zone in the third quarter to keep the Rams up by 14.
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 seven 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 5-20 as the Jaguars' starter.
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 totalled 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.
Maurice Jones-Drew became the third player in franchise history to top 10,000 yards from scrimmage on a 20-yard carry that led to Josh Scobee's 48-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead near the end of the quarter.