ST. LOUIS (AP) -- More excitement like this and the St. Louis Rams won't have to worry about TV blackouts.
Steven Jackson wrapped up a big day with a 21-yard touchdown run
in overtime, Marc Bulger tied his career best with four touchdown
passes and the beleaguered defense made a big play in regulation in
a 37-31 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
The Rams (7-8) rallied on the day the franchise's 95-game streak
of regular-season sellouts ended. The franchise also had five
playoff sellouts during the run that began in 1995 when it moved
from Los Angeles, and it ended with an attendance of 62,324 -- more
than 3,000 shy of capacity at the Edward Jones Dome.
"I'm not the business guy," Jackson said. "But I would
definitely sell my team and what we're trying to do here and tell
people, 'You don't want to miss it.'"
St. Louis has won two straight after losing seven of the
previous eight, keeping alive faint playoff hopes. The Rams made it
to the postseason with an 8-8 record two years ago.
"People have continued to lose, and records aren't good in the
NFC," guard Adam Timmerman said. "It's been pretty bizarre."
The Rams missed a chance to wrap it up in regulation when Jeff Wilkins was wide left on a 41-yard field goal as time expired.
Washington squandered its own opportunity when Ladell Betts was
stripped by O.J. Atogwe after a 25-yard gain and Corey Chavous
recovered at the St. Louis 12 with 2:02 to go.
"You never want to look at one play and say that's the reason
why you lost the game," Betts said. "But it's tough when you're
in a situation where we're trying to score, we have a chance to
take the lead and hopefully put the game away."
Betts tied a franchise record with his fifth straight 100-yard
rushing game for the Redskins (5-10) and also topped 1,000 yards
rushing for the first time in his career.
Washington scored more than 20 points for the first time in
seven games, getting 21 in the first half alone. But the Redskins'
defense allowed more than 30 points for only the third time.
The Rams had 579 yards total offense, eighth most in franchise
history and the most since a 614-yard day on Oct. 1, 2000, in a
57-31 victory over the Chargers.
Last week, Washington limited the Saints to a season-low 270
yards, and the Eagles were held to 263 the game before that.
"Somehow, some way, we had to make one play," defensive end
Andre Carter said. "One sack, one interception, one forced fumble
just to hang in there. Unfortunately, we did not do that."
Jackson had 150 yards on 33 carries and six catches for 102
yards, a 252-yard day that allowed him to become the Rams' first
2,000-yard man since Marshall Faulk in 2001. He transformed a short
pass over the middle into a career-best 64-yard scoring reception
in the third quarter to begin the comeback from a 28-14 deficit,
and broke a few tackles on the winning run.
He has 88 catches, breaking Faulk's franchise record set in
1999, and he's the only Rams player to get 100 yards rushing and
receiving in a game.
"With a better record, people would be talking about him like
they're talking about these other guys for MVP," coach Scott
Linehan said. "He's just one of those guys you can go to when you
Isaac Bruce caught nine passes for 148 yards for the Rams,
giving him his eighth 1,000-yard season.
Jackson's only mistake, a fumble after a 5-yard catch, allowed
the Redskins to tie it on Shaun Suisham's career-best 52-yard field
goal with 3:21 to go.
Betts scored on a pair of 6-yard runs, and his second score gave
the Redskins a 28-14 lead in the third quarter.
Jackson accounted for 101 of 151 yards on two drives later in
the quarter that allowed the Rams to tie it. Besides the 64-yard
reception, he rushed for 37 yards on four carries to help set up
Stephen Davis' 10-yard touchdown on a shovel pass that tied it at
Vernon Fox's blocked punt, the second of the season and second
this month for Washington, had given the Redskins momentum in the
first half. That play set up Betts' first touchdown to tie it at
14. Jason Campbell went 3-for-3 on the Redskins' final drive of the
half, ending a string of eight straight incompletions, and a 9-yard
pass to Chris Cooley with 21 seconds to go made it 21-14.
The blocked punt was only the third in 857 career attempts
for the Rams' Matt Turk ... Bruce has 14,310 yards receiving,
passing Andre Reed for seventh on the career list. ... Redskins cornerback
Shawn Springs broke his shoulder blade in the first quarter.
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