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Rams 34, Jaguars 20

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- One dominant quarter was enough for the St. Louis Rams to end their three-game losing streak Sunday.

Scoring 17 unanswered second period points, St. Louis established a 24-10 halftime lead and nursed it through the second half for a 34-20 victory over winless Jacksonville at the Edward Jones Dome.

The Rams (2-3) outgained the Jaguars (0-5) 161-42 in the pivotal quarter, collecting 10 first downs to the visitors' one. The Rams started the period with Greg Zuerlein's 32-yard field goal at the 12:03 mark, tying the game at 10.

After forcing a turnover two plays later -- tight end Clay Harbor fumbled after a 6-yard reception and Darian Stewart returned it 19 yards to the Jacksonville 16 -- St. Louis immediately cashed it in. Sam Bradford hit Lance Kendricks with a touchdown pass on the first play to make it 17-10 with 11:34 left in the half.

Bradford then capped a 12-play, 90-yard drive by hitting Austin Pettis with a 4-yard scoring flip with 27 seconds remaining, giving the Rams their largest lead of the season.

The Jaguars controlled play most of the second half, even when forced to change quarterbacks after starter Blaine Gabbert injured his hamstring in the third quarter. Backup Chad Henne led a 12-play, 80-yard drive early in the fourth quarter, finding Cecil Shorts with a 4-yard touchdown pass that cut the deficit to 27-20 with 10:22 left.

However, St. Louis iced it with an 80-yard touchdown drive of its own. Bradford lofted a 31-yard touchdown pass to Pettis, who beat Will Blackmon's coverage deep down the right sideline, with 5:45 remaining.

After a slow start, Bradford warmed up and finished 19 of 34 for 222 yards and three scores. He got help from a ground game which ranked last in the NFL during the first four weeks as rookie Zac Stacy rushed 14 times for 78 yards before leaving late with a rib injury.

Gabbert, a St. Louis-area product who played college football at the University of Missouri, appeared ready to have a happy homecoming. On Jacksonville's second possession, Gabbert found Justin Blackmon -- playing his first game after a four-game NFL ban to start the year -- for a 67-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead at the 10:31 mark of the first quarter.

But Gabbert gave the lead back when he threw an ill-advised pass over the middle that was picked off by Matt Giordano. The safety took advantage of two nice downfield blocks and went 82 yards for the tying touchdown with 3:08 left in the period.

Gabbert finished 9 of 19 for 181 yards and two interceptions. He was also picked in the end zone by James Laurinaitis on a fourth-and-goal play from the 2 after Jaguars coach Gus Bradley took Josh Scobee's 23-yard field goal off the board to go for the touchdown.

NOTES: CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh) was among the inactives for St. Louis, which also played without starting RT Rodger Saffold for the third straight game. ... Jacksonville TE Marcedes Lewis (calf) was on the inactive list and is out indefinitely. ... Jaguars 1st-round pick Luke Joeckel, who moved to left tackle this week after the trade of Eugene Monroe, was carted off the field late in the first quarter with an ankle injury and didn't return.
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