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 it’s 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 need it.”
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 28.
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 CB Shawn Springs broke his shoulder blade in the first quarter.