Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'NOT ELITE'; Banged-Up Rams Run over Jaguars Defense Yields 200 Yards Rushing

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'NOT ELITE'; Banged-Up Rams Run over Jaguars Defense Yields 200 Yards Rushing

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

ST. LOUIS -- On the scoreboard, the St. Louis Rams beat the Jaguars 24-21 with a makeshift offense.

In reality, the Jaguars beat themselves on Sunday with poor execution and left coach Jack Del Rio with one conclusion.

"This team is not [an] elite [team]," Del Rio said. "When we play well, we can play with anybody. When we don't play well, we can be beat by anybody. Only a few elite teams can kind of overcome bad play by pouring it on late."

The Jaguars, who went into the game with a 4-2 record, lost to a Rams team playing without six starters, including four Pro Bowl players. They were without their starting quarterback and two top receivers.

"It's very disappointing. You look at it and we got beat by a backup offense," safety Deke Cooper said.

Still, the Jaguars had a chance to pull it out in the fourth quarter when they took over on their 30-yard line with 4:45 left.

After Fred Taylor, who rushed for 165 yards, was thrown for a 2-yard loss on first down, the Jaguars called nine consecutive passing plays.

They advanced to the St. Louis 45, but Byron Leftwich threw four consecutive incomplete passes to end the final drive. Matt Jones tried to catch the second and third down passes with one hand.

The Jaguars, who hadn't given up a point in the first quarter all year, put themselves in an early hole when the Rams scored two quick touchdowns.

First, the Rams blocked Chris Hanson's first punt of the game and returned it for a touchdown even though the Rams used the same scheme the Jaguars worked on in practice last week.

On the Rams' third play after Taylor tied the game 7-7 with a 71-yard touchdown run, backup quarterback Jamie Martin threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to backup wide receiver Kevin Curtis, who seemed surprised he was so open.

"I don't think I have ever run that far. It's a long way. I started to run out of gas there at the end, but it was just a perfect play call," Curtis said. …

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