Redskins sack Bradford 7 times, beat Rams 17-10By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer Monday, Oct 3, 2011
Torain ran for 135 yards and a 20-yard score with his first carries of the season, and the Redskins overcame a potentially devastating turnover with two of their seven sacks in a 17-10 victory over the winless St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
The Redskins, 3-1 for the first time since 2008, roll into their bye week looking like NFC East contenders, their only loss coming by two points last Monday night to the Dallas Cowboys.
“The key is to keep getting better, not play your football in September and October, and we haven’t done that,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “Hopefully we’ll keep getting better each week.
“I think we made some strides with our running game.”
The Rams (0-4) were held to just 177 total yards and one touchdown for the fourth straight week, not enough to climb back from a 17-0 third-quarter deficit. Steven Jackson scored on a 15-yard catch in the fourth.
There are few positives heading into the bye week for the Rams, who have trailed all season save for about 6 1/2 minutes.
“The plays are there to be made,” Jackson said “It’s more than one reason. We keep coming up short and it’s very disappointing, because you have a defense fighting their tails off.”
Torain missed the first two games with a broken left hand and had no touches in Week 3, but averaged 7.1 yards on 19 carries after stepping in for a banged-up Tim Hightower(notes). Torain was untouched until near the goal line on his scoring run that made it 14-0 in the second quarter and added a 39-yard burst that set up a field goal in the third quarter.
James Laurinaitis’(notes) interception and 15-yard return of an underthrown pass from Rex Grossman(notes) gave St. Louis (0-4) the ball at the Washington 19 with about five minutes remaining. The Rams went in reverse with an illegal shift on first down, Stephen Bowen’s(notes) sack for a 10-yard loss on second and Brian Orakpo’s(notes) sack for a 5-yard loss on third down.
That left them with fourth-and-30 and a punt from the Redskins 39. On their last possession, the Rams ran out of downs on their own 39.
Bradford used a hard count to throw off the defense and it backfired, resulting in four of the Rams’ five false starts, a glaring statistic for the home team. Tackle Rodger Saffold(notes) in particular had a rough game overall.
“I’m not going to lie,” Bradford said. “It’s getting frustrating. I think we’re a better team. From the outside, it doesn’t look it.”
Orakpo had 2 1/2 sacks and Bowen added 1 1/2 for the Redskins, who totaled eight sacks the first three games. Washington shut out its opponent in the first half for the first time since the opener last year against the Cowboys.
The Rams have allowed 18 sacks on the year and players were booed off the field at halftime for the second straight week. By the time they showed some signs of life, many fans had already hit the road.
“This bye week comes at a good time,” Bradford said. “It’s a good time for us to get away from it and look at things we’ve struggled with and try to make corrections.”
St. Louis was supposed to contend in the NFC West after a six-win improvement last season to 7-9 but has regressed in Year 3 under coach Steve Spagnuolo, who is 8-28 overall. The Rams have been outscored 41-0 in the first half the last two games and 79-16 in the half overall. They didn’t top 100 yards total offense against the Redskins until the fourth quarter.
“I definitely understand our fans’ frustrations. There were a lot of high expectations with this team,” Jackson said. “I don’t think the season is written off quite yet, but I’m disappointed, too.”
Justin King’s(notes) 50-yard interception return on a ball that went through Moss’ hands put the Rams at the Washington 31 and set up their first score. They settled for a field goal after rookie Lance Kendricks(notes) dropped a pass in the end zone.
Notes: Chris Cooley’s(notes) 427th reception, a 4-yarder in the first half, tied Mike Ditka for 18th on the tight end career list. … Rams OG Jacob Bell(notes) (hamstring) was sidelined in the first half. DT Gary Gibson(notes) injured his right hip in the first half, but returned. TE Michael Hoomanawanui(notes) took a blow to the head, but the Rams did not have a diagnosis. … Shanahan is 3-4 against the Rams and beat them on the road for the first time. … Jackson has scored 56 touchdowns, breaking a tie with Elroy Hirsch for fifth on the franchise list.