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Sunday, October 6, 2013
Three things revisited: Rams-Jaguars

By Nick Wagoner

ST. LOUIS -- Looking back at three things worth watching from the St. Louis Rams' 34-20 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

1. Revving the run. No, seriously this time.

Zac Stacy
Zac Stacy had arguably the best performance for a Rams running back this season.
For the first time since the Atlanta game, the Rams showed some signs of life in the running game as rookie Zac Stacy got the start.

Stacy didn’t break any particularly long runs or even score a touchdown but he showed a knack for falling forward after contact and even made a couple of tacklers miss.

The results were enough to keep the offense somewhat balanced and keep some drives moving.  He finished with 78 yards on 14 carries, an average of 5.6 yards per attempt.

Yes, Jacksonville had the worst rush defense in the league entering the game but the Rams had the worst rush offense. Stacy provided a spark.

2. Slowing the run.

While Jacksonville’s run defense entered Sunday as the worst in the league, it’s rushing offense was better only than the Rams. The hope for the Rams was that they’d be able to get the ship righted against the Jaguars after San Francisco and Dallas gashed them for an average of 206 yards the past two weeks.

For most of Sunday’s game, the Rams showed marked improvement, holding Jacksonville to 46 yards on 14 first-half carries but Jacksonville found a little room in the second half, gaining 50 yards on 11 tries as it tried to mount a late comeback.

Either way, the Rams fared much better against the run in holding the Jaguars to 3.8 yards per attempt on 25 tries and, at least for this week, stopped the bleeding.

3. Secondary first priority.

The Rams were banged up in the secondary with injuries to safety T.J. McDonald and cornerback Cortland Finnegan forcing them to play three safeties in the nickel package in the form of Rodney McLeod (as the slot corner), Matt Giordano and Darian Stewart.

That personnel grouping was on the field often against Jacksonville and though it was far from perfect, it was enough to come up with some big plays, especially Giordano and Stewart.

After the Rams got burned for a long touchdown in the first quarter, Giordano answered with a gift-wrapped interception he returned 82 yards for a touchdown to tie it up.

Later, Stewart forced and recovered a fumble to set up a touchdown gave the Rams a 17-10 lead they’d never relinquish. In the unofficial pressbox statistics, Giordano had four tackles and a pass defended to go with his pick-six and Stewart chipped in six tackles and the aforementioned forced fumble and recovery.