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Monday, September 16, 2013
Upon Further Review: Rams Week 2

By Nick Wagoner

ATLANTA -- An examination of four hot issues from the St. Louis Rams' 31-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Own worst enemy: The Rams again put themselves in a difficult position after spotting the Falcons a 21-point halftime lead. The Falcons didn’t necessarily dominate the Rams the way that deficit would indicate, but big plays and big mistakes by the Rams again put their backs against the wall. This is the second week in a row the Rams have drawn seven penalty flags and given up a defensive touchdown. They were able to overcome it against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 but not on the road against a better Atlanta team.

Julio Jones
Julio Jones got the best of Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, gaining 182 receiving yards on 11 catches.
Rams’ resiliency: On the flip side of those slow starts, the Rams have finished each of their first two games with a flourish. They scored 14 straight to beat Arizona last week and outscored the Falcons 21-7 in the second half Sunday. It wasn’t enough to forge a second stirring comeback win in as many weeks, but there’s no doubting the Rams’ effort and attitude after they again mounted a comeback that nearly allowed them an opportunity to tie it up late against Atlanta.

Jenkins vs. Jones: In Saturday’s matchup breakdown, we took a look at the pending battle between Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins and Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones. Jenkins got the better of Jones in their final two collegiate meetings, but Jones got the most recent laugh Sunday. Jenkins was on the wrong end of Jones’ 81-yard touchdown catch and his share of the rest of Jones’ 182 receiving yards and 11 catches. Jenkins had safety help in the middle of the field but said he played the coverage wrong, and when Jones read Cover 2, he broke to the outside, where he beat Jenkins one-on-one.

Whither Jackson?: Perhaps the biggest storyline for the Rams entering the game against Atlanta was how running back Steven Jackson would fare against his former team. As it turned out, the matchup never materialized. Jackson suffered an apparent thigh injury on an 8-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and never returned to the game, or even the sideline. That’s a sight that became all too familiar to Rams fans in Jackson’s time in St. Louis as soft tissue injuries regularly plagued him as a Ram. As it turned out, the Falcons didn’t need Jackson, or really much of a running game at all, because quarterback Matt Ryan racked up 374 passing yards and two touchdowns.