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Plays that shaped Rams' season: No. 4

1/26/2015

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Sitting at 1-3 and in desperate need of a win to keep their season on track, the St. Louis Rams jumped out to a 14-0 lead against the San Franciscon 49ers in a week 6 Monday Night Football meeting.

Just two games before, the Rams had jumped to a 21-0 lead against the Dallas Cowboys only to see it evaporate in the second half in part because of a long touchdown pass to receiver Dez Bryant. So the Rams and their fans probably had a bad case of deja vu when, before the end of the first half, Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick dropped back and let a deep pass fly down the left sideline in the direction of receiver Brandon Lloyd.

Lloyd, who spent time with the Rams in 2011, was running all alone and Kaepernick hit him in stride for an easy 80-yard touchdown. The score came with just 27 seconds left in the half and made it 14-10 Rams as San Francisco would go on to a relatively easy 31-17 victory that dropped the Rams to 1-4 on the season.

On the play, Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams called for his defense to sit in a basic three-deep zone with Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins expected to show like he was in Cover 2 before the snap then back off at the snap with the only real instruction to keep the ball in front of him. Instead, Jenkins got caught staring into the backfield as Lloyd performed a double move.

From there, it was an easy pitch and catch for the touchdown.

At the time, Jenkins departed the locker room without speaking to the media. But he did talk about the play later in the week.

"It was all on me," Jenkins said then. "I take full responsibility as a man. I just know on that particular play, I was doing the wrong thing, I was doing my own thing and it won't happen again."

In many ways, the 80-yard touchdown encapsulated the biggest problem the Rams had defensively in 2014. Even after that group started playing up to its potential, it still had a knack for giving up a big play or two that could change the game. Jenkins was often on the wrong end of those big plays though he was far from the only culprit.

Games against Arizona, the aforementioned Dallas contest, the New York Giants, San Diego and even the win against Denver saw similar plays hurt the Rams defense.