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Rams 34, Jaguars 20: Ugly, Late And Real

The Rams put up nearly three dozen points in a win that likely doesn't inspire much confidence. Still, it counts.

Dilip Vishwanat

After 15 minutes, it looked like panic was the only appropriate reaction. The Rams had 32 yards of offense that accounted for 0 points in the 1st quarter. Justin Blackmon racked up an early 67-yard TD scamper after an easy underneath reception, and with a late quarter FG, the Rams were down 10-7. Punt return penalty achievement had, yet again, been unlocked.

The next three quarters were skittish, inconsistent and at often times just sloppy. By game's end, the Rams would lock in a 14-point victory that saw rookie RB Zac Stacy emerge as a legitimate starting option in the backfield for the time being. Austin Pettis' role in the offense is solidifying. And Sam Bradford had a decent effort to get his team a much needed win.

But this felt worse than the final score.

The playcalling throughout was inexplicable. Tavon Austin's punt return du jour was, yet again, nullified by just a wonderfully timely penalty, one of a half dozen the Rams picked up to maintain their league-leading infraction tally. Sam Bradford looked at times completely overwhelmed and underqualified. Flashes suggest there's still enough talent in there, but to look that bad against the Jags...

And that's really what this comes down to. Without being mean, the Jaguars are an awful football team. And the Rams looked not much better after 60 minutes, while at moments looking the lesser. If Blaine Gabbert weren't Blaine Gabbert with his 9/19, 181 yard, 1 TD, 2 INT performance, this wouldn't have been nearly the winnable contest that it was.

So now the Rams have a week to try and build off the win before heading to Houston. It doesn't feel like a turning point, but there's still football left to play.

In the immediate aftermath though, this feels more like a gift than an earned victory.