Jackson keeps Rams playoff dreams alive
By R.B. Fallstrom
AP SPORTS WRITER
More excitement like this and the St. Louis Rams won't have to worry about TV blackouts.
Steven Jackson wrapped up a big day with a 21-yard touchdown run in overtime, Marc Bulger tied his career best with four touchdown passes and the beleaguered defense made a big play in regulation in a 37-31 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
The Rams (7-8) rallied on the day the franchise's 95-game streak of regular-season sellouts ended. The franchise also had five playoff sellouts during the run that began in 1995 when it moved from Los Angeles, and it ended with an attendance of 62,324 -- more than 3,000 shy of capacity at the Edward Jones Dome.
St. Louis has won two straight after losing seven of the previous eight, keeping alive faint playoff hopes.
The Rams missed a chance to wrap it up in regulation when Jeff Wilkins was wide left on a 41-yard field goal as time expired. Washington squandered it's own opportunity when Ladell Betts was stripped by O.J. Atogwe after a 25-yard gain and Corey Chavous recovered at the St. Louis 12 with 2:02 to go.
Betts tied a franchise record with his fifth straight 100-yard rushing game for the Redskins (5-10), and also topped 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career.
Washington scored more than 20 points for the first time in seven games, getting 21 in the first half alone. But the Redskins' defense allowed more than 30 points for only the third time.
Jackson had 150 yards on 33 carries and six catches for 102 yards, a 252-yard day that allowed him to become the Rams' first 2,000-yard man since Marshall Faulk in 2001. He transformed a short pass over the middle into a career-best 64-yard scoring reception in the third quarter to begin the comeback from a 28-14 deficit, and broke a few tackles on the winning run.
Isaac Bruce caught nine passes for 148 yards for the Rams, giving him his eighth 1,000-yard season.
Jackson's only mistake, a fumble after a 5-yard catch, allowed the Redskins to tie it on Shaun Suisham's career-best 52-yard field goal with 3:21 to go.
Betts scored on a pair of 6-yard runs, and his second score gave the Redskins a 28-14 lead in the third quarter.
Jackson accounted for 101 of 151 yards on two drives later in the quarter that allowed the Rams to tie it. Besides the 64-yard reception, he rushed for 37 yards on four carries to help set up Stephen Davis' 10-yard touchdown on a shovel pass that tied it at 28.
Vernon Fox's blocked punt, the second of the season and second this month for Washington, had given the Redskins momentum in the first half. That play set up Betts' first touchdown to tie it at 14. Jason Campbell went 3-for-3 on the Redskins' final drive of the half, ending a string of eight straight incompletions, and a 9-yard pass to Chris Cooley with 21 seconds to go made it 21-14.