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    Rams Appreciate Get-Well Cards

    Rams appreciate get-well Cards

    49 minutes ago • By Jim Thomas

    GLENDALE, Ariz. • The turnover drought is over, and so is the winless streak for the Rams.

    “Oh yeah, it’s been like 50-some odd days,” cornerback Cortland Finnegan said.

    Fifty-two to be exact: 52 days since the Rams last recorded a takeaway and 52 days since they last found themselves in the victory column. Once again, it was the Arizona Cardinals who cured all that ailed the Rams.

    On the strength of four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns by rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins, the Rams snapped a five-game winless streak and a five-game turnover drought with a 31-17 victory over the Big Red.

    “It seems like for weeks, or forever, we’ve been talking about turnovers,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “We kept saying that they often times come in bunches, and they did today. Obviously, our run game was a difference in this ballgame.”

    It sure was. The Rams got a season-high 139 yards rushing from Steven Jackson, including some tough yards in the second half to chew up some clock. On the passing side, rookie Chris Givens enjoyed his first 100-yard receiving game in the NFL with five catches for 115 yards.

    Sam Bradford shrugged off a second quarter end zone interception to throw two touchdown passes — one to Lance Kendricks and the other to Givens. Bradford has completed only 15 passes in two games against Arizona this season, but four of them went for TDs.

    Without a victory since a 17-3 triumph over the Big Red on Oct. 4, the Rams improved to 4-6-1 on the season. They remain unbeaten in NFC West play at 3-0-1, with division leader San Francisco dropping in at the Edward Jones Dome next Sunday.

    “We just needed to get a win,” Bradford said. “All it takes is one. Now we know we can do it. We won on the road, which is big, too. Hopefully, we can build on this and just continue to get better.

    Trailing 17-14 after an up-and-down and at times frustrating first half, the Rams dominated on both sides of the ball in the second half. Jackson got the Rams going with a 46-yard cutback run on their first play of the second half. It was Jackson’s longest run from scrimmage since his 47-yard TD run to open the 2011 season against Philadelphia.

    After a 9-yard run by rookie Daryl Richardson, the clock was stopped because of an injury to Big Red linebacker Quentin Groves. Bradford and Givens made the most of the clock stoppage, noticing that little-used Arizona rookie defensive back Justin Bethel was lined up to cover Givens on the next play.

    “I went to Sam excited and told him, ‘Let’s take a shot at him. This guy, he’s not ready,’ ” Givens said.

    “We saw that (No.) 31 was in the game — we wanted to go after him,” Bradford said. “Chris did a great job; it was a great catch. Fortunately he was able to bring it in for a touchdown.”

    At the line of scrimmage, Givens beat Bethel’s attempt at press coverage to get separation, then laid out for a diving catch and a 37-yard TD that gave the Rams their first lead of the game at 21-17 with 9:58 to go in the third quarter.

    In fairness to Bethel, it took a good throw and a great catch to beat him on the play. His coverage wasn’t bad.

    “I figured they would be going at a rookie,” Bethel said. “My first time out there, you know they are going to take shots at you. I was on him and I got my hand on the ball a little bit.”

    Later in the second half, the Rams added Jenkins’ second interception return for a TD and then tacked on a 19-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein for their final points, outscoring Arizona 17-0 after halftime. Safety Craig Dahl and linebacker James Laurinaitis also came up with interceptions in the second half, giving the Rams four interceptions for the first time in a regular-season game since a Dec. 15, 1996 victory over Atlanta.

    Until Sunday, the Rams hadn’t had a takeaway since a strip-sack against the Cardinals and hadn’t had an interception since getting Russell Wilson three times Sept. 30 against Seattle. For a Rams offense struggling to hit its stride, the help was appreciated.

    “When you give an offense that much field position, that’s great,” left tackle Rodger Saffold said. “That is such a confidence booster. Also finishing in the end zone. Sometimes you get too excited and you start saying, ‘We’re never going back out on the field, offense!’ ”

    It wasn’t quite like that, but close enough. In “finishing” his two interceptions in the end zone, Jenkins became the first player in Rams franchise history to return two for a touchdown in one game.

    “They just made me aware of (the record), but I’ve gotta continue playing football,” Jenkins said. “I’m glad I broke it. I feel good.”

    On Jenkins’ first “pick 6,” he was lined up on wide receiver Michael Floyd, but jumped on a quick out route to LaRod-Stephens Howling in the slot area and raced 36 yard for the Rams’ first score, tying the score at 7-all.

    “I knew by watching film this week, he’s a rookie quarterback, he’s gonna try to get the ball out quick,” Jenkins said. “And I just broke on what I saw.”

    “He” being Ryan Lindley, a sixth-round draft pick from San Diego State making his first NFL start Sunday for Arizona.

    Jenkins’ second interception came after the Rams squandered a 38-yard interception return by Dahl because of a holding penalty on Saffold and then a missed field goal by Zuerlein. On the interception, the Rams were in “2-man” with Jenkins playing man coverage, and the safeties in a two-deep shell.

    “I played everything under me,” Jenkins said. “I turned and the ball was short, and I just ran back to the ball and ran to the end zone.”

    This one covered 39 yards and came with 2:39 to play in the third quarter. Lindley, feeling pressure from a Rams blitz, delivered the ball off one foot and didn’t have much on the throw. Jenkins turned at just the right time to intercept the pass, giving an assist on the play to the sellout crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium.

    “The crowd kind of tells you when to turn your head and lets you know when the ball’s coming,” Jenkins explained. “When the crowd started yelling I just turned around, saw the ball, and just made a play on the ball.”

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    Re: Rams Appreciate Get-Well Cards

    “The crowd kind of tells you when to turn your head and lets you know when the ball’s coming,” Jenkins explained. “When the crowd started yelling I just turned around, saw the ball, and just made a play on the ball.”
    When I watched that play, I could not figure out how he knew when the ball was coming. All of a sudden he knew the ball was in the air and he turned around and made the play.

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