Confidence key to Rams' turnaround

Confidence key to Rams' turnaround
October 14, 2013, 8:54 pm
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St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins (21) is tackled by Houston Texans tackle Ryan Harris after intercepting a pass by the Texans' T.J. Yates during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, in Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(APWF)

ST. LOUIS (AP) The St. Louis Rams stayed confident despite a rough 1-3 start to the season.

Now that they've bounced back to win two in a row, coach Jeff Fisher says his club's ability to stay on an even keel through the bad beginning played a key role in the turnaround.

``They really never lost their confidence, they just lost games,'' he said.

The Rams (3-3) used a well-balanced effort to knock off Houston 38-13 on Sunday.

Fisher lauded the play of quarterback Sam Bradford and defensive tackle Michael Brockers on Monday.

Bradford completed 12 of 16 passes for 117 yards and three touchdowns. His posted a career-best quarterback rating of 134.6.

That came on the heels of another strong effort in a 34-20 win over Jacksonville on Oct. 6. Bradford completed 19 of 34 passes for three touchdowns. He has six TDs and no interceptions over the past two games.

``He's been great, no mistakes,'' Fisher said. ``He's managing the game. He's carrying on.''

Bradford came under fire during one-sided losses to Dallas (31-7) and San Francisco (35-11) in Weeks 3 and 4.

On Sunday, Brockers turned in what Fisher called, ``his best game as a Ram.''

The Rams' first-round draft choice in 2012 had seven tackles, three for losses and two sacks.

``He was clearly the best tackle on the field,'' Fisher said. ``He was very productive in the run game, the pass game, effort.''

The Rams also improved in two of their previously weaker areas. The rushing game was solid after a dismal start to the season.

Zac Stacy, in his second full game as the featured back, rushed for 79 yards on 18 carries. He ran for 14 yards on third down to keep the opening drive of the third quarter alive.

St. Louis scored on that key drive to go up 24-6. Stacy, the Rams' fifth-round draft choice from Vanderbilt, helped his club establish its running game with 56 yards on the ground in the opening half.

``The ability to run the football forced the defense to be balanced,'' Fisher said. ``Because we ran the football a little better, it created a lot of opportunities. It was good to see.''

The special teams also turned in their finest effort of the season. Rookie free agent Daren Bates scored on an 11-yard fumble recovery to cap off a 14-point third-quarter scoring run.

Rodney McLeod ripped the ball from Keshawn Martin on the kickoff and Bates picked it out of the air and ran in for the score.

The special teams had been whistled for 17 of the Rams' 33 penalties over the first five games, but had just one penalty on Sunday. That came when Greg Zuerlein booted the second-half kickoff out of bounds.

St. Louis will play at Carolina (2-3) on Sunday.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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