The Rams were only able to muster seven points in the second half, but those seven points were just enough to hold off the Jaguars in a 24-21 win at the dome in St. Louis. Trailing 21-17, Mike Furrey intercepted Byron Leftwich and returned it 37 yards to the Jacksonville 30 yard line. Four plays later, Jamie Martin hit Steven Jackson for a 19-yard pass to give the Rams the lead. After that the St. Louis defense held off two fourth quarter threats by the Jaguars to win it.
The two teams combined for just 14 second half points, but the way the game started, many probably thought they were going to watch a shootout. St. Louis took an early lead when Brandon Chillar blocked a punt just 2:13 into the game and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown.
On the second play of the Jaguars’ next possession, Fred Taylor ran 71 yards for a touchdown and Jacksonville tied the game at 7-7.
The Rams responded with an 83-yard touchdown pass from Jamie Martin to Kevin Curtis on the third play of their next drive. The two teams scored 21 points in the first 4:06 of the game.
It stayed 21-7 until Leftwich hit Ernest Wilford with a 20-yard touchdown strike with 6:48 to go in the first half. The extra point tied the game at 14-14.
St. Louis drove to the Jacksonville 23 and Jeff Wilkins hit a 41-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter to give St. Louis a 17-14 advantage.
Jacksonville was able to score mid-way through the third quarter to take a 21-17 lead.
Steven Jackson finished with 179 yards rushing on 29 carries and caught two passes for 21 yards. Jamie Martin was 13-of-21 for 200 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He hit Kevin Curtis three times for 105 yards and a score. The Rams defense couldn’t do much to stop Taylor, who finished with 165 yards on the ground.
The Rams got the win despite missing starters Marc Bulger, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Leonard Little, Travis Fisher and Claude Terrell. It was their second straight win without Mike Martz, who won’t coach the rest of the season. The Rams improved to 2-1 under Joe Vitt and are 4-4 overall.
Vitt will undergo an angioplasty Monday morning, but is expected to be OK. The Rams have a bye next week.