LANDOVER, Md. — Washington Redskins rookie running back Matt Jones already has this NFL scoring celebration thing down pat.
Jones ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns — following each with a flourish — an efficient Kirk Cousins avoided any turnovers, and the Washington Redskins dominated for a half, then held on to beat the St. Louis Rams 24-10 on Sunday.
Jones, a third-round draft pick out of Florida, scored from 39 yards in the first quarter, and from 3 with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the fourth. After his first TD, he jumped into the front row of the stands. After the second, Jones clapped his hands together, doing his college’s "Gator Chomp" celebration.
With their revamped defense looking good for the second game in a row, the Redskins (1-1) led 17-0 at halftime, the first time they shut out an opponent in the first half since Oct. 2, 2011, also against the Rams (1-1).
Cousins went 23 for 27 for 207 yards and a 4-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon. Most importantly, he did not throw an interception. His pair of picks in a Week 1 loss to Miami gave him 21 in 15 NFL games.
Robert Griffin III was inactive for Washington, reduced to No. 3 quarterback status behind Cousins and Colt McCoy.
Nick Foles was 17 for 32 for 150 yards, with a 40-yard score to Kenny Britt that got the Rams within 17-10 in the third quarter. That came two plays after Robert Quinn poked the ball away from Jones, causing a fumble that T.J. McDonald recovered on Washington’s 49.
But Jones — and the Redskins — rebounded well, with Cousins directing a 12-play, 77-yard drive that ate up more than 6 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter and was capped by the running back’s second score.
For St. Louis, this was the latest example of their inability to play well right after a matchup against NFC West rival Seattle. A week ago, the Rams beat the two-time reigning NFC champion Seahawks 34-31 in overtime. But St. Louis is now only 2-15 since 2005 in regular-season games immediately following a game against Seattle.
In the first half, Washington dominated pretty much every statistical measure, including total yards (239-72), rushing yards (132-17) and first downs (11-4).
As good as Cousins was, going 12 for 14 for 115 yards, Foles was out of synch, going 7 for 16 for 59 yards. Foles overthrew receivers, underthrew receivers and simply flat-out threw the ball nowhere near receivers.
The Rams’ first six possessions each ended with a punt, and the seventh — which marked their first trip across midfield all game — petered out when the first-half clock expired.
When the teams met last season, Rams coach Jeff Fisher tweaked the Redskins during the pregame coin toss, sending out six players acquired thanks to the trade that allowed Washington to pick Griffin second overall in the 2012 draft, and St. Louis wound up winning 24-0.
This time, true to his word, Fisher didn’t send the same kind of message, instead going with Foles, punter Johnny Hekker and others. Griffin, meanwhile, was not even in uniform.