ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) The St. Louis Rams’ young offensive unit made some strides Saturday night in a 19-7 exhibition loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The improvement just didn’t translate into points.
“When you start looking at individual performances particularly as they relate to some younger guys improving from one week to the next, you become encouraged,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “There were some good things in there.”
The Rams amassed 327 yards on 63 plays, an average of 5.2 yards per play. Yet they were unable to score until quarterback Austin Davis hit Nick Johnson on a 26-yard scoring toss with 58 seconds left.
St. Louis moved the ball effectively at times but made too many mistakes late in drives. Quarterback Sam Bradford and the first team marched the ball into Green Bay territory on three of four possessions. The Rams were stopped on fourth down on one march. Bradford lost a fumble on fourth-and-goal at the 1 and Greg Zuerlein missed a 50-yard field-goal attempt.
The Rams were 1 for 14 on third down and 0 for 3 on fourth down. They also committed three turnovers.
“We have to correct the mistakes and point out the good things that happened,” Fisher said. We have to continue to keep the pressure on this football team, especially this week, from a preparation standpoint and an improvement standpoint.”
St. Louis put together several big plays on offense. Bradford connected with Chris Givens on a 57-yard pass on the first play of the second possession. Bradford also hit tight end Jared Cook for 37 yards.
“We were able to generate some explosive plays, which is always nice to see,” Bradford said. “That’s an area we’ve struggled with the past couple years.”
With Bradford at the helm, the offense managed 169 yards on four possessions. Bradford, who played until the final minute of the first half, finished 8 of 12 for 156 yards.
First-round draft choice Tavon Austin, the eighth overall choice, caught four passes for 28 yards.
The Rams made a concerted effort to get the ball to the speedy Austin, who did not make a catch and was targeted only once in an opening 27-19 loss at Cleveland on Aug. 8.
“It was nice to get him a few balls,” Bradford said. “I thought he did a great job.”
The Rams did not stress the running game against Green Bay rushing 22 times for 52 yards and one first down.
“We really didn’t commit to the run,” Fisher said. “It was hard because of what (the Packers) were doing. They kind of forced us out of it from a line of scrimmage standpoint. We’ll get back to it this week.”
Fisher indicated that backup quarterbacks Davis and Kellen Clemens remain close in the battle for the No. 2 spot. Clemens served as No. 2 on Saturday and hit on 2 of 11 passes for 27 yards. Davis, who came on in the fourth quarter, hit on seven of 15 passes for 114 yards and the lone score.
Fisher says Davis will be listed as the No. 2 quarterback in Saturday’s game at Denver, flipping the order from the Green Bay contest.
The St. Louis defense held Green Bay to just four field goals over the first three quarters, but Fisher says the unit still made too many mistakes.
“We didn’t tackle as well as we’re capable of,” he said. “We have to get better at it. And we will.”
Rams will host Baltimore on Aug. 29 before hosting Arizona in the season opener Sept. 8.