LANDOVER, Md. — Coming off two seasons in which they won a meager total of seven games, and coming off Week 1 loss, the Washington Redskins were desperate for a victory to instill belief in coach Jay Gruden — and his emphasis on the run.
"Nobody likes to be oh-and-anything," Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams said. "So to get this win today, it was gratifying, it was satisfying."
With 123 yards and two touchdowns on the ground from rookie Matt Jones and an efficient and mistake-free Kirk Cousins, the Redskins dominated for a half and then held on to beat the St. Louis Rams 24-10 on Sunday.
"We needed to get this win," running back Alfred Morris said, "to keep morale high."
The result left both teams at 1-1.
"To go 0-2 to start the season at home is tough to overcome," said Gruden, whose club lost to visiting Miami 17-10 in Week 1. "The big thing is you want to have something positive these guys can build off of."
Williams, for one, had not forgotten about Washington’s 24-0 loss to St. Louis last season, when Rams coach Jeff Fisher sent out for the coin toss six players acquired in the trade that landed Robert Griffin III in Washington. Fisher didn’t repeat that move — and Griffin was not uniform Sunday, listed as inactive. Yes, that’s right: RG3 is now QB No. 3 for the Redskins.
"I watched the whole game last night, right before I went to sleep, just so it’d be fresh in my mind," Williams said. "Those guys came out here and embarrassed us last year, no ifs ands or buts about it."
The Rams, meanwhile, failed to follow up last week’s 34-31 overtime victory over the two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. That dropped St. Louis to 2-15 since 2005 in regular-season games immediately following a matchup with Seattle.
"Do I feel like this is one that we should have won?" Rams tight end Jared Cook said. "Absolutely."
Here are other things to know about this game:
RUN, RUN, RUN: In addition to Jones’ 19 carries, Morris ran 18 times for 59 yards, and the Redskins outrushed the Rams 182-67. A year ago against St. Louis, Morris gained 6 yards on eight carries. "You look at all the successful teams in the history of this league, and very few of them are throwing it 70 times a game," Gruden said. "There is a strong running game there, and that is the blueprint that we have to have."
COUSINS IN CONTROL: After throwing two interceptions in Week 1, Cousins was up to 21 picks in 15 NFL games. But he avoided turnovers Sunday, going 23 for 27 for 203 yards and a 4-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon. A Rams defense that had six sacks in Week 1 only got two. "I can’t say enough good things about the way our offensive line has played," Cousins said. "I feel like I could give you five reasons for us playing so well — and it’d be those five guys."
FOLES’ FOIBLES: Nick Foles was 17 of 32 for 150 yards, with one highlight: a 40-yard TD pass to Kenny Britt. The Rams punted on each of their first six possessions and finished 2 for 12 on third downs.
QUIET AUSTIN: A week after scoring on a punt return and a run, Rams receiver Tavon Austin was kept pretty quiet. Redskins punter Tress Way booted the ball away from Austin, who didn’t run back a single kick.
SHORT WEEK: After opening with a pair of homes games, the Redskins travel to face the NFC East rival New York Giants (0-2) on Thursday night. The Rams host Pittsburgh (1-1) on Sunday.