Rams 31, Ravens 17

Sure, they were going against backups. The St. Louis Rams were

just glad to finish the preseason on a positive note.

Sam Bradford threw three touchdown passes in 1 1/2 quarters and

the defense forced four turnovers in a 31-17 victory over the

Baltimore Ravens, who rested most of their regulars as they gear up

for a Super Bowl run.

”Their twos are certainly twos, but they’re great NFL

players,” defensive end Chris Long said. ”They were in the

championship game last year, they’re a good team from top to


The Rams (2-2) are rebuilding under new coach Jeff Fisher and

built confidence while matching their 2011 victory total in the

preseason. Fisher had planned on leaving his starters in until

after the half, but began substituting freely after a 9-yard catch

by Mike Hoomanawanui made it 21-0 with 6:59 to go in the half.

”We played our guys, didn’t play as long as I had

anticipated,” Fisher said. ”Overall, I thought it was a pretty

good effort, really from start to finish.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh got what he wanted – a really long

look at his backups. Many of the regulars didn’t even dress.

”After I look at the tape, I will see some really good

performances out there, and some that weren’t so good,” Harbaugh

said. ”It will help us make some decisions.”

The Ravens (2-2) committed four turnovers, including three

interceptions by Curtis Painter, who threw touchdown passes to

Billy Bajema and Deonte Thompson in the second half. Tyrod Taylor

started in place of Joe Flacco and was 8 for 12 for 58 yards.

Harbaugh said he hasn’t decided whether to keep two or three

quarterbacks, but thought Painter, who started last year for

Indianapolis after Peyton Manning was injured, had a ”really good


”You know, he’s done well,” Harbaugh said. ”He’s a guy who’s

a starter, he’s got experience and he’s a pro.”

Bradford threw five touchdown passes in the preseason, all of

them at home for the Rams (2-2).

”It’s very satisfying,” Bradford said. ”The way we finished

definitely shows that we’re comfortable out there. I think we’re

moving into the regular season in a very nice way.”

Rookie Janoris Jenkins was a rare Rams starter who played into

the third quarter, and made it 28-0 with a 76-yard interception

return for a touchdown off a pass by Painter that deflected off

Bobby Rainey’s hands.

”Most definitely, I want to take it to the house,” Jenkins

said. ”I always think that.”

The Rams intercepted Painter on the previous play, too, but

Craig Dahl fumbled it back.

Robert Quinn had a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery

while stripping Taylor to set up Danny Amendola’s 7-yard score late

in the first quarter. He also deflected a punt in the second


The Rams played well in both home games despite sparse

attendance. The Edward Jones Dome, which holds 66,000, was probably

about one-third full for the opening kickoff and all but empty at

the end.

Fisher’s plan to play his starters backfired when first-round

pick Michael Brockers injured his right ankle after getting tangled

up with Jah Reid near the end of the first quarter and did not


Brockers was helped off the field by two trainers, but was able

to put weight on the leg, then was carted off the field.

X-rays were negative and an MRI was scheduled for Friday for

Brockers, who was in a walking boot but didn’t think it was a

serious injury.

Bradford was 11 for 16 for 175 yards and spread the ball to

eight receivers, with Austin Pettis starting the scoring with a

14-yard catch capped by a dive inside the pylon.

Bradford recovered his own fumble off a center snap for a 5-yard

loss the play before throwing the touchdown pass to


Rookie kickers for both teams showed plenty of leg.

The Ravens’ Justin Tucker, who beat out Billy Cundiff, made a

49-yard field goal in the second half after barely missing from 57

yards near the end of the half. That was the lone miss in eight

preseason attempts, including a pair from 50 yards or farther for

the undrafted Tucker.

The Rams’ Greg Zuerlein hit his fourth field goal from 50

yards-plus in the preseason with a 59-yarder that scraped the

crossbar early in the fourth quarter.

He was just short on a 62-yard attempt in the third quarter that

was caught by the Ravens’ Asa Jackson just under the crossbar.

”I’m glad the coaches gave me another opportunity,” Zuerlein

said. ”Really, it was two bad kicks for me. I’ve got to put it

behind me.”

NOTES: Ravens backup OLB Courtney Upshaw (shoulder) will have an

MRI exam Friday. ”Yeah, we’re concerned,” Harbaugh said. … OL

Justin Boren (right foot sprain) also will have an MRI, and TEs

Bruce Figgins (right knee sprain) and Matt Balasavage (high left

ankle sprain) were injured. … The Rams are 3-0 against the Ravens

in the preseason.


http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and



Follow R.B. Fallstrom on Twitter at (at)rbfallstrom.