Steven Jackson watched from the sideline as the St. Louis Rams ended a 14-game home losing streak. Somehow they did not seem to miss their offensive star.
Backup running back Kenneth Darby scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford got his first NFL victory as the Rams overcame an injury to Jackson in a 30-16 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
The Rams (1-2) won for only the second time in 29 games overall behind a strong start and even stronger finish, with the biggest offensive showing under second-year coach Steve Spagnuolo. Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in April, was 23 for 37 for 235 yards and one touchdown and one interception for the Rams, spreading the ball to nine receivers.
St. Louis, which lost its first two games by a total of six points, topped its previous best of 23 points under Spagnuolo in a five-point loss to the Saints last November.
The Rams led 14-0 after their first two scores in the first quarter this season, weathered a 13-point surge by the Redskins plus a blocked field goal at the end of the half, and played keep-away after the break. They stymied the Redskins defensively despite going with a pair of backup safeties much of the game, and got impressive work from the reserve running backs after Jackson was sidelined with a groin injury in the second quarter.
Darby had 49 yards on 14 carries and Keith Toston had 22 yards on 11 carries. Jackson finished with 58 yards on 10 carries including a 42-yard score for the game's first touchdown.
Santana Moss had six receptions for 124 yards and a score for Washington (1-2), but also lost a fumble in the first half that led to a touchdown for St. Louis. Donovan McNabb, who gets his homecoming game at Philadelphia next week, was 19 for 32 for 236 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
The pick by Bradley Fletcher at the Washington 41 with 3:39 to play helped the Rams finish it off with Josh Brown's third field goal of the second half.
Safety Oshiomoghe Atogwe injured his thigh in the second quarter and the other safety, Craig Dahl, was inactive with a concussion. There was no letup with James Butler and Darian Stewart in the lineup.
Darby, who entered the game with 2 yards on three carries, gave the Rams the lead for good at 21-16 on a 12-yard run midway through the third quarter. He gained 24 yards on four straight carries to open the fourth quarter, helping set up a field goal.
The Redskins' first turnover of the year, a fumble by Moss, helped the Rams go up 14-0 midway through the first quarter. St. Louis blew a shot to stretch that cushion when Dominique Curry blocked stand-in punter Graham Gano's first career effort to give the Rams possession at the Washington 26, but Bradford's overthrown pass was intercepted by Kareem Moore the next play.
The Redskins were opportunistic the rest of the half, with McNabb hitting Moss for a 21-yard touchdown the next play after Mardy Gilyard's lost fumble on a kickoff return, and Phillip Daniels blocking Brown's 21-yard field-goal attempt at the end of the half, keeping the Rams' lead at 14-13.
Gano's third field goal of the game, a 21-yarder, put the Redskins in front for the first time early in the third quarter.