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Rams rally in 2nd half, beat Redskins 31-28
By R.B. FALLSTROM
ST. LOUIS (AP) One snap in and the St. Louis Rams were already down a touchdown to Robert Griffin III & Co. In the middle of the second quarter, the deficit was 15 points.
No matter, even without star running back Steven Jackson, the Rams had spunk to spare.
Sam Bradford passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns, Danny Amendola tied an NFL record with 12 first-half receptions, and after the break the Rams contained an offense that put up 40 points in Week 1 for a 31-28 victory on Sunday.
"You get caught up in watching the scoreboard and get caught up in negative plays and things, you've got no chance to win," coach Jeff Fisher said after the Rams (1-1) took the home opener. "So, you don't watch the scoreboard, you just go play.
"You make plays and the scoreboard changes."
Griffin threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third in an effective follow-up to a smashing debut, when he became the first rookie quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards and win a season opener. He was sacked only once but hit numerous times in a game that was chippy throughout.
"They dared us to run and we ran it. We moved the ball and we scored points," Griffin said. "We just didn't score enough points.
"Like I said, if teams want to get physical with us, or per se me, then bring it on."
Jackson missed most of the last three quarters after getting stopped twice at the 1, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the second attempt for spiking the ball in frustration. During the game a team spokesman said Jackson was fine, but afterward both Jackson and Fisher said the running back had been sidelined by a groin injury.
The Rams took the lead on Bradford's 1-yard pass to Matthew Mulligan on the first play of the fourth quarter. Mulligan scored his first career touchdown four plays after he partially blocked Sav Rocca's punt to give St. Louis possession at the Washington 24.
Jackson's replacement, rookie Daryl Richardson, had 83 yards on 15 carries and ran for the 2-point conversion and a three-point lead after Mulligan's TD.
Josh Wilson scored his fifth career defensive touchdown on a 30-yard return when Amendola fumbled after a catch on the Rams' first offensive play. Griffin added a 5-yard run and put Washington up 21-6 when he caught Leonard Hankerson in stride for a 68-yard score.
The Rams stuck with Amendola, who matched the first-half reception record set by the Colts' Reggie Wayne in 2007. Amendola finished with 15 catches, tying the franchise record, for 160 yards, helping the Rams exploit a defense that gave up 32 points in the opener.
St. Louis was 7 for 12 on third down conversions and totaled 452 yards. After his fourth career 300-yard passing game, Bradford, the first overall pick in 2010, said there wasn't extra incentive to match RG3.
"I go about it the same each week," Bradford said. "I need to play at a high level, play my best to give this team a chance to win, and I think I did that today."
The Redskins missed a good chance of forcing overtime when Josh Morgan was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct for throwing the ball at Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Coach Mike Shanahan opted for a 62-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-16. Billy Cundiff's attempt was wide right and well short with 1:13 to play.
"I thought we were going for it," Griffin said. "But in a dome, 62 (yards) is far, but it's not that far. I was on a knee and I hoped that it would go through."
The Redskins lost defensive end Adam Carriker and outside linebacker Brian Orakpo to injuries early in the first quarter, while Rams offensive tackle Rodger Saffold was helped off with a right knee injury.
Orakpo and Saffold were hurt on the same play. Orakpo stripped Bradford and Saffold recovered the fumble and carried it 7 yards, but crumpled to the turf on the tackle.
NOTES: Amendola tied the franchise single-game record shared by Isaac Bruce and Flipper Anderson. ... Bradford passed for 300 or more yards for the fourth time in his career and threw for three TDs for the second time. ... Rams rookie punter Johnny Hekker averaged 54.3 yards on three attempts.
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Updated September 17, 2012