Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Rookie running back Matt Jones won the hearts of Washington fans by scoring two touchdowns in Washington’s 17-10 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 20 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
Last year, Washington’s 24-0 loss at home to St. Louis was a low point of a disappointing season. However, Washington’s NFL team outplayed the widely-praised Rams defense on Sunday.
Washington (1-1) looked like the team they want to be, with a heavy emphasis on the run game and a defense that limited St. Louis to just 11 first downs. Unlike last week—and most of last season—they didn’t succumb to a second-half collapse.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins was nearly perfect, completing 23-of-27 passes for 203 yards and one touchdown.
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) scrambles with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Seven minutes into the first quarter, Alfred Morris picked up where he left-off last week by rushing 35 yards to push Washington into St. Louis territory. However, it was Jones who saw the end zone, going 39 yards for a touchdown. The three-play, 72-yard drive showed just how much of a threat Washington’s backfield can be.
Dustin Hopkins—who was signed to replace kicker Kai Forbath—saw his first regular season action with a 46-yard field goal. In the second quarter, wide receiver Pierre Garcon capped off a 12-play, 82-yard drive with a short touchdown reception from Cousins.
After a terrific first half of controlling both sides of the ball, Washington’s NFL team led the Rams, 17-0. Washington had 239 total yards, compared to St. Louis’ 55 yards.
The Rams put their first points on the board in their first offensive drive of the second half, which ended with a 52-yard field goal. On the ensuing drive, Jones lost a fumble for Washington’s first turnover of the game. Rams quarterback Nick Foles took advantage of the mistake with a 40-yard touchdown pass down the middle to wide receiver Kenny Britt to cut the lead to 17-10.
The Washington Redskins and St. Louis Rams face off during the second half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
St. Louis’ explosive wide receiver Tavon Austin left the game temporarily in the third quarter to receive IV therapy. Without the threat of Austin on the field, Washington linebacker Keenan Robinson and company stopped the Rams on fourth-and-14 to complete a big defensive stand.
With just under three minutes left in the game, Jones continued to dominate against a gassed Rams defense with a three-yard rushing touchdown. Jones finished with 19 carries for 123 yards, two touchdowns and one fumble.
Injury-prone Washington tight end Jordan Reed proved just how valuable he can be when healthy. He had six receptions for 82 yards, including one huge first-down pickup of 29 yards.
For St. Louis, Foles completed 17-of-32 passes for 150 yards and one touchdown. Tight end Jared Cook led the team with five receptions for 47 yards.
Next: Washington travels to New York for an NFC East matchup against Eli Manning and the Giants on Sept. 24 at 8:25 p.m.