Rams Come Up Short in 28-21 Loss to Titans

Posted Nov 3, 2013

Midway through the third quarter of Sunday’s 28-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Rams appeared headed for their third home victory of the season and a positive start to the second half of schedule. Instead, the Rams were saddled with their first loss of the year when holding a second-half lead.

The loss overshadowed a standout performance from rookie RB Zac Stacy, who logged the team’s first two rushing touchdowns of the season. In just his fifth NFL start, Stacy surpassed 100 yards on the ground for the second straight game, finishing with 127 yards on 27 carries. Included in his day was a 32-yard run that set up a game-tying, 10-yard touchdown pass to TE Jared Cook with 6:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“That was a great run, that’s what he’s about,” Head Coach Jeff Fisher said of his rookie running back. ‘AP’ (WR Austin Pettis) threw a nice block there at the end and ‘Cookie’ (TE Jared Cook) got involved with some push and got some extra yards. That was an outstanding run, gave us a chance and sparked that drive for us.”

QB Kellen Clemens keyed the Rams’ early success offensively, as he started the afternoon by completing his first seven passes for 75 yards. He finished the game 20 of 35 passing for 210 yards and a touchdown, and completed passes to seven different receivers. The lone blemish on the day for Clemens was a fourth-quarter fumble that led to the Titans’ game-winning drive. For the second straight week, Clemens led a last-minute drive into scoring range, but saw his final pass of the day glanced off WR Austin Pettis’ hands in the corner of the end zone.

“As I anticipated, we expected Kellen to get better in Week 2, in his second start,” Fisher said. “We’ve got to try to avoid throwing the ball at the end zone on the last play of the game to win or tie like we have the last couple of weeks. That means you’ve got to play better within the first three quarters.”

Much of the difference on Sunday came in the form of Titans RB Chris Johnson, who established a season-high with 150 yards rushing on 23 carries, and scored the game’s decisive touchdown with a 19-yard run off right tackle with just 2:54 remaining in the game.

The performance by Johnson came one week after the Rams’ defense had its best game of the year against the run, holding Seattle to just 44 yards on the ground last week.

“You set a benchmark and then you don’t meet it as a group—frustrating things,” DE Chris Long said. “When you’ve got the lead, our mentality has to be that that should be the ballgame. Today, we fell far short.”

Game notes:

-Stacy established a career-high with 178 yards from scrimmage on Sunday, which included career-highs in receptions (6) and receiving yards (51).

-Stacy scored the Rams’ first rushing touchdown of the season with 9:37 remaining in the second quarter. He would add his second score of the day and third of his career on a nine-yard run with 5:51 left in the third quarter.

-A week after establishing a season-high with seven sacks against Seattle, the Rams collected four more in the first half on Sunday. DT Kendall Langford registered two sacks, the first multi-sack game of his career.

-CB Cortland Finnegan grabbed his first interception of the season with 44 seconds remaining in second quarter. He now has recorded at least one interception in seven consecutive seasons.

-K Greg Zuerlein missed a 44-yard field goal attempt wide right with 26 seconds remaining in second quarter to keep score tied 7-7 entering the half. The miss was just the second of the season in 17 attempts for Zuerlein.