Rams get a thumbs-up from coach after win

Associated Press
Published October 31, 2005

ST. LOUIS - Joe Vitt took over as Rams interim coach with a no-nonsense reputation and just-the-facts demeanor. That doesn't put him above using some inspirational tools now and then.

Before Sunday's victory over the Jaguars, Vitt showed clips of the 2000 film Gladiator to keep the Rams fired up and fighting - despite missing their head coach and most of their stars.

It couldn't have hurt: The Rams got a career day from Steven Jackson, who said he was ready to play immediately after watching the clip. Jackson had 179 yards on 25 carries and scored the winning touchdown. Mike Furrey's 37-yard interception return led to the go-ahead score and the Rams stuffed the Jaguars most of the second half.

"You've got to be innovative and be young and fresh, new with it," Jackson said. "I think he's doing a great job of getting us ready to play."

Fred Taylor, who was questionable with a bruised right ankle, had 165 yards on 22 carries for Jacksonville, including a 71-yard scoring run in the first quarter. But he was held to 51 yards on 14 carries in the final three quarters.

"I feel as though there were some cuts out there that I could have made that I could not really get to because of my ankle," the former Florida star said. "It was like only one-half cut and go."

The Rams have won two of three since losing coach Mike Martz for the season with a heart illness; Vitt is in charge in his absence. St. Louis expects quarterback Marc Bulger (shoulder) and receivers Torry Holt (knee) and Isaac Bruce (turf toe) to return after a bye next week. Defensive end Leonard Little also should return after missing two games following the shooting death of a younger brother.

The Jaguars took their first lead on Byron Leftwich's 15-yard pass to Matt Jones late in the third quarter, a score set up by Alvin Pearman's 45-yard third-down run.

NOTABLE: Jaguars receiver Reggie Williams missed much of the first half after taking a blow to the head, and had no catches.