Rams ride fast start to 42-21 win over Bears

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.November 24, 2013 

— In their first game after their bye weekend, the St. Louis Rams hit the ground running.

Rookie Tavon Austin had a 65-yard touchdown run and rookie Zac Stacy had a 1-yard touchdown run in first 2 minutes, 24 seconds of the game as the St. Louis Rams beat the Chicago Bears 42-21 on Sunday.

"We talked about starting fast and how we needed to do that coming off the bye week,'' Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "We couldn't have started off better. They were playing from behind the rest of the game.''

Rookie Benny Cunningham had a 9-yard touchdown run with 3:05 left and then Robert Quinn had a 31-yard fumble return for a TD with 2:05 remaining in helping the Rams (5-6) clinch their second straight win.

"It was gratifying to get this win,'' Rams defensive end Chris Long said. "Today was one of those games where we could not be denied not by anybody out there in a Bears uniform or otherwise.''

There was a large contingent of Bears fans among the 66,024 fans at the Edward Jones Dome.

"We usually play well on the road and today we kind of played well at a neutral site,'' Long said. "Nothing against our fans, their fans travel well. I hope they have a good trip home.''

The Rams finished with 258 rushing yards in the game. They had three rookies rush for 65 or more yards as Cunningham had 13 carries for 109 yards, Stacy had 12 carries for 87 yards and Austin had one carry for 65 yards.

Cunningham replaced Stacy, who missed the entire second half because of a head injury.

Cunningham had six carries for 61 yards during the fourth-quarter touchdown drive after the Bears had closed the gap to 27-21 with 7:15 to go.

"We challenged them late in the week and even as early as kickoff that those 2- and 3-yard carries in the first quarter should turn into 8- and 10-yard carries in the fourth quarter,'' Fisher said. "If we could stay with the run game, that's what we expected to happen, and it did.''

The Bears fell to 6-5.

Josh McCown completed 36 of 47 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns, but he suffered his first loss in four starts in place of an injured Jay Cutler.

Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens completed 10 of 22 passes for 167 yards. He threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cook with 1:27 left in the first quarter.

The Rams had 123 rushing yards in the first quarter, which tied for the second most rushing yards in the opening period in franchise history.

Austin took a flip from Clemens on a reverse, but then came to an abrupt stop and reversed directions.

Austin had tight end Lance Kendricks in front of him and he picked up a nice block from wide receiver Chris Givens as he turned the corner on the right side and raced to the end zone.

"He's a tremendous athlete,'' Fisher said of Austin. "His stop and start ability is impressive. We've had that (play) in for a while and we pushed it up on the calling list today. It was a big play for us.''

Austin's run was the longest by a Rams player since Marshall Faulk had a 70-yard touchdown run on Dec. 23, 2001.

On the Bears' first play from scrimmage, the Rams' Trumaine Johnson forced running back Matt Forte to fumble.

Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis recovered the loose ball at the Chicago 7.

After a pass interference call on the Bears in the end zone put the ball at the Chicago 1, Stacy bulled his way across the goal line to put the Rams ahead 14-0 with 12:36 left in the first quarter.

The Bears regrouped and put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 7-yard scoring pass from Josh McCown to Martellus Bennett with 6:14 left in the first quarter.

Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins intercepted McCown, but the turnover was negated by a penalty for illegal contact on Brandon McGee.

That kept alive a drive that resulted in a 3-yard touchdown pass from McCown to Brandon Marshall that trimmed the Rams' lead to 21-14.

Greg Zuerlein booted a 29-yard field goal with 1:11 left in the second quarter to give the Rams a 24-14 advantage at halftime.

The Bears marched down the field to St. Louis 1 on the opening drive of the second half.

On fourth-and-goal at the St. Louis 1, Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar tackled running back Michael Bush for a 4-yard loss.

"Actually, I thought they were going to go the other way, but then I saw him pull my way, and I just went after it,'' Dunbar said. "Go downhill as fast as you can.''

A 40-yard field goal by Zuerlein accounted for all of the scoring in the third quarter.

The Bears had another first-and-goal at the St. Louis 1 again in the fourth quarter during a sequence that included three penalties on the Rams and a holding penalty on the Bears that negated a 3-yard touchdown pass from McCown to Bennett.

The final penalty was a roughing the passer infraction on Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers for leading with his helmet after bursting up the middle for a sack on McCown.

"I was a little frustrated with that, I didn't think that was appropriate,'' Fisher said of the penalty on Brockers. "Like we say often times, they are going to officiate on the side of player safety, and we are not always going to agreement with it.''

This time, the Bears capitialized as Bush scored on a 1-yard to cut the Rams' lead to 27-21.

The Rams answered with a seven-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Cunningham's TD run.

Clemens threw to Isaiah Pead for the two-point conversion.

Quinn registered a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown on one play as he stripped the ball out of McCown's hands, picked it up and ran 31 yards to the end zone.

"We knew that they were going to have to drop back and pass, the game was coming to a close,'' Quinn said. "I had been getting off on the ball, I had been getting close to him all game. I just happened to get him and get the fumble.''

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