ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 18: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during a pre-season game at the Edward Jones Dome on August 18, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

St. Louis Rams Score Early, Beat Kansas City Chiefs 31-17

Steven Jackson ran for 49 yards on seven carries in the win.

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25 Total Updates since August 14, 2012
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St. Louis Rams Starters Briefly Brilliant Vs. Chiefs In 31-17 Win

The St. Louis Rams' 31-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs was basically enjoyable all the way around, but the most encouraging thing about it was just how good the starters were. Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson and company ran the score up to 31-17 almost immediately, with the help of a healthy Danny Amendola, a preseason Pro Bowler in Lance Kendricks, and—most surprisingly—a working offensive line.

Bradford topped 100 yards on just nine attempts in addition to his two touchdowns, and Steven Jackson averaged seven yards a carry, allaying for the evening fears of his impending 30th birthday. From there the second team took over—and as good as they were, there isn't really much they could have done to make Rams fans feel better or worse in the afterglow of their two stars performing, for a night, exactly as once advertised.

The Rams improve to 1-1 with the win; they lost 38-3 to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in Pretend Week 1. For more about the two players you probably came here looking for, check out our Sam Bradford update and Steven Jackson recap.

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Rams Vs. Chiefs Score Update: St. Louis Rams' Second Team Run Up Score On KC

The St. Louis Rams put up 17 encouraging points in the first half of their Governor's Cup pregame contest vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, but the 14 points their second team added in the second half of the game were perhaps even more surprising. Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead, their two 2012 NFL draft running backs, are responsible for the two backup touchdowns, with Kellen Clemens going 8-for-10 for 50 yards and Austin Davis picking up 5-for-7 for 70 as Sam Bradford's understudies.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, haven't been able to get on board against the Rams' defensive backups. Peyton Hillis picked up their lone touchdown but was otherwise unimpressive, rushing five times for 11 yards. Hey: At least Jamaal Charles, rushing three times for 17 yards, appears to be okay.

For more St. Louis Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs updates, stay tuned to this storystream. If you were looking for what the first time did, we did updates on Steven Jackson's stellar performance and Sam Bradford's touchdown-filled stint after those stars (or, sure, that star and that near-star) left the game.

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Rams Vs. Chiefs Update: Steven Jackson Looks Great Again In Preseason Action

Steven Jackson will face doubts about his future for the rest of his career, but Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs the St. Louis Rams' veteran star showed off the same surprising youthfulness he flashed in his brief appearance vs. the Indianapolis Colts. Jackson ran the ball seven times for 49 yards against touted rookie Dontari Poe and the Chiefs defense, a performance that combined with Sam Bradford's huge day to give the Rams a 14-0 lead on two quick scores. They took a 17-10 lead into halftime, with Jackson stowed safely on the bench, where he can't find any gruesome injuries.

Jackson is well-positioned to confound doubters in 2012; after putting up the worst numbers of his career in 2010 he responded strongly to a slightly lighter workload last year, and between Jeff Fisher's vaunted attention to the run and the chance for rookie Isaiah Pead to take a few more carries off his back he'll get every chance to repeat the formula in 2012. Steven Jackson may be 29, and that may be old, terrifyingly, in NFL years, but he's far from done if Saturday night is any indication.

For in-game updates on Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, and the rest of the Rams as they take on the Chiefs, click through to our SB Nation St. Louis storystream.

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Sam Bradford Stars In St. Louis Rams' Preseason Contest Vs. Chiefs

After a week spent worrying about his injured ankle and wondering whether he'd ever be the star they wanted, St. Louis Rams fans were greeted in Saturday night's first half vs. the Kansas City Chiefs with a glimpse at the Sam Bradford they always wanted. Bradford was dominant in two series out of three with the first unit, throwing for two touchdowns on a 6-for-9, 102-yard performance. The usual targets starred—Danny Amendola caught three balls for 58 yards and a touchdown, Lance Kendricks added one more, and Steve Smith picked up a first down—but if Bradford can play like that it doesn't much matter who he's throwing to.

Of course, it helps that he didn't get sacked—Rodger Saffold and the Rams' offensive line, much maligned for more than a year, now, did a great job of giving Bradford time to throw, and he made the most of it.

Bradford was replaced in the offense by Kellen Clemens, who emerged as the Rams' backup quarterback in the midst of the scrambling to replace both Bradford and A.J. Feeley last year. He finished the half off going 5-for-7 with 34 yards and running the ball once for 22 more.

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Rams Vs. Chiefs Score Update: Robert Quinn Delivers, But St. Louis D Can't Stop Chiefs' O

The St. Louis Rams' 2011 first-rounder Robert Quinn picked up a sack to generate a 12-yard loss, and then Matt Cassel found a receiver for a 17-yard gain. That exchange characterized the Kansas City Chiefs' first touchdown of the Governor's Cup game, which cut the score to 14-7 after Sam Bradford and the Rams' first-team offense ran up two early scores.

Bradford finished his stint in the game 6-for-9 for 102 yards and two touchdowns, a major improvement from an efficient-but-listless first preseason appearance; Kellen Clemens went in to replace him, the third New York Jets quarterback to make news Saturday night. Steven Jackson's out as well; he was similarly strong, providing seven carries for 49 yards.

Such was the feel of the Rams' first half—extremely promising, like a Quinn sack or a Bradford bomb, but with enough adversity to prove the Rams, under new head coach Jeff Fisher, have a ways still to go. Jamaal Charles, who also appears to be done, took three carries for 17 yards and picked up two receptions for 18 more, showing that in small doses he still has some of his MVP-caliber 2010 form.

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St. Louis Rams Score Two Touchdowns In 5 Minutes Vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Seriously)

The St. Louis Rams and Sam Bradford have continued to look impossibly sharp in the first quarter of their preseason matchup vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, scoring a second touchdown in the first five minutes to go up 14-0. Yes: This is the same Rams team from last year. Yes: It's the preseason. But it's hard not to be encouraged, or at least entertained, by this few-minute glimpse at everything the Rams hoped to be back in 2011. Bradford is 5-for-6 for 91 yards and two touchdowns a week after getting outperformed by Andrew Luck.

And Steven Jackson has three carries for 25 yards—in most Rams games, that sort of start would be a lone bright spot, not something that's just good enough to get mentioned under the lede. Danny Amendola has three carries for 58 yards, a distinctly un-Amendolian ratio; Lance Kendricks caught the other touchdown, on a 23-yard reception, and Steve Smith also has a catch for 10 yards. Austin Pettis, solid in last week's loss to the Colts, is the only other receiver targeted.

Jamaal Charles—speaking of running backs with a lot to prove—has two carries for 10 yards for the Chiefs, who appear blindsided by the Rams' performance both on offense and defense.

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Rams Vs. Chiefs: St. Louis Scores To Lead 7-0, Sam Bradford Looks Basically Perfect

The Governor's Cup game between the St. Louis Rams and the Kansas Chiefs hasn't yet gone 10 minutes, but you'll have to excuse Rams fans for all the premature high-fiving—for the first time since somewhere in the middle of the last year, their offense looked outstanding. Even if it was just the preseason—it's hard not to enjoy Sam Bradford throwing the deep ball, Steven Jackson breaking a long run, and Lance Kendricks, preseason hero Lance Kendricks, catching a ball and getting through with it for the touchdown.

Bradford is the most exciting news, of course—everybody was terrified about his ankle injury during the week, which only served to distract us from the approaching specter of his potential mediocrity.

Which is all to say: It's been a bad couple of years, so Rams fans will take anything they can get, even if it's a first-drive preseason touchdown against the 7-9 Kansas City Chiefs. That Sam Bradford looked like the superstar we all hoped he would be when he was drafted made it all even better. (And that Steven Jackson isn't broken-down and depressed about having played for the Rams is even, uh, better-er.)

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Jamaal Charles's Fantasy Football Rankings Could Hinge On Rams Vs. Chiefs Performance

I have a personal investment in the place Jamaal Charles ends up on 2012 fantasy football rankings, even though I'm covering the St. Louis side of Saturday night's Rams vs. Chiefs showdown: I drafted him with a Top 5 pick last year. So as little as I care about the Kansas City Chiefs' running game as a whole—I didn't vote for Peyton Hillis in that Madden contest—I do need to know, out of morbid curiosity, where Charles goes in fantasy football in 2012.

As it turns out, that could have a lot to do with his performance in Saturday's preseason game. Charles got just four touches in last week's Chiefs preseason opener, and while he looked great in them we're reaching the point in August when fantasy leagues start to schedule their drafts and casual fans start to frantically search the internet for fantasy football draft cheat sheets.

Right now WalterFootball, for example, has Charles ranked ninth overall. A sluggish game vs. the Rams could knock him down the list in favor of someone with two fresh ACLs. As for the Rams, their lone fantasy football option, Steven Jackson, could also benefit from a strong performance—he's well outside the Top 10 in their list, thanks mostly to worries that he's about to fall off a cliff.

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The St. Louis Rams' Offense Needs To Show Something Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Saturday

The St. Louis Rams' offense and defense were both equally terrible in 2011, but the 2012 offseason was devoted primarily to renovation of the defense. To young stars James Laurinaitis and Chris Long, and 2011 first-rounder Robert Quinn, they added a big free agent acquisition, Cortland Finnegan, and two top draft picks, Michael Brockers and Janoris Jenkins. They also added Jeff Fisher, a famously cloud-of-dusty head coach.

So the defense has a lot to live up to, but also a lot of positive momentum heading into the 2012 season. The offense—well, it has to show us something before analysts are willing to assume the Rams will score any points at all. The picks the Rams made on that side of the ball were mostly looking to 2013, so most of that burden falls on third-year quarterback Sam Bradford's shoulders, and right now everyone's mostly just worrying about whether he's hurt.

But if he puts together a big preseason series or two fans might be able to resume expecting great things from the former No. 1 for the first time since that big first half against the New York Giants last year.

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Jamaal Charles's Comeback From Injury Key To Kansas City Chiefs' Season

The Kansas City Chiefs' offense lost 150 points between 2010 and 2011, accounting for the entirety of their drop in the standings to the bottom of the AFC West. And accounting for a lot of that was Jamaal Charles's Week 2 knee injury, which sucked the air out of the Chiefs' stalwart running game. In 2010 he'd run for an incredibly 1467 yards on just 230 carries, a YPC of 6.4, while also grabbing three touchdowns on 45 receptions as a receiver; in 2011 the Chiefs split carries between a completely ineffective Thomas Jones, a marginally effective Jackie Battle, and the not-quite-a-running-back Dexter McCluster.

Charles is back in the Chiefs' offense in the 2012 preseason, and he comes into their Pretend Week 2 game vs. the St. Louis Rams with a lot still to prove. In his return to action in their preseason win vs. the Arizona Cardinals last week, Charles took three carries for 12 yards and added a reception for 11 more.

The Chiefs have another potential comeback star in the backfield as a hedge against Charles's knee—Peyton Hillis, who ran for nearly 1200 yards in 2010 with the Cleveland Browns, earning a fan-voted Madden cover before falling back to earth in 2011.

More Rams vs. Chiefs coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:

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Rams Vs. Chiefs: Sam Bradford's Ankle Injury Will Be Center Of Attention In St. Louis

The St. Louis Rams' Pretend Week 2 preseason game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs is interesting for a number of reasons—there's the usual interstate rivalry, the return of Chiefs star Jamaal Charles, Jeff Fisher's second game in charge of the Rams' spiraling reputation—but the most interesting question, after a full week of speculation, is just how healthy Sam Bradford's injured ankle is after a half-season of recovery time.

To recap, this is where things stand—

It's easy to understand how tired Bradford must be of talking about it, but his failure to deny it in a satisfying way has combined with the Rams' offensive line's inability to protect him in Week 1 any better than they did last year to make Rams fans more than a little gunshy about their erstwhile franchise savior's health going into his crucial third season.

Bradford's struggled enough to match up with fans' expectations when he's healthy; if he's hobbling around behind the imperfect wall anchored by Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold, this could be a long, long season at the Edward Jones Dome. His performance against the Chiefs will be dissected for exactly that reason.

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Sam Bradford Injury Talk Continues To Swirl Around Surgery Amid Quarterback's Denial

Sam Bradford injury talk continues to swirl around St. Louis Rams camp, but the team's inability to banish last year's high ankle sprain from the conversation seems more contingent on their trouble managing the conversation than Sam Bradford's ankle. Bradford, in particular, seems unable to avoid pouring implicit gasoline on everything—in the offseason he seemed to meet every chance to deny his ankle sprain was a problem with a near-denial that only got people more concerned.

Thursday, at least, Bradford seemed to get better at messaging. After rumors came out that he'd require surgery on that ankle sometime this year, he denied that was a possibility—Jim Thomas quotes him as saying it would be "news to [him] that he needed surgery."

But even then Sam Bradford was unable to avoid finishing things off. Instead of saying it's-fine-and-I-feel-great and shut up, he said "Until it causes me to miss reps or miss time, it's a non-issue."

What that really means is that it is an issue, it's just that he's playing through it. Right?

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Could Sam Bradford Make The Matthew Stafford Leap In 2012

Here's the good news, if you like Sam Bradford and hope the St. Louis Rams' 2010-vintage savior succeeds (or if you just like the Rams and hope they succeed): Matt Stafford was going into his third season as an unsuccessful No. 1 overall quarterback last year. He was worse—Bradford had his inefficient-but-high-volume rookie season, with his nice counting stats, and he at least played 10 games instead of three.

In his third season, Matt Stafford—with Scott Linehan as his offensive coordinator—went full-on Turf-Show on the NFC, putting up 5038 yards and 41 touchdowns in 663 attempts.

Bradford won't have nearly as many attempts, no matter how good he is, because Jeff Fisher and Brian Schottenheimer are determined to make the Rams' offense boring. But if he could get his yard-per-attempt number up into the range Stafford have last year—7.6—we would stop having the bust conversation in a hurry.

Right now his career number is 6.0, so that's a bit of a leap. But Stafford's, before last season, was 5.9.

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