St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) – Matt Cassel completed 15-of-29 for 184 yards and a touchdown in his return to the lineup to guide Kansas City to a 27-13 triumph over St. Louis at the Edward Jones Dome.
Thomas Jones carried 22 times for 62 yards and a touchdown and became the 25th back in league history to eclipse the 10,000-yard rushing plateau. Jamal Charles ran 11 times for 126 yards and a score for the Chiefs (9-5), who maintained their one-game lead over San Diego in the AFC West.
Sam Bradford connected on 21-of-43 throws for 181 yards and joined Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan as the only rookies in NFL history to throw for 3,000 yards in their rookie campaign as the Rams (6-8) held on to their share of the lead in the NFC West after Seattle fell at home Atlanta.
Steven Jackson carried 19 times for 67 yards and a score for St. Louis, which lost a 34th straight game when trailing at the half.
After being stymied offensively since the first quarter, the Rams put together a 12-play, 72-yard drive that Jackson finished off with a five-yard scoring run up the middle to bring the Rams to within 20-13 with 4:04 to play.
St. Louis had been held to two first downs from the 12:39 mark in the second quarter until starting their lone touchdown drive with 8 1/2 remaining in the game.
“I didn’t think I played well at all today,” Bradford said. “I missed some throws. I’m part of the reason we weren’t able to find our rhythm as an offense. When things aren’t going well, I’ve got to be able to get some completions and get some first downs to get us in a rhythm. For the most part today, I wasn’t able to do that.”
The Chiefs started the ensuing drive at their 18-yard line but Charles burst over left side and down the boundary for a career-long 80 yards before being dragged down at the Rams two.
Jones removed any doubt from the outcome by leaping over the goal line on the next play to restore a 14-point spread with 3 1/2 minutes to play.
St. Louis moved 53 yards on 14 plays on the game’s opening possession but had to settle for Josh Brown’s 37-yard field goal. Back-to-back false start penalties on 3rd-and-1 followed by a Bradford incompletion halted the drive at the KC 19-yard line.
The Chiefs went three-and-out on their first series and Danny Amendola returned the ensuing punt 42 yards to the visitors’ 36. The Rams drive stalled after three plays bringing out Brown, who nailed a 52-yarder to make it 6-0 with 4:43 remaining in the opening quarter.
“A big thing for us all week was that we had to show that we could bounce back from a difficult, demoralizing loss last week in a big game and come into this big game and do the things we had to do to win,” Kansas City head coach Todd Haley said. “We started out a little shaky but we got our feet under us, we settled down and started playing football and doing things we knew we had to do to have a chance to win.”
Kevin Dockery intercepted Cassel on the Chiefs next possession, the first time he had been picked off in 163 throws.
Cassel, though, rebounded to direct a nine-play, 61-yard drive that ended when he lofted a two-yard scoring pass to Leonard Pope to give the visitors the lead with just under seven minutes to go in the first half. It was the Chiefs first touchdown in nine quarters.
Charles capped off the Chiefs next drive with a two-yard scoring run to make it a 14-6 game with 1:47 left before the break.
KC added to its lead with Ryan Succop’s 53-yard field goal, matching his career-long, on the first series in the second half.
His second successful boot of the day, from 38 yards, pushed the Chiefs lead to 20-6 with 12:20 left in the contest.
Cassel is 8-0 against the NFC West…He had missed last Sunday’s loss to San Diego after undergoing an appendectomy during the middle of the week…Cassel ran for 17 of the Chiefs 210 yards on the ground…It was the sixth time this season KC has run for 200 yards or more, two shy of the franchise record set in 1978…Charles had the 10th 100-yard rushing game of his career…He has 1,303 yards, the seventh-highest single season total in team history. Chris Chambers led the Chiefs receivers with three catches for 42 yards while Charles made three grabs for 27…Succop also hit a 53-yarder against Baltimore on September 13, 2009…Bradford has thrown for 3,065 yards through 14 games…Manning passed for 3,739 yards in 1998 while Ryan threw for 3,440 yards two years ago…Amendola made seven receptions for 60 yards to lead the Rams…Jackson caught five passes for 37 yards…The Chiefs claimed the Governor’s Cup in the battle for the state of Missouri.