Jackson, Givens also had big games for Rams


Jackson, Givens also had big games for Rams

ST. LOUIS (AP) The five-game winless streak is over for the St. Louis Rams, and not just because of rookie Janoris Jenkins' historic day. Steven Jackson and rookie Chris Givens had big days on offense, too, and the defense threw a shutout in the second half.

The bruising Jackson had a season-best 139 yards rushing in Sunday's 31-17 victory at Arizona, putting him in easy range of an eighth straight 1,000-yard season, which would extend his franchise record. He's eighth in the NFC with 724 yards and with a pair of 100-yard efforts in the last three games.

``He took over,'' quarterback Sam Bradford said. ``I have seen it before. He gets that look in his eye and he is not going to be stopped.''

Givens, a fourth-round draft pick out of Wake Forest, had five catches for 115 yards and a touchdown for his first career 100-yard game.

``Yeah, it's pretty cool,'' Givens said. ``I care more about wins and losses than my stats, but it's definitely cool to get the first one under my belt.''

The Rams (4-6-1) had a season-best 173 yards rushing with a 5.1-yard average behind a line that had all starters in place for the first time since the opener. Center Scott Wells had been out since breaking a bone in his left foot in Week 1, and his return strengthened the line at two spots with replacement center Robert Turner moving to left guard.

Wells was one of the Rams' top free agent pickups in the offseason, coming off a Pro Bowl season with the Packers. Coach Jeff Fisher said Wells looked good in the game and, just as important, felt fine afterward.

Jackson and the line stepped up in the fourth quarter with an 11-play, 71-yard drive that consumed nearly seven minutes, capped by a chip-shot field goal by Greg Zuerlein that put St. Louis up by two touchdowns with 5:32 to play.

Jackson had 41 yards on 10 carries in the first half, and 98 yards on 14 carries the rest of the way, including a key 15-yard burst on third-and-1 from the St. Louis 36.

``That first half I told them to be patient with me, I will get into the rhythm of the game,'' Jackson said. ``And that was definitely what we did.''

Thanks to Jenkins' ball-hawking skills, the Rams ended a five-game turnover drought with an exclamation point. The second-round pick out of North Alabama, after getting kicked off the team at Florida, is the first rookie since 1960 and first St. Louis player to have two interceptions for touchdowns in one game.

Jenkins has stepped up since getting a one-game disciplinary suspension for the first 49ers game two weeks ago, along with Givens and defensive tackle Kellen Heard. The less-heralded Heard was released.

``The issue has been put aside. I don't think the issue had anything to do with their production prior to them being sat down,'' Fisher said. ``They both have room for considerable improvement.''

Prior to the suspension, Jenkins had been burned for four touchdown passes in three games. Givens, one of the fastest players in this year's draft class, has developed into an all-around threat after getting a 50-yard reception in five consecutive games earlier in the year, but not much else in that span.

``You're seeing more production and different types of production,'' Fisher said. ``The first few weeks it was the long balls and now he's making the short catches and runs, the jailbreak screens.

``As we said, we wanted to get him involved in the short and intermediate passing game, and he's coming along.''

Givens told Bradford he could handle Cardinals rookie cornerback Justin Bethel, saying ``Come on, let's take a shot at this guy. He's not ready.''

Three of the Rams' four interceptions against rookie Ryan Lindley came in the second half after coaches dialed up the pressure with more blitzing, getting just one sack but plenty of hurries. They finished with 17 unanswered points to wrap up their first sweep over the Cardinals since 2003 and their first sweep over a division opponent since knocking off the Seahawks three times in 2004, including the playoffs.

``We've kept saying that it's nothing we're not doing, it's just the ball has to bounce our way. We have to create our own luck. All of a sudden they come in bundles.''

The Rams had been 0-4-1 since beating the Cardinals 17-3 in Week 5 to go to 3-2 on the season, topping their victory total from 2011. They won on the road for the first time since Week 10 last season.


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Ovi named top dog of NHL's Three Stars of the Week


Ovi named top dog of NHL's Three Stars of the Week

The red hot Alex Ovechkin is clicking on all cylinders in season 14 and not showing any signs of slowing down. 

The 33-year-old leads the NHL with 29 goals, including one during Saturday's shootout victory over the Sabres, making it six consecutive games he's found the back of the net. 

Not only has Ovechkin scored, but he's scored in droves. Back-to-back hat tricks (Detroit, Carolina) are a big reason why the Great Eight has popped off for nine goals over the last five Capital games. 

Oh, and when he isn't notching hat tricks...catch him sitting courtside for Wizards games. 

For Ovi's efforts, he was named top dog of the National Hockey League's Three Stars of the Week. 


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Wizards' trade for Trevor Ariza, sending Kelly Oubre to Suns, now official


Wizards' trade for Trevor Ariza, sending Kelly Oubre to Suns, now official

For the second time in his career, Trevor Ariza is a member of the Washington Wizards. The trade to send Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers to Phoenix in exchange for Ariza was made official on Monday, two days after the teams reached an agreement in principle.

The Wizards played a game during that time, a win over the Lakers on Sunday. Because the deal was not official, head coach Scott Brooks could not comment when addressing the media. 

Up next are the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, with Ariza eligible to make his season debut with the team.

Ariza, 33, comes to Washington in his 15th NBA season. He is averaging 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 36 percent from three. He is also shooting just 37.9 percent from the field, the lowest mark of his career.

The Wizards hope Ariza can help shore up their perimeter defense and provide a change to their locker room chemistry. He had two of the best seasons in his career with the Wizards back in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The Wizards were one of the best defensive teams in basketball at the time.

While Ariza will likely debut against the Hawks on Tuesday, it will not be long until the Wizards see Oubre and Rivers again. They return to Washington this Saturday, as the Wizards host the Suns in their first meeting with the team of this season.