ST. LOUIS -- The stout run defense of Monday night proved to be a one-game mirage. The team that can't stand prosperity and all but refuses to seize the moment was in character once again on Sunday.
As a result, the Rams the suffered a tough 28-21 loss to Tennessee, a bitter pill to swallow for coach Jeff Fisher against his former team at the Edward Jones Dome.
After stuffing Marshawn Lynch just six days prior, the Rams couldn't contain Chris Johnson, who rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
The Rams all but dominated the first 21/2 quarters, taking a 14-7 lead to start the second half, but couldn't seal the deal. A costly fumble by Kellen Clemens led to the go-ahead touchdown on a 19-yard run off right tackle by Johnson with 2 minutes 54 seconds to play.
The Rams made it to the Tennessee 21 with 21 seconds to play, but two passes intended for Austin Pettis fell incomplete, the first of which looked like pass interference against the Titans.
Johnson finished with 150 yards rushing on two TDs for Tennessee (4-4); Zac Stacy finished with 127 yards rushing and two TDs for the Rams (3-6).
The Rams were slow out of the gate, allowing Tennessee to march 68 yards for a touchdown off the opening kickoff. Along the way, the Titans were aided by three penalties against the Rams, amounting to 24 yards.
Johnson, averaging only 3.2 yards per carry this season, got things going for the visitors from Nashville, going 23 yards off tackle on the game's first play from scrimmage. Six plays and three penalties later, Shonn Greene dragged Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree into the end zone on a five-yard TD run.
The Rams controlled the rest of the half, but had only one touchdown to show for it, with the team tied at the half 7-7.
On the first St. Louis possession, the Rams marched to the Tennessee 20 by mixing the run and the pass. But on first-and-10 from the 20, Benny Cunningham fumbled at the tail end of a six-yard gain up the middle. It was Cunningham's first carry after missing the past two games with an ankle injury. The ball merely popped out of his hands -- he was untouched on the play -- and right into the arms of Tennessee cornerback Cody Sensabaugh.
But the Rams found the end zone on their next possession, marching 80 yards in 12 plays on a drive that included a couple of firsts. On second-and-eight from the Tennessee 17, rookie Stedman Bailey caught his first pass of the season for a first down at the Titans' 5.
Two plays later, the Rams scored their first rushing TD of the season, on a three-yard run off left guard to tie the score with 9:37 left in the second quarter. The Rams had another excellent scoring opportunity late in the second quarter, when cornerback Cortland Finnegan stepped in front of intended receiver Kenny Britt for an interception deep in Titans territory.
It was Finnegan's first interception since Game 3 of last season and it gave the Rams a first down at the Tennessee 26 with 44 seconds left in the half. But the Rams could capitalize. After three incomplete passes, Greg Zuerlein missed a 44-yard field goal wide right.
Clemens, making his second start in place of the injured Sam Bradford, completed his first seven passes, but his next six were incomplete.
The Rams started the second half with another long TD drive, again culminating with a Stacy touchdown run, a nine-yard romp through a huge hole up the middle. At this point, the Rams had outgained Tennessee 243 yards to 70, but had just a 14-7 lead.
The Rams couldn't stand the prosperity, because the Titans took the ensuing kickoff and mounted a 70-yard TD march of their own. Johnson ran right by a Rams blitz en route to a 15-yard TD -- his first rushing touchdown of the season. That tied the game at 14-all with 4:58 left in the third.
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