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Rams finish preseason 4-0 behind sharp Bradford

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By Mark Long, AP Sports Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams look ready for the regular season. David Garrard and the Jacksonville Jaguars still have work to do.

Bradford completed 7 of 11 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown, a perfectly thrown fade route to Lance Kendricks, and the Rams beat the Jaguars 24-17 in the preseason finale Thursday night. St. Louis finished the preseason with a perfect, 4-0 record for the first time since 1979.

Garrard and the Jaguars (1-3) had less success. He was hit repeatedly in two series and appeared to be pleading with his offensive linemen for protection on the sideline. Garrard completed 1 of 5 passes for 11 yards before turning things over to Luke McCown.

Yes, McCown. He passed rookie Blaine Gabbert on the depth chart this week. It appears that Gabbert, the 10th overall pick, will start the season as the third-stringer.

McCown completed 4 of 9 passes for 47 yards, including a 17-yard TD pass to rookie Cecil Shorts in the third quarter.

That was one of the few bright spots for Jacksonville. Another was the preseason debut of running back Maurice Jones-Drew and defensive end Aaron Kampman.

Both played about 10 snaps. Jones-Drew, coming off offseason knee surgery, had a 14-yard run off the left edge. But he finished with 14 yards on five carries.

Kampman didn't get a sack, but Jacksonville did get its first of the preseason. Nate Collins sacked Thaddeus Lewis on the second play of the third quarter.

``It was great having them back,'' coach Jack Del Rio said. ``We have been watching them work in practice so we know they're back. It was great to see Maurice rip off a run and bring a little energy to the sideline. He's a special young man.''

The Jaguars played without three starters: linebacker Daryl Smith (rest), defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (knee) and right tackle Eben Britton (back).

The line played well last week at Buffalo, but looked overmatched against the Rams. Left tackle Eugene Monroe, rookie guard Will Rackley and right tackle Guy Whimper all got beaten in the first two series.

``We just have to be firmer in the pocket and do what we're supposed to do, make the plays we are supposed to make,'' Garrard said. ``That is stuff we are going to get corrected and fixed so when opening day comes we are ready to roll.''

Del Rio downplayed his team's preseason struggles. The Jaguars got rolled at New England, played considerably better against Atlanta, but then fell behind 17-0 at Buffalo.

``Right now we are working through camp,'' Del Rio said. ``You can get too caught up celebrating what you have done in the preseason or the disappointments. I'm not going to get caught up in that. We have a good football team and we're going to be a good football team. We can't wait to get started.''

The Rams can't wait, either.

Bradford found Steven Jackson in the flat on a screen pass for a 27-yard gain on St. Louis' opening drive. Bradford took a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play, picking up an extra 15 yards. The drive ended with a punt, but Bradford found the end zone on his next possession. On third-and-1 at the Jacksonville 44, Bradford fooled the defense with play-action and hit Kendricks alone in the secondary for a 44-yard score.

``That was just bad eyes on our part,'' cornerback Rashean Mathis said. `It's something that's easy to fix. But we started like we wanted to and that was the goal. We did start like we wanted to.''

Bradford had the Rams on the move again before turning things over to A.J. Feeley to start the second quarter. Feeley's second pass was intercepted by Terrence Wheatley.

Game stats

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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