The Rams found a running game found the end zone and found an opponent to their liking Sunday in the Jacksonville Jaguars. The result was a much-needed 34-20 victory and an end to a three-game losing streak that included back-to-back stinkers against Dallas and San Francisco.

With hard-running Zac Stacy starting at running back the Rams topped 100 yards rushing for the first time this season. Stacy was decisive didn’t tip-toe to the hole and got yards after contract en route to a 78-yard day on 14 carries. However Stacy didn’t finish the game because of a rib injury. As a team the Rams (2-3) finished with 143 yards rushing; they had managed only 189 in the first four games of the year.

Meanwhile the Rams scored a season high in points on three touchdown passes from Sam Bradford and a couple of big defensive turnovers including a “pick six” by safety Matt Giordano.

Sunday’s start was discouraging for the Rams as some of the same problems haunting them this season cropped up early.

After forcing Jacksonville to punt on a 3-and-out to start the game Rams rookie Ray Ray Armstrong was flagged once again for a special teams penalty negating a 23-yard punt return by Tavon Austin. So instead of starting at the Jacksonville 46 the Rams were pushed back to their own 23 for their first offensive series _ a loss of 31 yards of field position.

Then came another Rams bugaboo after a 3-and-out series by St. Louis _ giving up the easy touchdown. There was confusion in the reworked Rams secondary and it resulted in a 67-yard TD pass from quarterback Blaine Gabbert to wide receiver Justin Blackmon just off his four-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Blackmon was left uncovered in the slot and safety Darian Stewart arrived late to try to cover him. Stewart compounded the problem by staring into the backfield instead of worrying about Blackmon who raced by him over the middle for a big gain. The only safety back was Giordano and Blackmon eluded him for the score and a 7-0 Jacksonville lead just 4½ minutes into the game.

With both Cortland Finnegan (hamstring) and T.J. McDonald (fractured leg) out the Rams started Trumaine Johnson at cornerback in the base defense. Safety Rodney McLeod moved down to play a corner-like role in the nickel covering the slot receiver. Stewart started in McDonald’s place at safety and then in the nickel Giordano came of the bench to play safety while McLeod covered the slot receiver.

Three safeties and two corners in the nickel made for an unconventional approach but after those early bumps it worked well enough. Giordano and Stewart both made amends later in the half for their miscues on the Blackmon score. First came Giordano returning a badly overthrown pass by Gabbert _ the Mizzou and Parkway West High product _ 82 yards for a TD on his first Rams interception.