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Rams

Rams bounce back to beat Jaguars 27-17

The Times’ Sam Farmer, Gary Klein and Lindsey Thiry break down the Rams 27-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Rams improved to 4-2, the Jaguars fell to 3-3. 

The Rams are ensconced here at a plush beachfront resort, a staging ground for an extended trip that includes an upcoming flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Great Britain.

Regardless of the accommodations, the Rams would have been miserable if they were forced to stay far from home in the same city after a loss.

On Sunday, they avoided that scenario by showing again that they take comfort on the road.

A 27-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars ensured the Rams a pleasant stay in Florida as they prep for the second leg of the excursion to London.

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Pharoh Cooper returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, Malcolm Brown returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, Todd Gurley rushed for more than 100 yards and — after an ignominious start — the defense contained running back Leonard Fournette en route to the victory in front of 54,685 at EverBank Field.

Despite an offense that struggled to score and sustain drives most of the game, the Rams bounced back from last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks and improved to 4-2, matching their 2016 win total. They are unbeaten in three road games, with two more coming up before they play again at the Coliseum.

The Rams will remain in Jacksonville until late Thursday, when they will depart for London and a “home” game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Twickenham Stadium.

After returning home for a bye week, the Rams cross the country again to play the New York Giants.

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But under first-year coach Sean McVay, playing — and staying — away from home apparently is not so bad, especially when defeating one of the NFL’s hottest teams.

“It makes the trip a lot more enjoyable,” McVay said, laughing, after the victory.

Rams players said they cringed at the prospect of remaining in town after a defeat.

“Oh my God,” said cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who intercepted a pass, “that’s a nightmare.”

The Rams rode an emotional roller coaster in the first minute of Sunday’s game, rejoicing after Cooper scored on a 103-yard kickoff return.

But on the Jaguars’ first play, Fournette broke off a 75-yard touchdown run.

The Rams had spent the week preparing to stop the rookie, the NFL’s second-leading rusher who last week scored on a 90-yard touchdown run against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Rams defense “took a mulligan” on Fournette’s first carry, veteran linebacker Connor Barwin said, and then clamped down. Barwin, middle linebacker Alec Ogletree and others relayed the same message: Don’t let the play dictate the mood the rest of the game.

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“It’s Leonard Fournette — stuff like that happens,” Robey-Coleman said. “Move on and don’t let it happen again.”

Said lineman Aaron Donald: “It’s a long game, so if you let that hurt you and keep thinking about that it would be a longer game than what it is. We knew we messed up on the play and we settled down.”

The Rams limited Fournette to 55 yards in 20 carries the rest of the game.

Gurley had 116 yards in 23 carries, the third time in four games he eclipsed 100 yards.

Perhaps most important, a week after committing five turnovers against the Seahawks, the Rams committed only one against the NFL’s most productive defense at causing them.

Rams receiver Robert Woods lost a fumble in the third quarter, and the Jaguars converted the miscue into a field goal that pulled them within 24-17.

But a single turnover was regarded as something of a victory against a defense that had forced an NFL-best 15, including five interceptions against the Steelers.

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Quarterback Jared Goff completed only 11 of 21 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, but after committing three turnovers against the Seahawks he did not give away the ball against the Jaguars.

“Against a good defense like that, a team that you know they’re waiting for you to do that … the fact that I was able to come out with no turnovers, I was happy with,” Goff said, “and ultimately happy we got the win more than anything.”

On a day when the offense converted only four of 13 third downs, it essentially sealed the victory with a 12-play drive that ate about five of the final seven minutes and ended with Greg Zuerlein’s second field goal.

Afterward, instead of boarding a flight home or to London, the Rams returned to the resort. They will practice at a college for most of the week.

“We going to celebrate tonight,” Donald said, “and come back to work [Monday] and get ready for Arizona.”

gary.klein@latimes.com

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein


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