ST. LOUIS (AP) — Bobby Rainey scored his first two touchdowns of the preseason, leading a cluster of backups fighting for jobs on both sides in the St. Louis Rams’ 24-21 victory to close the preseason on Thursday night.
Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice watched from home, as did Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.
The Rams (1-3) avoided their first winless preseason since 2002 on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Austin Davis to Chase Reynolds with 2:40 to go. They clinched it when Drew Thomas intercepted third-stringer Caleb Hanie at the 4 in the final minute.
The Ravens (2-2) open the NFL season next Thursday night at Denver. Coach John Harbaugh typically sits all of his regulars for the final preseason game and Hanie went the distance with second-stringer Tyrod Taylor held out.
The ultimate goal for both teams, besides deciding some jobs, was to get out of the finale unscathed.
Attendance was announced at 53,364, although the 67,000-seat Edward Jones Dome appeared about one-third full for a sloppy show marred by six total turnovers. The Rams were whistled for 113 yards in penalties.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher opened with a handful of starters, including both first-round draft picks. Tavon Austin’s outing was damaged by one of the team’s three fumbles, and linebacker Alec Ogletree had two tackles.
Davis and Kellen Clemens both had strong games competing to be Sam Bradford’s backup.
Safety Matt Elam, the Ravens’ first-round pick, had a strong first half with a forced fumble and four tackles.
St. Louis took its first lead on Nick Johnson’s 4-yard catch early in the fourth quarter, and the Ravens answered 2:21 later on Marlon Brown’s 50-yard catch and run for a 21-17 lead.
Rainey had opened the scoring with a 1-yard run in the first quarter and had an 8-yard run in the second.