ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Rams scored their first points and got their first sack of the season against the Washington Redskins.
They're still waiting for their first victory.
The Rams head into the home opener against the Green Bay Packers having lost 12 consecutive games after falling 9-7 to the Redskins.
"Nobody in the locker room is really in the mood to try to find a light in the loss," said offensive lineman Adam Goldberg, who'll likely start in place of Jason Smith (sprained left knee) this week. "It's time to just tighten things up, do what we need to do, and go out and get a W."
New coach Steve Spagnuolo said he was "disappointed but not discouraged" and warned players each week won't necessarily bring improvements.
"Be careful not to think just because it was 28-0 a week ago and this week it was a two-point deficit that it's automatic," Spagnuolo said. "It doesn't happen that way. Every week is a new week, and we've got a new challenge this week with Green Bay."
Still, Spagnuolo cited several positive developments from the loss.
The offense had three drives that lasted 10 or more plays and was 6 for 12 on third down after going 2 for 12 in the opener, and quarterback Marc Bulger hit Laurent Robinson for a 2-yard touchdown pass on a fade route that put St. Louis ahead 7-6 late in the second quarter. The running game also got into gear with Steven Jackson gaining 104 yards on 17 carries.
The scrappy defense allowed just three field goals, and James Hall just missed dropping Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell for a safety on the sack early in the fourth quarter.
But wide receiver Donnie Avery's lost fumble at the Washington 5 early in the fourth quarter cost the Rams dearly.
And St. Louis clearly has adopted a defensive mentality.
Spagnuolo played it safe and sat on a 7-6 lead at the end of the first half, even though the Rams were at their 30 with 1:12 to go and three timeouts remaining. He declined to second-guess that decision.
"I thought we were playing well, we had some good momentum," Spagnuolo said. "I played it pretty close to the vest. I think I'd do the same thing."
St. Louis had 3rd-and-2 at the Washington 41 with 9:25 to play trailing 9-7. Instead of handing it twice to the 235-pound Jackson running behind the upgraded offensive line, Bulger threw incomplete over the middle to Robinson on third down. The Rams then lined up in a fake punt formation on fourth down that failed to confuse the Redskins into jumping offsides.
After a 5-yard delay of game call, Donnie Jones punted it into the end zone. The Rams got one more chance, starting at their own 4 with 1:55 to go, and went four-and-out.
Spagnuolo said he considered going for it but felt good about how the defense was playing. With Jones' ability to pin down the Redskins, he thought the Rams could get the ball back and put Josh Brown in position for a go-ahead field goal.
"What you don't want to have happen is don't make the first down and then the momentum swings," Spagnuolo said. "We played the field position game in a two-point game."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)