During the three-game losing streak they brought to St. Louis, the Redskins had allowed 31 percent more yards after halftime than before as well as 44 points compared to 31.
And knowing that the Rams had rallied from 21 points down to defeat Houston in overtime the previous Sunday, the defense's main mission was to play a strong second half in St. Louis.
Mission accomplished. The defense shut out the NFL's fourth-ranked offense in the second half (the Rams got a safety) in turning a 10-7 halftime lead into a 24-9 victory. St. Louis managed a season-low 191 yards, just 51 and one first down in the first 25 minutes of the second half. And for the first time in 28 games since Joe Gibbs' return, the Redskins didn't allow a play of 20 yards.
"You've got to be physical with them because they're more of a finesse, throw-the-ball-type offense," Redskins defensive end Renaldo Wynn said. "We always start fast in the first half. This time, we wanted to make sure we didn't let it slip away in the second half."
With a 10-point lead for the third straight week, the Redskins' defense didn't relax, pressuring rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and negating the Rams' running game which produced just 49 yards on 17 carries, only nine yards on six carries after halftime.
"We had watched the Rams come back against Houston to win," defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin said. "A team like that is very explosive and has the potential to go right down the field. We couldn't let up."
In the first 30 minutes of losses to Tampa Bay, Oakland and San Diego, the defense allowed averages of 123 yards, 4.1 yards a play and 10.3 points. The three foes were 6-for-21 on third-down conversions.
After halftime, those numbers swelled to an average of 234.7 yards, 6.6 yards a snap, 14.7 points and 11-for-21 on third down.
But in St. Louis, two plays after the safety that closed the Rams within 17-9 with 11:59 to go, Wynn fell on a Fitzpatrick fumble at the St. Louis 45 to launch the offense on the clinching touchdown drive.
"They got close with the safety and it went through (our) minds, all of the losses that we had before, but we came together and finished," middle linebacker Lemar Marshall said.
--QB Mark Brunell's 8-for-8, 100-yard, one-touchdown second half in St. Louis moved him into third in the NFC with an 87.8 passer rating and into first in the league in lowest interception percentage (1.4).
--RB Clinton Portis scooted 47 yards to the end zone on his second carry in St. Louis and wound up with 136 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Portis went over 1,000 yards for the fourth time in his four-year career. He's on pace for 1,439 yards, seven ahead of Stephen Davis' team record of 2001.
--A week after making a 13-yard touchdown his only carry against San Diego, RB Rock Cartwright enjoyed the first 100-yard day of his four-year career with 118 yards on just nine carries. Cartwright, who ripped off a career-long 52-yard run, had a 25-yarder called back by a penalty.
--WR Santana Moss had just three catches against the Rams, but all were for first downs, including a twisting, 30-yard grab on which he outjumped two defenders. Moss has 66 catches for 1,111 (fourth in the NFL) and six touchdowns despite the lack of an effective No. 2 receiver.
--After stepping up with four catches (three for first downs) for 44 yards against San Diego, WR Taylor Jacobs' only catch lost a yard.
--H-back Chris Cooley is the most productive Redskins H-back or tight end since the late Jerry Smith in the late 1960s. Cooley had five catches for 58 yards (equaling WR Santana Moss' total) and a TD in St. Louis. Cooley's 54 catches are the most for an NFC TE and his 629 yards are third.
--A week after dropping three of the four balls thrown his way, TE Robert Royal had a career day with four catches for 40 yards.
--K John Hall has missed two of his last three field-goal attempts including a 45-yarder in the Edward Jones Dome. This after a 9-for-9 start to a second straight injury-shortened season. Hall did hit a 38-yarder, but he also sent his subsequent kickoff out of bounds. His other four kickoffs all sailed inside the 10.
--WLB Marcus Washington ended St. Louis' first series by sacking Ryan Fitzpatrick at the 1 and finished with five tackles.
--Rookie CB Carlos Rogers, in his first start since supplanting veteran Walt Harris in the lineup, led the Redskins with six tackles, intercepted a pass for the second straight week and helped hold the Rams without a 20-yard catch for the first time this season.