Rams' D ranked ninth in league, but team wants victories
ST. LOUIS (AP) The St. Louis Rams' defense has long aspired to top-10 status. They've got it, checking in tied for ninth with San Diego in yards allowed after a strong showing in Sunday's 12-6 loss to Pittsburgh.
That ranking fails to impress Rams coach Jeff Fisher, though. He wants wins.
''It means nothing,'' Fisher said Tuesday after practice. ''We're 1-2. We've moved into the top 10 in the league, but we've not made enough plays defensively to win games. We need to learn to win games on defense.''
The defense, stocked with six first-round draft picks, is coming off its best showing of the year against the Steelers. Receiver Antonio Brown was kept out of the end zone, and running back Le'Veon Bell's return was short-circuited as the Rams held him to just 62 yards on the ground.
St. Louis recorded five sacks and has 158 sacks since 2012 - the most in the NFL in that time.
The defense also forced a fumble and had an interception.
''I think we're moving in the right direction,'' Chris Long said. ''We've just to continue to work hard to create turnovers and get sacks. We've got to give the offense a short field every once in a while and do our part, too.
''There's going to be days where we've got to pick it up if the offense is having a down day. That's the next step for us. We've got to make more big plays. It's good to move in the top 10 or whatever, but we've got to create more chances for our team.''
Many Rams had big plays against Pittsburgh.
Tackle Aaron Donald picked up a sack to give him 3 1/2 sacks on the year. End Robert Quinn recorded a sack and a forced fumble. Tackle Michael Brockers stuffed Bell on a third-and-goal from the 2 to force a field goal on the opening drive.
Linebacker Alec Ogletree had two sacks for the first multisack game of his career. He also had 15 tackles.
''It's definitely a fun experience to get a sack, especially with the D-line that we have,'' Ogletree said. ''They are tough to come by.''
Linebacker James Laurinaitis became the Rams' all-time leading tackler in front of Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen.
The Rams have spent heavily in the draft on its defense in recent years. Long, Quinn, Brockers, Ogletree and Donald are all first-rounders. Laurinaitis, Jenkins and Lamarcus Johner were second-round picks. Johnson and T.J. McDonald were third-round choices. Tackle Nick Fairley, a free agent signing from Detroit, was a first-round pick by the Lions.
The defense will be tested Sunday when the Rams travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals. Arizona has the No. 2 offense in the NFC.
''We want to be a top 5 defense, so we need to do what we need to do to make that happen,'' Ogletree said. ''Arizona is explosive. They will be a challenge for us.''
The Cardinals boast many weapons on offense. including quarterback Carson Palmer and receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Running back Chris Johnson turned in a strong rushing performance for the Cardinals last week.
Arizona has won six of its last eight home games against the Rams.
All that doesn't matter, Johnson noted.
''Right now, where I'm at, man, we're 1-2 and that's not good enough,'' Johnson said. ''We've got to step it up and hold ourselves accountable. We've all got to do better.''
NOTES: The Rams waived 2012 second-round (No. 50 overall) draft pick Isaiah Pead, who played in 27 games with one start. Pead, who missed the 2014 season with a torn ACL, was one of the picks St. Louis received in trading with Washington, who grabbed Robert Griffin III. ... The Rams promoted cornerback Brandon McGee from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster. ... St. Louis added former New Orleans receiver Nick Toon to the practice squad. ... WR Kenny Britt and S Maurice Alexander did not practice.