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Brown's production up, but indicative of Rams' scoring woes

ST. LOUIS -- Kicker Josh Brown is likely to end the season with the second-highest scoring total of his career.

However, what's good for him is bad for the St. Louis Rams' offense.

Brown is sixth in the NFL with 108 points, a 25-point improvement over last season when the Rams were last in the NFL in scoring. He's 28 for 34, including two kicks that were blocked. The 82 percent accuracy is a 1 percent increase over his career mark entering the season.

And he's 3 for 4 beyond 50 yards.

"If you're locked in 100 percent, I don't think I should ever miss. Period," Brown said Thursday. "I don't think there's a guy that can kick field goals as long and as accurate in the league.

"Minus the two blocks, I'm right there knocking on the door at 90 percent."

The trouble is, the Rams (6-8) have been leaning too much on Brown's booming kicks. The past three games they've totaled eight field goals, including four at Arizona, but only one touchdown per game.

"It's good if you're winning games," Brown said. "It's just a hard way to win in December, a hard way to win in the playoffs."

Brown also finished 28 for 34 when he scored a career-best 127 points in 2007 for the Seattle Seahawks, including a pair of game-winning field goals to beat the Rams. That year he kicked 43 extra points, and this year he's 24 for 25.

Out of three promising opening drives in last week's loss to the Chiefs, the Rams settled for field goals of 37 and 52 yards plus a punt for an unimpressive 6-0 first-quarter lead that didn't stand up for long.

"We do such a good job getting the ball down there but once we get there we start to have hiccups," running back Steven Jackson said. "We know how important it is to jump on a team, especially the chances against Kansas City.

"If you go up 14-0, I believe it's a different ballgame, I believe it puts them in catch-up mode."

Brown has been called upon far too often for chip shots, going 9 for 10 inside the 30, the lone miss coming on a blocked kick in Week 3 against the Redskins.

"Great for me, fantastic for me," Brown said. "But if you're not winning it's a horrible, horrible thing."

The Rams get a do-over with playoff implications on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers and Jackson wants the team to put the load on him.

"These kinds of games, these kinds of pressure situations are what I live for," Jackson said. "It's something that I thrive in, I believe. When it comes to these situations, let's go back to the old Steven.

"I think the best player should have the ball."

More carries from Jackson would ease the burden on rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, who has thrown five interceptions and no touchdown passes the past three games. Not that Jackson is fixated on ending the 49ers' streak of 20 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard game.

"It's not so much about numbers," Jackson said. "Sometimes just your presence on the field does a lot for your teammates, I've come to understand that."

The Rams got one player back and lost one in practice Thursday. Defensive end Chris Long returned after missing a day with a thigh bruise, but offensive tackle Jason Smith rolled his left ankle.

Tight end Mike Hoomanawanui did not practice a day after aggravating a high ankle sprain on Wednesday.

Long said he's been fine since the swelling subsided.

"It shouldn't be anything like this that should keep me out of any game, especially in a situation like this," Long said. "These are the most important games you've got so you can't save up for anything."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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