Sam Bradford certainly made use of his new offensive targets in Week 1.
Bradford will try to guide St. Louis to its first 2-0 start in 12 years this Sunday as the Rams visit the Atlanta Falcons and former teammate Steven Jackson at the Georgia Dome.
The Rams opened up the 2013 season with a 27-24 victory over the division- rival Arizona Cardinals, with Bradford throwing for 299 yards. Both of his touchdown passes went to tight end Jared Cook, who was making his St. Louis debut after having spent his first four NFL seasons with Tennessee.
Cook caught a 13-yard scoring pass to close the first-half scoring at 10-10 and began a 14-point fourth-quarter rally with a one-yard TD grab 2:04 into the final frame. His seven-catch, 141-yard game was capped with a 25-yard reception that helped set up Greg Zuerlein's go-ahead 48-yard field goal with 40 seconds to play, his fourth field goal of the game.
The 26-year-old Cook's big game helped make up for his fumble on a potential touchdown in the first quarter.
Rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin was the Rams' second-leading receiver with six catches for 41 yards.
"For a young team to endure some of the things we did today, I'm so proud of the guys. No one ever lost their cool," said Bradford.
St. Louis won its season opener for the first time since 2006 and has not begun a campaign with two straight wins since the franchise won its first six contests of the 2001 season.
Despite the season-opening victory over a division rival, the Rams won't change their approach against the Falcons.
"This group, we talked about the '24 hour rule' and it's good to get it over with and get on to the next opponent after a win," said St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher, who won his 150th career game on Sunday. "But, you can't dwell on the win or the loss and I think they understand that. So, we've already moved on to Atlanta."
The Rams have also moved on from Jackson, the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 10,135 yards. He spent his first nine seasons with St. Louis after being selected 24th overall in the 2004 draft, scoring 56 rushing touchdowns while catching another eight scoring passes.
Jackson, though, made the playoffs just once with the Rams, during his rookie season, and the club allowed him to void the final season of the six-year deal he signed with St. Louis in 2008. He signed with Atlanta in March and said Wednesday that it didn't feel strange putting on a Falcons uniform until he saw himself on film.
"When you actually look at it and you see yourself in red and black instead of the blue and gold, it was quite different then," he added. "It's been a little bit different this week studying the guys, looking at them schematically, differently than I have over the years. It's separating the personal from the business."
The Falcons and Jackson hope to rebound after Sunday's disappointing 23-17 road loss to New Orleans. Atlanta managed 367 yards of offense, but was held scoreless over its final four drives, the final one ending when Matt Ryan was intercepted in the end zone on 4th-and-goal with 43 seconds left.
Ryan threw for 304 yards and found wide receiver Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez for touchdown passes, while Jackson ran for 77 yards on 11 carries in his Falcons debut. He also caught five balls for 45 yards.
"This obviously was a game we had a chance to win, but we made far too many mistakes throughout the game," noted Falcons head coach Mike Smith. "Even there in the end we had a great chance but we just didn't get the outcome we wanted. With that being said, we know it's just the first game of a new year."