East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Sean Walker's 13-yard touchdown reception midway through the fourth quarter was the difference, as the St. Louis Rams clipped the New York Jets, 23-20, in the preseason opener for both clubs.
Marc Bulger was a perfect 4-of-4 through the air, finishing with 77 yards for the Rams. Sam Gado rushed six times for 93 yards, including a 77-yard TD.
Kellen Clemens, battling with rookie Mark Sanchez to be New York's starting quarterback, completed all four of his passes but fumbled on the game's opening drive. St. Louis transformed the turnover into three points via a Josh Brown 48-yard field goal.
Sanchez, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 draft, looked impressive on his lone possession. The USC product threw for 88 yards on 3-of-4 attempts.
"It's really good. It's really special to me to have my family here," Sanchez said on playing his first NFL game. "To hear the roar of the crowd when we run out of the tunnel and to complete a big play on your very first NFL pass, that was pretty fun, and I'm glad it finally came together."
The play Sanchez referred to was a 48-yard completion to David Clowney with the Jets in the shadow of their own end zone.
This contest marked the debuts for St. Louis head coach Steve Spagnuolo and the Jets' Rex Ryan.
Jay Feely kicked a 33-yard field goal to tie the game with about four minutes remaining in the first quarter, and a 26-yard completion by Sanchez to Dustin Keller set up a one-yard TD run by Thomas Jones for a 10-3 lead in the opening moments of the second.
Brown ended the half by hitting field goals of 34 and 39 yards, respectively.
Following the break, Gado rumbled 77 yards on the second play of the third quarter for a 16-10 Rams lead. Feely connected from 30 yards out to trim the deficit to three midway through the third.
New York regained the lead early in the fourth quarter when Clowney hauled in a 50-yard pass from Erik Ainge, but the Rams took advantage of a muffed punt to pull ahead. Keith Null threw a 13-yard TD pass to Walker to give St. Louis a 23-20 lead with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining, accounting for the final score.
Keller amassed 52 yards on three receptions...Ainge finished 10-of-17 for 148 yards...St. Louis wide receiver Laurent Robinson caught two passes for 52 yards.