ST. LOUIS - Gus Frerotte carries blame for the St. Louis Rams' last home loss. His fast start had a lot to do with the franchise finally getting a win.
Frerotte threw three touchdown passes in the first half, then sweated out two second-half interceptions that fueled an Atlanta comeback in a 28-16 victory over the Falcons on Sunday, the Rams' first home win this season.
Frerotte fumbled a routine snap on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the final minute of a 5-point loss to the Seahawks last week at home, and needed a defensive stop after Chris Crocker's interception and 16-yard return to the Rams 33 with 5:33 left gave the Falcons a shot at the lead.
Chris Redman threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter after replacing an ineffective Joey Harrington for the Falcons (3-9), who cut the gap to 21-16 midway through and had a chance to take the lead. Atlanta stalled at the 9 with 2:14 to go when Tye Hill broke up a fourth-down pass intended for Joe Horn.
Oshiomogho Atogwe intercepted an overthrown ball and returned it 27 yards to midfield with 1:31 left, and Steven Jackson scored on a 50-yard run two plays later to clinch it. Redman was 16-of-24 for 172 yards with two touchdown and one interception.
Randy McMichael, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce caught first-half touchdown passes to give the Rams a 21-0 lead. Holt had six catches for 135 yards for St. Louis, which avoided a second straight second-half collapse after squandering a 19-7 lead in a 24-19 loss to the Seahawks last week.
Roddy White caught 10 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown for the Falcons.
Attendance was announced at 62,051 at the Edward Jones Dome, although the building appeared to be about two-thirds full. Jackson suggested the Rams enliven the atmosphere with a spruced-up music set and got his wish with more modern rock and hip hop.
The Rams' dismal 0-5 start saddled the franchise, among the NFL elite earlier this decade, with its third home TV blackout this season after only one the first 12 seasons in St. Louis.
The Rams are 8-14 at home the last three seasons after going 39-9 from 1999-2004, leading to apathy and to Jackson's complaint about a lack of energy and atmosphere in the dome.
The Falcons' only scoring the first three quarters came on a 41-yard field goal by Morten Andersen in the third quarter that ended a five-quarter scoreless slump.
Frerotte got his third start of the year in place of Marc Bulger, sidelined by a concussion in the first quarter of last week's loss to the Seahawks. Frerotte played well the last three quarters of the game, but his day was spoiled when he fumbled that late snap.
Frerotte was 9-of-10 for 147 yards and touchdown passes on the Rams' first two possessions, drives of 75 and 95 yards capped by McMichael's 1-yard grab and Holt's 31-yarder. Bruce's 8-yard catch for his 83rd career touchdown made it 21-0 with 1:55 left in the half.
Redman was 5-of-5 for 50 yards on the Falcons' first drive of the fourth quarter, capped by a 15-yard scoring pass to White and Michael Jenkins' 5-yard catch that cut the deficit to 21-16 with 7:17 to go.
The Falcons had a 77-yard punt return by Adam Jennings negated by a block in the third quarter. Jennings also was flagged for taunting inside the Rams 10 when he waved to his pursuers.