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Rapid Reaction: St. Louis Rams

ST. LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 52-0 win over the Oakland Raiders at the Edward Jones Dome:

What it means: Finally free from the brutal schedule that saw them play nine consecutive games against teams with winning records, the Rams showed what they can do when faced with an inferior opponent. Yes, an inferior opponent. That phrase hasn't been linked to many teams the Rams have played in the past decade or so, but it was clearly evident Sunday. The Rams haven't yet reached the level of a playoff team, as evidenced by their 5-7 record, but they've at least made enough progress to be able to handily defeat a team they should. You couldn't say the same for other Rams teams of recent vintage.

Stock watch: Up -- WR Stedman Bailey: After Kenny Britt's big day against the Denver Broncos two weeks ago, the Chargers made a concerted effort to take him out of the game plan last week, and Bailey made them pay. The same thing happened this week, and Bailey again stepped up with a big performance. He had five catches for 100 yards, a new career high, and would have had more, but the Rams didn't try to pile on in the second half. He even chipped in a tackle on special teams. Expected to be a legitimate top-two receiving threat entering the season, Bailey is starting to make good on that promise.

Hill bounces back: Shaun Hill's disappointing finish in San Diego last week left him answering questions all week about how he would bounce back. As it turned out, the 13-year veteran appeared entirely unfazed. In the first half alone, Hill was 13-of-22 for 183 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a rating of 116.3 as the Rams scored touchdowns on their first five possessions. Oakland's record is clearly awful, but the Raiders' defense entered the game 17th in the league in yards allowed per game.

Long returns: Defensive end Chris Long returned from the injured reserve list after the Rams activated him Saturday, and he played for the first time since the season opener against Minnesota. Long played quite a bit and delivered his first sack of the season in the third quarter and recovered a fumble in the fourth after a Robert Quinn sack.

Game ball: RB Tre Mason -- There were many choices here in such a blowout, but none offered the combination of immediate production with immense potential for the future of Mason. Mason flashed his speed on an 89-yard touchdown run that was the second-longest in franchise history and shiftiness on his 35-yard catch-and-run for the team's first touchdown. He finished with 164 total yards on 17 touches with three scores for the best performance of his young career.

What's next: The Rams head back out on the road for some Robert Griffin III-related fun as they take on the Washington Redskins. Safe to assume the big 2012 trade the teams made will be discussed at length as the Rams again seek consecutive wins for the first time this season.