Rapid Reaction: St. Louis Rams

LANDOVER, Md. -- A few thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 24-0 victory over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field:

What it means: For the second consecutive week, the Rams proved they are capable of dominating an opponent as they posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since they were the Cleveland Rams in 1945. During a nine-game stretch in which they faced nothing but winning teams, the Rams were able to pull off an upset here and there. Now that they are out of that string, they are proving that with a lighter slate, they'd be right in the mix for the playoffs. And for the first time this season, the Rams were able to win consecutive games as they improved to 6-7. It's hard not to imagine what this team could be doing if it had Sam Bradford at quarterback all season or if it played in a weaker division such as the NFC South. Such as it is, the Rams are not a team that playoff contenders Arizona and Seattle will be happy to see during the season's final three weeks.

Stock watch: Down -- kicker Greg Zuerlein. Zuerlein has had some shaky moments in 2014 after missing only two kicks all of last year, but never has he had a meltdown similar to what occurred in the first half against the Redskins. Zuerlein pushed an extra-point attempt wide right after the Rams' first touchdown and followed up by missing chip-shot field goal attempts from 28 and 38 yards. All of those misses went wide right. He did rebound to make a 34-yard field goal and an extra point, but even those kicks moved right off his foot. With only three games to play, it's hard to fathom the Rams will be looking for a kicker. With a short week coming up before Thursday's game against the Cardinals, it might be difficult to do that. But they should at least take a look to see what's out there.

Dominant defense: It would be hard to find a defense playing better than the Rams over the past seven or so weeks. After Sunday's shutout, they haven't been scored on since the fourth quarter of the loss to San Diego three weeks ago. Washington didn't run a single play inside the Rams' 20. Washington running back Alfred Morris finished with 6 yards on eight carries and the Rams pressured quarterback Colt McCoy into two interceptions while sacking him six times. They added a seventh when Robert Griffin III replaced McCoy late in the fourth quarter.

Game ball: WR/RB/PR Tavon Austin. Austin appears to finally be gaining some traction as the Rams continue to find ways to get him the ball in space. He finally broke through with a 78-yard punt return in the third quarter. He also had punt returns of 37 and 28 yards and finished with 46 yards on five carries and 14 yards on two catches. During the past few weeks, Austin has finally looked decisive and quick, and he's starting to pay dividends.

What's next: The Rams return home on a short week to host the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night with a chance to get their record to .500 for the first time since they were 1-1.