ST. LOUIS — Isaiah Pead is working hard to make a strong second impression.
In his first professional game, the St. Louis rookie running back committed a costly fumble as the Rams lost to Indianapolis 38-3 on Sunday. The 5-foot-10, 197-pounder spent the last few days going extra hard in practice hoping to make amends for his miscue.
“I realize that I’ve got room to improve, lots of room,” Pead said. “That’s what I’m working hard to do. Get more confident and show some kind of improvement every day, whether it’s a little improvement or a lot.”
Pead, a second-round draft choice out of the University of Cincinnati, is competing to be a backup to three-time Pro Bowl selection Steven Jackson. Jackson is 29 and the Rams are looking to Pead as a possible feature back down the road.
“No pressure, I’ve just got to play the way I know I’m capable of playing,” Pead said.
St. Louis will host cross-state rival Kansas City on Saturday.
Pead’s initial performance was disappointing. He rushed for 33 yards on 10 carries, but managed just 13 yards on his first six attempts. He caught three passes for nine yards. Pead also returned a kickoff 30 yards but stepped out of the back of the end zone on a deep kick in his other return chance.
St. Louis first-year coach Jeff Fisher said after the game that Pead spent too much time running, “East and West instead of North and South.”
Pead’s biggest mistake came on the first play of the second quarter. He caught a short pass from backup quarterback Kellen Clemens but fumbled the ball as he fell untouched to the ground. Indianapolis’ Brandon McKinney recovered it and the Colts marched 53 yards in seven plays to take a 14-0 lead.
“I got a little too excited,” Pead said. “I tried to get upfield, lost my footing, and I let the ball kind of slip out. It’s a bad situation and I can’t let that happen again.”
Pead also managed a couple of solid runs, including an 11-yard burst for a first down later in the opening half.
Fisher is willing to forgive Pead, who rushed for 3,288 yards at Cincinnati, third all-time in school history The veteran coach was particularly impressed with Pead’s bounce-back effort in practice on Wednesday. Pead made three nice catches during a 7-on-7 drill.
“He’s moving forward, he’s progressing,” Fisher said. “He’s catching on.”
Pead is now looking forward to a break-out effort against the Chiefs.
“I think I’ve settled down,” he added.