It was only eight plays and one tackle but they meant the world to Rams’ rookie Gerald Rivers.

“It was good to be out there; I was able to get a pressure on my first play’’ the 23-year-old defensive end said of his first NFL action in last week’s loss to the visiting San Francisco 49ers. “Once that first play was over the nervousness went away and being successful on that first play helped too. It’s nice to know that I can contribute so now it’s just a matter of being ready for whatever (defensive line coach Mike Waufle) needs me to do.’’

Rivers an undrafted free agent who was forced to sit out his senior season at the University of Mississippi after running into some academic problems following the death of his grandmother said that first play is still “a little bit of a blur.’’

“Came off a play-action and came around — I guess I didn’t expect to get by that quickly — I just needed to cut it off a little more to squeeze in on the tackle so maybe I could’ve got the sack but it was definitely fun’’ the 6-foot-5 258-pounder recalled. “And it was good too to get back to the sideline to get a little encouragement from the guys.’’

Rivers who showed some big-play ability in the preseason has said that he almost considers this a red-shirt year as he tries to soak up as much as he can from his teammates on the Rams’ deep and talented defensive line.

“There’s no place I’d rather be’’ he said. “I’m working with and learning from some of the best defensive linemen in the country trying to take a little bit from each guy.’’

MOVING FORWARD

Following a talk with head coach Jeff Fisher second-year running back Isaiah Pead said he wasn’t surprised to be inactive for the 49er game.

“I knew about it. We had a private conversation and there was an understanding’’ said Pead who had a team-high seven catches in the loss in Dallas the previous week. “In the game plan they wanted to use Tavon (Austin) a little more. Like I said it was a coach’s decision. It’s over and I’m attacking the week like I try to do every week.’’

When asked about the struggling running game Pead said: “It’s definitely frustrating but all we can do is keep playing football and trust in what we do day in and day out.’’