"Note: if you add an "L" flag to the mix; meaning "Last Rule", e.g. [R=302,NC,L]; Apache will stop processing rules for this request at that point, which may or may not be what you want. Either way, it's useful to know."
I already made it the last rule - it is last in the rewite rules list. I am hoping I have fixed the reason why my Joomla is causing the bot to find/create these URLs so it will activate only as a last resort.
I'll let the 302 run for a while first until I'm sure all is well (by checking WMT).