By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Wednesday, Oct. 13 2004

When Rams quarterback Marc Bulger hooked up with wide receiver Shaun McDonald
for a 52-yard touchdown Sunday, he not only defeated Seattle in overtime, he
propelled himself to the top of the NFL passing charts.

Bulger has thrown for 1,426 yards, 51 more than Houston's David Carr.
Minnesota's Daunte Culpepper is third with 1,341 yards, but he almost surely
would be at the top of the list if the Vikings had played five games, like the
Rams and Texas, instead of four.

With an average of 285.2 yards a game, Bulger is on pace to finish the regular
season with 4,563. That would top his career high of 3,845, established last
year, and would rank as the second-highest single-season total in franchise
history. Kurt Warner holds that record, with 4,830 in 2001.

Bulger also tops the league in completions (120) and attempts (181), and his
66.3 percent completion rate is surpassed only by Culpepper (72.7 percent) and
Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb (68.1).

Largely because of his seven touchdowns-to-five interceptions ratio, Bulger
ranks just 12th with a 91.5 passer rating. He tossed three interceptions vs.
the Seahawks before engineering the Rams' late comeback - 17 points in the last
5 1/2 minutes - and 33-27 OT win.

"He does have ice in his veins, I swear. I've never seen him get unnerved in
any situation," coach Mike Martz said. "He's got a short memory about that
stuff. He's excited about what he can do and the potential of what we can do in
the passing game."

Guard Scott Tercero said Bulger never flinched, even with the Rams trailing
27-10 and the Qwest Field crowd howling. "He's the leader of this team, and he
led us to victory," Tercero said. "As an offense, we weren't performing very
well. (But in) that fourth quarter, we played to our potential. It was a great
victory, an amazing victory."

Bruce is No. 2

Despite opening the season with four 100-yard-plus games, wide receiver Isaac
Bruce relinquished his NFL lead in receiving yardage by collecting "only" 78
Sunday, on a team-high six catches.

Bruce has 526 yards on 38 receptions, both No. 2 on the league charts. Green
Bay wideout Javon Walker is first in yardage (535), and San Francisco tight end
Eric Johnson is No. 1 in catches (41).

Rams wide receiver Torry Holt, the NFL leader in both categories last season,
is 10th in yardage (363) and eighth in catches (30).

Ready and stable

After much tweaking during training camp and the first couple weeks of the
season, the Rams finally appear to have stabilized their roster. They haven't
made any personnel moves since Sept. 21, when free agent safety Kwamie Lassiter
was added to the active roster and tight end Stephen Trejo was released.

Having a set roster is "very important," Martz said. "When you have to bring
somebody in because you're short somewhere ... that's why we were in such a
flurry the first few weeks. That's why we signed all these offensive linemen
and secondary players and linebackers. We were trying to get to the point where
if we get an injury, we can fill in and continue to move on.

"When the season started, we weren't quite there. The quality of what we have
now is good enough to where we're not going to panic. If our luck continues
with the injuries, we shouldn't have to make any moves."

Injury update

The Rams' already-thin defensive line probably will be thinner Monday night
against Tampa Bay. Defensive captain Tyoka Jackson, a valuable swing player at
the end and tackle positions, is listed as doubtful for the Buccaneers - his
former team - with a pulled hamstring.

Jackson suffered the injury chasing Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on a
pass rush with 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the opening quarter of Sunday's game.

Without Jackson, the Rams would have only three defensive line backups
available for the Bucs: ends Anthony Hargrove and Erik Flowers, and tackle
Brian Howard. Jackson, who has seven tackles, three quarterback hurries and one
pass breakup this season, hasn't missed a game since the 1999 season.

Other additions to the injury report include linebacker Trev Faulk (hamstring),
quarterback Marc Bulger (shoulder), fullback Joey Goodspeed (heel), cornerback
DeJuan Groce (shoulder) and safety Aeneas Williams (neck).

Faulk, who previously missed the Atlanta and New Orleans games with a hamstring
injury, is listed as questionable. The other players all are listed as
probable, meaning they're expected to play Monday. Bulger, for example, came
out of the Seahawks game with some soreness in his throwing shoulder but is
expected to be fine.