Fitzpatrick leads Rams over Chiefs
By Jim Salter
Associated Press

Two quarterbacks battling for roster spots, including Ryan Fitzpatrick, a rookie from Harvard, appeared to help their causes Friday night in the St. Louis Rams' 27-23 preseason win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Skill position starters played briefly or not at all.

The Rams (3-1) played on three days rest after beating Detroit 37-13 Monday night. Backup quarterback Jamie Martin was 5-for-9 for 71 yards and an interception in a little less than two quarters before giving way to Fitzpatrick. The rookie may have solidified his bid to become the third-string quarterback.

Fitzpatrick was 12-for-22 for 195 yards, one interception and two touchdowns, including the 20-yard winner to Dane Looker with 3:42 left in the fourth quarter. His quarterback rating was 95.8.

Jonathan Quinn, signed just 10 days earlier, played all but the last series for Kansas City as Trent Green, Todd Collins and Damon Huard all nursed injuries. Quinn was 13-for-20 for 197 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. His quarterback rating was 74.4.

Kansas City (0-4) has lost six straight preseason games since beating the Rams 24-7 on Aug. 23, 2004.

Quinn threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jeris McIntyre late in the second quarter. Third-string running back Dee Brown scored on a 4-yard run, and Lawrence Tynes kicked field goals of 37, 26 and 21 yards.

Fitzpatrick threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Shaun McDonald in the third quarter. Aveion Cason scored on a 1-yard run, and Jeff Wilkins kicked field goals of 32 and 47 yards.

The game featured mostly bottom-of-the-roster players and vanilla schemes. KC's Priest Holmes played less than a quarter, carrying six times for 13 yards. Tony Gonzalez caught one pass for 4 yards in a little over a quarter.

The Rams didn't play quarterback Marc Bulger or running back Marshall Faulk, while Steven Jackson (four carries for 9 yards) and receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce played only the first series.

Two St. Louis starters left with what appeared to be minor injuries. Star offensive tackle Orlando Pace sprained his left ankle late in the second quarter. An X-ray was negative. Cornerback Travis Fisher sprained a knee. Their availability for the Sept. 11 opener at San Francisco was unknown.

Fitzpatrick, a seventh-round draft pick, is trying to oust Jeff Smoker as the Rams' third-string quarterback. Smoker has thrown just four passes this preseason, completing two for 26 yards, and did not play against the Chiefs.

Quinn played in five games for the Chicago Bears last season. He was a backup for the Chiefs in 2002 and 2003 and has also played for Jacksonville.

Green has suffered from circulation problems in his lower left legs. Doctors this week placed a stent in an artery and put him on blood thinners. He is expected to play in the Sept. 11 opener against the New York Jets.

Collins has a hand injury and probably won't be ready by the opener. It wasn't clear when Huard will return from a head injury.

Before the game, the Chiefs released wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who signed in March after being released by Philadelphia. Mitchell did not play in any preseason games due to a knee injury.