First-string offense still has not found its way into end zone
News-Democrat
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The dress rehearsal was a glitch-filled disaster for the St. Louis Rams.

Lawrence Tynes kicked three field goals in the second quarter as the Chiefs beat the Rams 16-12 Saturday in an NFL preseason game.

The game was supposed to be the Rams' tune-up for their regular-season opener Sept. 10 against the Denver Broncos at the Edward Jones Dome.

However, the Rams (1-2) showed that they still have a lot of things to iron out heading into their final preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Dolphins Stadium.

The Rams' first-string offense has yet to produce a touchdown in the preseason. The offensive starters saw their most extensive playing time of the preseason against the Chiefs (1-2), logging six possessions that resulted in a field goal, three punts and two turnovers.

"The negative plays tonight were our nemesis," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "We had a couple of penalties that pushed us out of scoring drives, and then we gave the ball away.

"I was happy with what our ones were doing in the preseason regardless.... We were doing a pretty good job of taking care of (the ball), and tonight we had a couple of turnovers. When you do that, you're not going to win."

The Rams appeared to score a touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Bulger to Kevin Curtis early in the third quarter, but the play was wiped out by a 15-yard penalty on left guard Richie Incogntio for chop blocking.

"I think we could have used those seven points coming out of the gate in the second half," Linehan said. "That's a lesson to be learned. I'm glad it's a preseason game."

The Rams were playing without wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. Holt was unable to practice all week because of a bruised sternum, while Bruce is being rested for what Linehan called "camp legs."

The Rams, wearing their white jerseys with their white pants for the first time since the preseason in 2001, moved the ball into Kansas City territory on their first possession.

Linehan gambled on fourth-and-one at midfield, and it worked as Bulger completed a 28-yard pass to tight end Aaron Walker.

However, the drive stalled after an unnecessary roughness penalty on Incognito.

Kicker Jeff Wilkins, making his first appearance of the preseason, booted a 48-yard field goal.

That was the lone highlight of the first half for the Rams, who had only 22 rushing yards and committed two turnovers in falling behind 16-3.

The Chiefs, who have featured the No. 1 offense in the NFL the last two years, put together long scoring drives on their first two possessions.

Running back Larry Johnson had nine carries for 37 yards on the opening drive of the game as the Chiefs marched 77 yards on 15 plays for a touchdown.

Johnson capped the drive, which ate the first 7 minutes, 14 seconds off the clock, with a 2-yard scoring run.

Johnson, who rushed for a team-record 1,750 yards last season, retired to the bench after the opening possession.

Chiefs quarterback Trent Green played only two offensive series before exiting.

Green engineered a 15-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard field goal by Tynes on his team's second possession.

Green managed to elude blitzing cornerback Travis Fisher to complete a 22-yard pass to Sammy Parker, who was slammed to the turf at the Kansas City 2 by Rams free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe.

The Chiefs were forced to settle for the field goal after Rams middle linebacker Will Witherspoon tackled Dee Brown for a loss on back-to-back running plays.

The Rams committed two turnovers late in the second quarter.

Bulger was intercepted for the first time in the preseason when he had a pass tipped by intended receiver Kevin Curtis and then picked off by Chiefs rookie safety Bernard Pollard.

Later, Bulger had the ball knocked out of his hand from behind by rookie defensive end Tamba Hall, the Chiefs' first-round draft choice out of Penn State. Kansas City's Will Svitek recovered the fumble at the St. Louis 26.

The turnover led to Tynes kicking a 50-yard field goal with one second left in the first half.

The Rams forced a turnover when Atogwe stripped the ball from Chiefs punter returner Nate Curry, and then fell on the loose ball at the Kansas City 22.

St. Louis failed to capitalize on the turnover, as Incognito was flagged for the second time and then Bulger was sacked by Jimmy Wilkerson.

The Rams' lone touchdown came on a 54-yard pass from backup quarterback Gus Frerotte to tight end Jerome Collins with 43 seconds left in the third quarter