Offense sputters again as Rams lose Governor's Cup
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Saturday, Aug. 26 2006

KANSAS CITY With just Miami left to go Thursday before the "real" games start, the Rams' No. 1 offense remains 0 for the preseason. As as hard as it seems to believe, the Rams have had 11 series with Marc Bulger at quarterback, including six Saturday night in Kansas City. . . .

And still no touchdowns.

The Rams managed only a field goal with the first unit on the field in the almost annual Governor's Cup game against the Chiefs. Granted, the Rams played Saturday minus Pro Bowl wide receivers Torry Holt (bruised sternum) and Isaac Bruce (tight hamstring). But they won two games last season without Bruce and Holt, and with Jamie Martin at quarterback.

And they couldn't get their running game going again, with Steven Jackson managing just 22 yards on 10 carries against the usually pliant Kansas City defense.

The best drive for Bulger and the starters Saturday at Arrowhead was the first. St. Louis moved 40 yards in 11 plays, including a gutsy call by coach Scott Linehan on fourth and 1 at the 50. Bulger fooled the Chiefs with a play fake and threw 28 yards to tight end Aaron Walker over the middle.

But the drive stalled in large part to a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness against guard Richie Incognito. St. Louis had to settle for a 48-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins, who was making his preseason debut.

It was not the last time Incognito's name would be called Saturday, and usually when an offensive lineman's name is called, it's not a good thing.

Bulger threw his first interception of the preseason, on an overthrown ball that bounced off the outstretched hand of Kevin Curtis and was intercepted by Kansas City safety Bernard Pollard late in the second quarter.

Still later in the quarter, Bulger lost a fumble on a sack by defensive end Tamba Hali, who got around left tackle Todd Steussie on the play. Although Orlando Pace started after sitting out the Houston game last week with a sore hip, knee, and ankle, Steussie replaced him before the half was out Saturday.

The Chiefs recovered the fumble on the St. Louis 37 and added a 50-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes -- his third successful field goal of the half -- for a 16-3 halftime lead.

Bulger and the starters returned for the start of the third quarter, but promptly went 3-and-out. But on the ensuing punt, Oshiomogho Atogwe stripped the ball from Chiefs return man Nate Curry. The Rams recovered on the Chiefs' 22, and Linehan sent Bulger and the starters out one more time.

After two carries by Tony Fisher netted seven yards, it looked as if the Rams had finally struck paydirt. On third and 3 from the KC 15, Bulger found a wide-open Curtis in the end zone for a touchdown.

But hold that celebration. Incognito was called for an illegal chop block, backing up the Rams 15 yards. And when defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson got around running back Moe Williams to sack Bulger, the Rams were out of field goal range. Bulger and the starters called it a night, completing 7 of 11 passes for 78 yards.

Meanwhile, Kansas City had little trouble weaving its way downfield with Trent Green at quarterback and Larry Johnson at running back. The Chiefs got a touchdown on the first drive and a field goal on the second, and that was it for the evening for Green and Johnson.