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Passing game is slow to get started
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
SAN DIEGO — Sunday's game at Qualcomm Stadium reached the midway point with the Rams' passing game stuck in neutral.
"We didn't do too much in the first half," quarterback Marc Bulger conceded.
Bulger threw just 11 times in the first 30 minutes, connecting on six for a meager 67 yards. None of those completions landed in the hands of veteran wide receiver Isaac Bruce.
"It's just happens that way sometimes," Bruce said.
The second half provided a stark contrast: Bulger hit on 21 of 29 tosses for 260 yards and fourth-quarter touchdowns of 7 yards to Shaun McDonald and 6 yards to Kevin Curtis.
Bulger wound up with 327 passing yards, and for the sixth time in seven games he didn't throw an interception. Bulger boosted his passer rating from 72.9 at the half to 109.1 at the finish, the fifth game in a row he has topped the 100 mark.
"We do a good job of making adjustments," Bulger said. "We've gone quarters or halves when we can't do anything, and then we can explode. Just a little too late" Sunday, as the Chargers cruised to a 38-24 victory.
Bruce broke up his first-half shutout in a big way, piling up 105 yards on five catches in the second half. A 44-yard grab in the third quarter pushed him into the No. 10 spot for career receiving yards (12,771).
Earlier this season, he moved into the top 10 for receptions (845).
Bruce, a 13-year veteran, wasn't particularly struck with his personal achievement. "It's cool," he said. "But it was going to happen sooner or later, so no big deal."
Fellow wideout Kevin Curtis was impressed, though. "The way Ike plays year in and year out ... he's something else," Curtis said. "It's no surprise that he keeps surpassing these milestones."
Curtis turned in his most productive game of the season, with seven catches for 79 yards. He, too, would've topped the 100-yard mark had he been able to hang on for a diving grab on a bomb down the left sideline early in the fourth period.
"I had the ball, took a couple of steps, and as I came down, I kind of landed on my arm and it popped out," Curtis said. The Rams challenged, but the incomplete call stood.
McDonald registered his first touchdown of the season, and Bulger said he was pleased to get the No. 3 and No. 4 wide receivers more involved in the attack.
"It'll be nice if we can get those guys going again and take some pressure off" Bruce and Torry Holt, he said. Holt caught five passes for 48 yards.