Rams pull even in San Fran.
By Greg Beacham
Associated Press
Sunday, Oct. 03 2004

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- There was nothing wrong with the St. Louis Rams' offense
that a trip to San Francisco couldn't fix.

Marc Bulger passed for 186 yards, Marshall Faulk rushed for 121 more and St.
Louis sent the woeful ***** to their first 0-4 start in 25 years with a 24-14
victory on Sunday night.

Isaac Bruce had seven catches for 100 yards as the Rams (2-2) got their
ninth victory in 11 games against their longtime rivals. This one was out of
reach early: St. Louis built a 24-0 halftime lead, and the sellout crowd booed
San Francisco off the field while heading for the exits.

Shaun McDonald caught a touchdown pass and Joey Goodspeed and Steven Jackson
had 2-yard scoring runs for the Rams, who met little resistance while scoring
on all four of their first-half drives.

The Rams rushed for just 108 yards in their previous two games, both losses
to teams that missed last season's playoffs. Coach Mike Martz was criticized
for failing to maintain a balance in his pass-heavy schemes.

But during four sophisticated drives consuming more than 20 minutes, Martz
called 19 running plays and 18 passes in the first half. Running the ball was
easy and fun for Faulk, who had his fifth 100-yard rushing game against the
***** -- but so was passing, catching, blocking and tackling.

Tim Rattay, who missed the *****' previous two games with a separated
shoulder, was 31-of-47 for 299 yards and two touchdowns, while tight end Eric
Johnson had career highs of 10 catches for 113 yards.

But despite three lengthy fourth-quarter drives, the ***** are winless after
four games for the first time since 1979, the year Bill Walsh took over the
franchise and led its transformation into a five-time Super Bowl champion.

Last week, the ***** were shut out for the first time since 1977 in a 34-0
loss to Seattle. After three more scoreless quarters against the Rams, they
avoided another goose egg on Curtis Conway's 9-yard TD catch with 13:33 to play.

Rattay, who passed for 134 yards in the fourth period, added an 18-yard TD
pass to rookie Rashaun Woods with 16 seconds left.

The ***** were an NFL-worst minus-7 in turnover differential entering the
game, and they quickly padded their lead with a fumble and an interception in
the first 16 minutes.

After St. Louis went 80 yards on its opening drive, Rattay lost the ball on
a hit by Tommy Polley late in the first quarter. Leonard Little recovered at
the San Francisco 11, setting up McDonald's short TD catch.

Jerametrius Butler picked off Rattay's pass down the sideline on the Niners'
next possession, and St. Louis drove 79 yards for a field goal. The Rams then
made a 91-yard drive, capped by Jackson's TD run with 29 seconds left in the
half.

The boos began in the first quarter, reaching a crescendo when Rattay's
final first-half pass sailed 5 yards out of bounds. Meanwhile, Bulger was
15-of-18 for 166 yards in the first half.

San Francisco lost cornerback Mike Rumph to a broken right arm in the second
quarter.