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AP Game Story: Rams hold off Big Red

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  • AP Game Story: Rams hold off Big Red

    AP Game Story: Rams hold off Big Red
    By R.B. Fallstrom
    Associated Press
    09/12/2004

    Competition for his job is bringing out the best in Marshall Faulk.

    The St. Louis Rams' running back shared time with first-round pick Steven Jackson in Sunday's 17-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. But Faulk, who has missed 11 games due to injuries the last two seasons, carried the load with 128 yards on 22 carries. His steady play helped the Rams overcome three costly turnovers that kept the margin from being very comfortable.

    Jackson also played well in his debut, shaking off a lost fumble on his first career carry after a 14-yard gain. Jackson, the first running back taken in the draft, finished with 50 yards on seven carries.

    The Rams beat the Cardinals for the fifth straight time and sent Arizona to its 14th straight road loss, but did it the hard way. Each of the turnovers came deep in Arizona territory, and they also ran out of gas at the Arizona 10 and 4, settling for field goals by Jeff Wilkins.

    Emmitt Smith, the NFL's career leading rusher, had a resurgent game with 87 yards on 16 carries, including an 11-yard touchdown run that put the Cardinals ahead 10-9 in the final minute of the third quarter. Smith was limited to only 256 yards last year due to injuries.

    Cardinals first-round pick Larry Fitzgerald also had a nice beginning with four catches for 70 yards, including a 37-yard catch on a flea-flicker from Josh McCown on the first play from scrimmage.

    Both were overshadowed by Faulk's 39th career 100-yard game, which featured four gains of 10 or more yards. After only 14 preseason carries for 38 yards to prepare for his 11th season, Faulk signaled he was ready when he jitterbugged for a 15-yard gain on his first carry. He has 11,341 yards rushing and passed O.J. Simpson for 13th place.

    Faulk also scored on a 2-point conversion run to give the Rams a seven-point cushion after Marc Bulger hit Isaac Bruce for an 8-yard touchdown for the winning score with 14:27 to go. Bruce rolled the last few yards into the end zone.

    The Rams outgained the Cardinals 229-134 in total offense in the first half, but had only a pair of field goals to show for it. In addition to Jackson's fumble, wide receiver Dane Looker fumbled after a catch and Bulger was intercepted by Quentin Harris at the Arizona 2.

    Arizona's only other big play of the half was a 71-yard kickoff return by Josh Scobey that set up a 22-yard field goal by Neil Rackers.

    Bulger, 19-4 as the Rams' starting quarterback, was 23-for-34 for 272 yards. His main target was Isaac Bruce, who caught nine catches for 112 yards and the clinching touchdown.

    The Cardinals had no sacks against a rebuilt line led by tackle Orlando Pace, who had only four practices to prepare for the opener after agreeing to a one-year contract last Sunday.

    McCown, beginning his first year as the Cardinals' starting quarterback, was 18-for-29 for 181 yards.


    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamWraith
    Inside slant
    by RamWraith
    CBSsportsline

    Although the Rams escaped with a 17-10 victory over Arizona in their season opener and rushed for 176 yards on 30 attempts, some of the team's previous problems remain.

    The Rams had turnovers on their first three possessions, and also failed to score touchdowns on their first two trips to the red zone. But there is no arguing with what they were able to accomplish offensively, thanks to rejuvenated running back Marshall Faulk and an offensive line that protected quarterback Marc Bulger to the tune of no sacks.

    There have been those that questioned how much Faulk and wide receiver Isaac Bruce have left, but Faulk was like a spry colt, galloping for 128 yards on 22 carries while Bruce had nine receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown, which was the one that won the game.

    Asked about Faulk and Bruce, coach Mike Martz said, "Every week and every year it's the same thing, people want to know if Isaac or Marshall have diminished. Maybe I'm too close to them, but I don't see it, maybe you guys do. They always rise to the occasion, and they're just incredible competitors. It's just a blessing to have them."

    Asked about offseason questions regarding his future, Faulk said, "Questions. That's all it is -- questions. I've got a whole season to go for this knee and this body to hold up, and hopefully for many more seasons."

    Faulk hailed the team's offensive line, which just got left tackle Orlando Pace back from a summer-long absence the Monday before the opener.

    "They didn't just hold there own, they were outstanding out there," Faulk said. "They've been criticized throughout camp, but they did well. If someone is grading that unit, they should make up a new grade for them."

    Asked about a grade, Pace said, "I would have to give us an A-plus because we rushed the ball pretty good, and I don't know if there were any sacks registered today. If you can do that you will have success and you will win the ball game."

    Pace had just four practices prior to the game after signing his one-year tender Sept. 6. But he reported in excellent shape and said he never felt winded during the game. As for the boos from fans when he was introduced with the starting offense before the game, Pace said, "They feel the way they want to feel. It's a free country. All I can do is go out and play my style of football and help my team win."

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    REPORT CARD VS. CARDINALS

    PASSING OFFENSE
    B - QB Marc Bulger threw one bad interception, but still completed 67.6 percent of his passes, and led the Rams on an 80-yard drive for the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter after the Cardinals had gone ahead, 10-9. He needs to find Marshall Faulk more on checkdowns, but the passing game was good enough for Isaac Bruce and...
    -09-14-2004, 08:16 AM
  • RamWraith
    Shipp's 3 TDs sink Rams against Arizona
    by RamWraith
    By R.B. Fallstrom
    AP SPORTS WRITER
    12/03/2006


    Matt Leinart knew what to do with all those St. Louis Rams mistakes.

    Marcel Shipp scored three touchdowns, Edgerrin James had 115 yards rushing, and Leinart won for the second time in seven pro starts, capitalizing on the Rams' season-high 126 yards in penalties in the Arizona Cardinals' 34-20 victory on Sunday.

    Marc Bulger threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns, but also had three interceptions to add to woes that contributed to a sixth loss in seven games for the Rams (5-7). Bulger has three touchdown passes and six interceptions the last four games.

    St. Louis ended a five-game losing streak last week over the ***** with offensive coordinator Greg Olson replacing head coach Scott Linehan as play-caller, but couldn't conjure any more scoring from the new arrangement after falling behind early.


    Two of the 10 calls against the Rams led to scores by Arizona (3-9) on the next play. Larry Fitzgerald caught an 11-yard touchdown pass one play after a 34-yard pass interference on Fakhir Brown in the second quarter, and Shipp scored on a 6-yard run one play after Corey Chavous' interference penalty meant a 27-yard gain for the Cardinals.

    A third crucial penalty, a defensive holding call on Leonard Little, wiped out Ron Bartell's interception in the end zone early in the fourth quarter to help the Cardinals put the game away. Shipp, who entered the game with only 6 yards on three carries, scored his third touchdown on a 9-yard run four plays later for a 31-13 lead.

    The Cardinals nearly matched the Rams in penalties, getting whistled 11 times for 107 yards. None of them came at a significant cost.

    The touchdowns were Shipp's first since 2002, when he was Arizona's feature back. James, limited to only four carries for 15 yards last week when the Cardinals abandoned the run, had 26 carries for his first 100-yard game of the season against the NFL's worst run defense.

    Leinart's numbers, 15-for-24 for 186 yards and one touchdown, were not nearly as impressive as his 405-yard passing effort last week -- the most yards by a rookie in NFL history. But that came in a 31-26 loss to the Vikings.

    Another big play, Adrian Wilson's interception and 35-yard return when the Rams were rushing to squeeze in another play before the two-minute warning, helped Arizona build a 17-3 halftime lead.

    The Rams' Torry Holt had seven catches for 115 yards and a 15-yard touchdown pass, his first score in six games since a three-TD, 154-yard effort against the Seahawks on Oct. 15. But he dropped a certain 83-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter after splitting two defenders.

    The margin could have been larger except two Arizona drives stalled at the 1 and 5, forcing Neil Rackers' chip-shot field goals.

    The Cardinals,...
    -12-03-2006, 02:39 PM
  • RamDez
    Rams Recap: Not pretty, but it's a win
    by RamDez
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    09/12/2004

    No, it wasn't pretty. Yes, it still counted as one full victory.

    The Rams managed to beat the lowly Arizona Cardinals 17-10 at The Ed, but they should have demolished them.

    "We just couldn't put them away when we had the opportunity," coach Mike Martz said.

    Tackle Orlando Pace and the rest of the jerry-rigged offensive line dominated the Gridbirds. Veteran Marshall Faulk ran like a kid again -- adding another 100-yard game to his list -- and young Steven Jackson ran like a vet.

    The defensive unit played solidly across the board, holding the injury-riddled Gridbirds to one touchdown drive. The Rams owned the line of scrimmage all afternoon.

    So why did it take them almost three hours to gain control of this game? First-half fumbles by Jackson and Dane Looker -- combined with quarterback Marc Bulger's first-quarter interception -- kept the Rams from building a big lead early.

    Also, the red zone inefficiency from last season seemed to carry over to this opener.

    "That's more play selection than anything else," Martz said. "I'm to blame for that."

    In the first half, they outgained the Cards 229-134. But those turnovers limited them to a 6-3 halftime lead.

    The Rams controlled the second half as well, save for one Cardinals drive, and finally put their season opener in the bank.


    THE GOOD

    * Martz established his ground game right away, giving Faulk four consecutive carries to gain two first downs. The highlight was a 15-yard burst that very nearly went for many more yards.

    Faulk and Jackson combined for 99 yards rushing in the first half.


    * Defensive end Bryce Fisher essentially killed the second Cardinals possession with a 16-yard sack of quarterback Josh McCown.


    * Mixing it up, Martz opened his second possession with a four-receiver set and got Bulger into a nice passing rhythm. Aside from a mishap here or there, he stayed in sync with his receivers all game.


    * Faulk turned back the clock on the third possession, busting a 16-yard gain on a turn-on-a-dime cutback. Did he look this good at any time last season?


    * Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa crushed Bryant Johnson to break up a third-down slant pass early in the second quarter.


    * Jeff Wilkins finally put the Rams on the board, muscling up with a 50-yard field goal with 11 minutes 21 seconds left in the first half. Points at last!


    * Bulger marched the Rams 83 yards on a 14-play, 9:10 drive to start the second half. He spread the ball around, hitting passes to Torry Holt, Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Shaun McDonald.


    * Jackson proved his red zone value in that sequence, muscling for a first down on
    ...
    -09-12-2004, 02:04 PM
  • DJRamFan
    LeFors' three TD passes pace Louisville past TCU
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 10, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville needed less than seven minutes to shake off nemesis TCU and roll to another big victory.

    Stefan LeFors threw three touchdown passes and the 12th-ranked Cardinals scored on their first three possessions in a 55-28 rout of the Horned Frogs on Wednesday night.

    LeFors, completing 75 percent of his passes coming into the game, went 13-for-21 for 275 yards as the Cardinals beat TCU for the first time in four meetings since 2001.

    "It was a great start and we finished it off," said LeFors, who became the sixth Louisville quarterback to top 5,000 passing yards.

    J.R. Russell and Broderick Clark had two touchdown catches for the Cardinals (7-1, 5-0 Conference USA), who totaled 587 yards.

    "If we come out and do what we do, we can't be stopped," said Russell. "We came out and took it to them."

    The Cardinals, leading the nation with 542 yards per game, raced to a 17-0 lead in the opening 6:53 -- before the Horned Frogs tallied a first down.

    Advertisement



    Louisville took the opening kickoff and marched down the field in six plays, averaging 11 yards per snap. Michael Bush finished the drive with a 12-yard scoring run.

    After a TCU punt, LeFors scrambled twice to get the Cardinals across midfield again. He found Russell for a 32-yard touchdown pass with 10:06 left in the first quarter.

    On the ensuing kickoff, Louisville's J.T. Haskins stripped the ball from Cory Rodgers and Louisville's Harry Douglas recovered at the TCU 38.

    Art Carmody finished the Cardinals' scoring blitz with a 31-yard field goal. At that point, the Horned Frogs had gained only seven yards on three plays and fumbled twice.

    "We were able to get on them early and gain some momentum," said Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. "Once we got control and got in front of them, they didn't really feel like they could catch us."

    LeFors started 4-for-4, then misfired on five passes in a row before consecutive completions to Tinch and Russell. Clark caught LeFors' next pass and outran a defender for a 42-yard touchdown, Louisville's longest scoring reception of the season.

    "We understood what they were going to do," said TCU coach Gary Patterson. "We just didn't make plays. At some point, you've just got to do your job."

    The Cardinals' only early miscue came late in the first quarter, when Rodgers sneaked behind Louisville's Kerry Rhodes and caught a 72-yard touchdown pass from TCU quarterback Tye Gunn.

    Petrino replaced LeFors with freshman Brian Brohm late in the first quarter, the sixth time in eight games Petrino has made the first-half switch. Despite starting 1-for-6, Brohm drove...
    -11-11-2004, 10:07 AM
  • RamWraith
    Backups lead Rams over SF
    by RamWraith
    By R.B. Fallstrom
    Associated Press
    12/05/2004
    Marshall Faulk's understudy looks like he's ready now.

    Steven Jackson ran for 119 yards on 26 carries, his first career 100-yard game, to help the St. Louis Rams compensate for Marc Bulger's shoulder injury in a 16-6 victory over the San Francisco ***** on Sunday. Jackson was the first running back taken in this year's draft and he took advantage of Faulk's bruised left knee to get his first full game.

    Bulger had taken every snap this season before leaving with a sprained right shoulder after a sack by Bryant Young late in the first quarter. His replacement, 38-year-old Chris Chandler, threw his first touchdown pass in more than a year, but also threw an interception into double coverage and lost a fumble.

    Chandler, the first quarterback other than Bulger to direct a St. Louis victory since the end of the 2001 season, was 18-for-27 for 216 yards and hit Torry Holt for a 22-yard score in the second quarter for the Rams' lone touchdown. He last threw a touchdown pass on Nov. 16, 2003 for the Bears -- against St. Louis.

    The Rams (6-6) added three field goals from Jeff Wilkins, two from 52 yards. The St. Louis defense sealed it against one of the worst teams in the NFL by holding the ***** (1-11) to 63 yards rushing on 27 carries.

    St. Louis had lost four of five and defense had been the main culprit, allowing 703 yards rushing to the last four opponents.

    Jerametrius Butler's interception at the 7 with 12:35 left and the Rams leading by a touchdown was St. Louis' biggest play, though. Butler stepped in front of Brandon Lloyd on a slant pattern for his fourth interception, and only the Rams' 11th takeaway of the season.

    Last year, St. Louis had 46 takeaways.

    Bulger entered the game with an NFL-leading 3,267 yards passing, 71 more than Peyton Manning. He was 3-for-4 for 22 yards before leaving with 1:40 left in the first quarter.

    Making matters worse, the player that Young beat, offensive tackle Grant Williams, also fell on top of Bulger. Williams, who has struggled for several weeks, was benched in the third quarter.

    Faulk had 123 yards rushing in the Rams' 24-14 victory at San Francisco on Oct. 10 and was active for the rematch, but he wasn't needed. The 231-pound Jackson carried eight times for 37 yards on St. Louis' opening drive that set up a 29-yard field goal by Wilkins.

    Jackson has started two other games in two-back sets, but Faulk had gotten the vast majority of the playing time. Jackson's previous bests were 64 yards rushing at Seattle on Oct. 10 and 13 carries against the Bucs on Oct. 18.

    Torry Holt had 10 catches for 160 yards to help the Rams go to 5-0 against the weak NFC West. The Rams are the fifth NFL franchise to win 500 games.

    Tim Rattay was 10-for-21 for 121 yards for the *****,...
    -12-05-2004, 02:22 PM
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