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Victory is beautiful to Bulger, even with flaws

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  • Victory is beautiful to Bulger, even with flaws

    Victory is beautiful to Bulger, even with flaws
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    09/12/2004

    Rams rookie running back Steven Jackson called Sunday's 17-10 victory over Arizona "an ugly win." Quarterback Marc Bulger was quick to correct the youngster.

    "No such thing," said Bulger, starting his fourth NFL season. "Having (the Cardinals) come in here and play that hard, it's nice to come out with a win."

    Perhaps Bulger was conjuring year-old memories, when the Rams and their No. 1 quarterback then, Kurt Warner, were pounded 23-13 in a season-opening loss at Giants Stadium.

    Bulger replaced Warner, his close friend, as the starter the next week and guided the Rams to 12 wins in the next 15 games. Although Bulger expressed hope that Warner would be back this season, Warner was released in June and signed by the Giants. So Bulger made his first regular-season start Sunday without the familiar No. 13 on the sideline at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "We've moved on," Bulger said. "We know Kurt's not going to be here. You have to play with what you have."

    Bulger put up respectable numbers, completing 23 of 34 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown. But his decision-making was questionable at times. He launched a badly misguided pass that was intercepted at the Arizona 2-yard line. Another unsightly interception was returned by Cardinals linebacker James Darling 95 yards to the end zone, but a defensive holding penalty nullified the play.

    Bulger was in anguish before he spied the yellow flag on the carpet.

    "I think there were probably three or four seconds when I thought ... you don't want to know what I was thinking," he said, laughing.

    The Rams scored two plays later on an 8-yard toss from Bulger to diving wide receiver Isaac Bruce, who rolled across the goal line. That made it 17-10 just 33 seconds into the fourth quarter.

    Bulger finished with a solid quarterback rating of 89.3, but he was disturbed that the Rams' first three drives ended with turnovers - two fumbles and an interception - and because the offense could muster only a single touchdown.

    "I think it'd be more frustrating, though, if we couldn't get outside of our 30-yard line or something and we're just not moving the ball," Bulger said. "We knew if we just kept going at it, the ball is going down the field and eventually we're going to get in the end zone and score some points."

    So, it might not have been a masterpiece, Bulger conceded, but it added up to a successful opening day.

    "I played good at times, bad at times. But winning is the only thing that matters," he said. "I'm not going to ever sit here and say I don't have room for improvement. As long as we win, that's all I care about."

    Hear that, rookie?

  • #2
    Re: Victory is beautiful to Bulger, even with flaws

    Rams rookie running back Steven Jackson called Sunday's 17-10 victory over Arizona "an ugly win." Quarterback Marc Bulger was quick to correct the youngster.
    Three turnovers and only one TD the whole afternoon. I'd say Jackson called it right.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Victory is beautiful to Bulger, even with flaws

      Originally posted by NickSeiler

      "I played good at times, bad at times. But winning is the only thing that matters," he said. "I'm not going to ever sit here and say I don't have room for improvement. As long as we win, that's all I care about."

      Hear that, rookie?
      He started showing improvement in this game when he checked down to Faulk in the fourth quarter after ignoring both Faulk and Goodspeed in the flat all game.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Victory is beautiful to Bulger, even with flaws

        He launched a badly misguided pass that was intercepted at the Arizona 2-yard line.
        This remains an area that needs improvement. Besides that ONE play I think Bulger played a good game against a fired up Cardinal team that was allowed to stay in the game via turnovers. Eliminate those turnovers and the game is not even close, but let a team like the Cardinals hang around and build up confidence and trouble brews quickly.

        Comment

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        • RamWraith
          Bulger didn't really defeat Kurt's ghost
          by RamWraith
          By Bryan Burwell
          St. Louis Post-Dispatch
          09/18/2005
          Bryan Burwell


          TEMPE, ARIZ. He's been competing against the legend of Kurt Warner for more than three years now, but until now Marc Bulger figured it was always this impossibly elusive, ethereal thing. How exactly are you supposed to chase a ghost of greatness, anyway? This was never a fair fight, and he knew it. It was as fruitless as grasping at clouds or clutching at a whiff of smoke.

          But Sunday afternoon in the energy-draining desert heat inside Sun Devil Stadium, Bulger was no longer chasing the wispy apparition of Warner's magical past. This was tangible stuff. This was a head-to-head, winner-take-all showdown that could have allowed Bulger to finally measure up fairly against his old mentor.

          But at the end of this long day, even after Bulger's Rams had beaten Warner's Arizona Cardinals 17-12, the simple truth was that Bulger didn't do quite enough to douse the flames of this heated, passionate football morality play between Warner's past and Bulger's future.

          This game could have been the defining statement game that finally would make Warner lovers find just a smart place in their hearts for Bulger, too. But instead, his numbers were nothing spectacular - 18 of 29, 216 yards, one touchdown, one interception, four sacks, one fumble - and they could have been a lot better.

          For the second week in a row, the 28-year-old passer was not as sharp as he could have been.

          "I'm curious," he asked me as we stood in front of his locker stall as his teammates slowly filtered out of the cramped old place. "What are you comparing us to, '99 to 2001, or last week?"

          There's a large slice of folks who always will compare everything Bulger does (or more accurately, doesn't do) to everything Warner did do during his halcyon "Greatest Show on Turf" years. I'm not so demanding. I'd just like to see a little more of the Bulger who was so dazzling towards the end of last season.

          "You know," I told him, "You had a chance today to close the door on all this Kurt versus Marc stuff."

          "Oh really?" he said, chuckling. "And how's that?"

          "Well, if you had put up some better (passing) numbers," I said.

          Like a fine defense attorney, Bulger objected. "Look at this week's NFL statistics. It shows that we're ranked at or near the top in total offense after last week (fourth in the NFL, first in the NFC), and what good did it do us last week? We still lost. So we didn't get the numbers this week, but we won," he said with a slight shrug of the shoulder, and a sly smile.

          "You guys can pick apart the stats all you want, but I've told you before and I'll say it again. All I care about is winning."

          Winning is the...
          -09-19-2005, 06:23 AM
        • RamsInfiniti
          For the Bulger haters ....
          by RamsInfiniti
          Rams quarterback Bulger absorbs unfair criticism
          By Bryan Burwell
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          11/03/2008

          In victory or defeat, Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson are always the most interesting guys in the Rams locker room. Bulger, the quarterback, is the conservative, calculated introvert; Jackson, the power running back, is the definitive swashbuckling extrovert. Bulger often dishes details in quiet moderation, dodging around controversy like a nimble dancer. Jackson often hurls himself directly into the teeth of a maelstrom with bold proclamations.

          But in the eyes of some St. Louis Rams fans, these two conflicting personalities will always be one and the same. In good times and bad, in victory or defeat, Bulger and Jackson wear the dreaded labels of The Replacement Players, never to be judged for who they are, but always for who they are not.

          Bulger isn't Kurt Warner.

          Jackson isn't Marshall Faulk.


          On Sunday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome, they both heard and felt the wrath of those unsatisfied fans throughout the course of a 34-13 loss to Warner's Arizona Cardinals. Any time the Cardinals come to town, Bulger knows what to expect. He is going to be measured (and drawn and quartered, too) by the scoreboard and the stat sheet comparison with the Super Bowl hero he replaced six seasons ago.

          "If you want to put the blame on me (for why the offense struggled), well, I don't care," Bulger said in a quiet but combative voice. "Oh, I know everyone's going to say it's my fault. They're going to say I'm throwing off my back foot or crap like that. But you know what? I don't care what people say. All I care about are what my teammates and my family says. Everyone else? I don't give a damn."

          After seven years of this never-ending Bulger vs. Warner saga, the Rams QB no longer concerns himself with trying to win an unwinnable public debate. Those who love Warner will always love Warner, and bash Bulger. He gets that better than most. He knows that nothing shy of five Super Bowls and a Hall of Fame induction will get the haters off his back. He also knows that games like this will supply ammunition to those who always seek to praise his good friend at his expense.

          So as he stood in front of his locker stall, he prepared for the barrage because he knew there was no question that the former understudy was outplayed by his old mentor. Warner threw for more yards (342 to 186), had a better completion percentage (67 percent to 48 percent), a higher pass-efficiency rating (120.0 to 60.9), and was never harassed or frustrated by the pass rush like Bulger was. Warner is running one of the NFL's most potent offenses, and Bulger is laboring with one of the league's worst outfits (28th).

          On Sunday, that Rams offense turned from bad to worse. Within the first few minutes, Bulger was stuck with no running...
          -11-03-2008, 08:19 AM
        • r8rh8rmike
          Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?
          by r8rh8rmike
          Time right to let beat-up Bulger go?

          Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          11/26/2009

          When Marc Bulger took over as starting quarterback for the Rams, life was good. Bulger was able to carry on a winning tradition for a while. He led the remnants of the "Greatest Show on Turf" to a 12-4 record in 2003, and appeared to be a legitimate successor to a beaten-down Kurt Warner.

          In perhaps his finest singular highlight, Bulger threw a beautiful, precise pass to tight end Cam Cleeland for the winning touchdown to lead the Rams to a thrilling victory at Seattle in the 2004 NFC wild-card game. Bulger played well in 2006 and signed a six-year, $65 million contract extension in the summer of '07. The job had its rewards, that's for sure.

          But all along, Bulger was in a precarious situation. The franchise was about to blow up, and Bulger happened to be the quarterback standing near the tripwire. He wasn't going to be able to survive the carnage, not without paying a severe price.

          When Bulger slowly limped off the field at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday, he carried the weight of another Rams loss. The comeback stalled; Arizona knocked out Bulger and the Rams 21-13. Bulger was in pain ... again. The most serious of the injuries, a broken shin bone, was discovered Monday in an MRI exam.

          We may have seen the last of Bulger in a Rams uniform. He'll be sidelined for three to six weeks. The Rams (1-9) have only six games remaining, and it would be crazy to play him and expose him to more punishment.

          I've been critical of Bulger the last two-plus seasons. The quality of his performance declined rapidly since the end of the 2006 season. But I'm not without empathy. Much of Bulger's downfall can be explained by the circumstances surrounding him.

          I think I came up with the term "Battered Quarterback Syndrome" and applied it to Bulger. A quarterback can absorb only so many body slams, cracks to the ribs and blows to the head before he loses effectiveness.

          Bulger became the favorite rag doll of NFL pass rushers. He's been sacked 242 times since the start of the 2003 season, the most among NFL quarterbacks. And that doesn't include the hundreds of times he got drilled while releasing throws.

          If this is it for Bulger, then what is his legacy?

          A sad one.

          With excessive amounts of pain, frustration and losing.

          Bulger had to replace the eternally popular Warner a thankless task for obvious reasons. The Rams were 40-17 with Warner as a starter, advanced to two Super Bowls and won Super Bowl XXXIV. Moreover, Warner was a two-time league MVP and a Super Bowl MVP.

          Best of luck living up to that standard. Any quarterback who followed Warner would have to deal with baggage, comparisons and resentment. It's always...
          -11-25-2009, 11:55 PM
        • RamWraith
          Rams quarterback Bulger absorbs unfair criticism
          by RamWraith
          By Bryan Burwell
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          Monday, Nov. 03 2008
          In victory or defeat, Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson are always the most
          interesting guys in the Rams locker room. Bulger, the quarterback, is the
          conservative, calculated introvert; Jackson, the power running back, is the
          definitive swashbuckling extrovert. Bulger often dishes details in quiet
          moderation, dodging around controversy like a nimble dancer. Jackson often
          hurls himself directly into the teeth of a maelstrom with bold proclamations.

          But in the eyes of some St. Louis Rams fans, these two conflicting
          personalities will always be one and the same. In good times and bad, in
          victory or defeat, Bulger and Jackson wear the dreaded labels of The
          Replacement Players, never to be judged for who they are, but always for who
          they are not.

          Bulger isn't Kurt Warner.

          Jackson isn't Marshall Faulk.

          On Sunday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome, they both heard and felt the
          wrath of those unsatisfied fans throughout the course of a 34-13 loss to
          Warner's Arizona Cardinals. Any time the Cardinals come to town, Bulger knows
          what to expect. He is going to be measured (and drawn and quartered, too) by
          the scoreboard and the stat sheet comparison with the Super Bowl hero he
          replaced six seasons ago.

          "If you want to put the blame on me (for why the offense struggled), well, I
          don't care," Bulger said in a quiet but combative voice. "Oh, I know everyone's
          going to say it's my fault. They're going to say I'm throwing off my back foot
          or crap like that. But you know what? I don't care what people say. All I care
          about are what my teammates and my family says. Everyone else? I don't give a
          damn."

          After seven years of this never-ending Bulger vs. Warner saga, the Rams QB no
          longer concerns himself with trying to win an unwinnable public debate. Those
          who love Warner will always love Warner, and bash Bulger. He gets that better
          than most. He knows that nothing shy of five Super Bowls and a Hall of Fame
          induction will get the haters off his back. He also knows that games like this
          will supply ammunition to those who always seek to praise his good friend at
          his expense.

          So as he stood in front of his locker stall, he prepared for the barrage
          because he knew there was no question that the former understudy was outplayed
          by his old mentor. Warner threw for more yards (342 to 186), had a better
          completion percentage (67 percent to 48 percent), a higher pass-efficiency
          rating (120.0 to 60.9), and was never harassed or frustrated by the pass rush
          like Bulger was. Warner is running one of the NFL's most potent offenses, and
          Bulger is laboring with one of the...
          -11-03-2008, 11:26 AM
        • RamWraith
          Playoffs will be the ultimate test of Bulger's ability
          by RamWraith
          By Bernie Miklasz
          Of the Post-Dispatch
          Thursday, Jan. 06 2005

          The best thing that ever happened to Marc Bulger was getting injured. When
          Bulger went down with a shoulder injury, and Chris Chandler took over for two
          starts, we saw what life without Bulger was really like.

          And it was quite ugly. The offense crashed. The Rams were stranded. The team
          was in a crisis. Quick, sound the bugle call ... or the Bulger call.

          Bulger returned, with the Rams needing to sweep their final two regular-season
          games to inch their way into the NFC playoffs. In victories over the Eagles and
          Jets, Bulger completed 74.2 percent of his passes for 675 yards and four
          touchdowns. Save for one poor red-zone interception against the Jets, Bulger
          performed brilliantly.

          "He's played marvelously this year," wide receiver Isaac Bruce said.

          Still, as the Rams prepare to barrel into Seattle for Saturday's first-round
          playoff game, Bulger is in a tough spot. Critics will always hold it against
          him because he replaced Kurt Warner. Others will insist that Warner is still
          better than Bulger. (He isn't.) And though skeptics will concede that Bulger is
          the right man for now, they won't fully be converted until Bulger books the
          Rams into a Super Bowl.

          That's what Warner did. Fair or not, it's the standard for quarterbacks in St.
          Louis. Bulger is the first to be held to it. And it didn't help that Bulger
          flunked his first test, last January, getting intercepted three times (with no
          touchdowns) in the overtime playoff loss at home to Carolina. With a chance to
          go for a winning touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter, coach
          Mike Martz feared another interception and settled for a tying field goal.

          In the aftermath, Martz thought about going back to Warner as the starter. He
          thought about trading for prospect Drew Henson, who ended up in Dallas. But
          after reviewing the 2003 season, Martz came to the conclusion that Bulger was
          close to being the QB that Martz needed for this offense. Martz invested a new
          contract in Bulger and released Warner.

          So far, it's paying off. Bulger improved this season in completion percentage,
          yards per passing attempt, touchdown-interception ratio and passer efficiency
          rating. He connected on more deep throws. Teammates voted him the Rams MVP.

          "I've been a lot more consistent this year," Bulger said Wednesday at Rams
          Park. "I've learned a lot from last year ... as long as I didn't repeat the
          same mistakes this year I thought that I would be better, and fortunately I
          haven't."

          Ah, but questions remain ...

          Can Bulger play QB outside...
          -01-07-2005, 05:40 AM
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