Rams 17

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Dolphins 10

(0-1, 0-1 home)

8:00 PM ET, August 6, 2001


1 2 3 4 T
STL 7 3 0 010
MIA 3 7 0 717

Defense keys Rams' victory in Canton

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Without Kurt Warner throwing a pass or Marshall Faulk touching the ball, the St. Louis Rams still beat the Miami Dolphins in the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame game.

Josh Heupel

Dolphins quarterback Josh Heupel is corralled by Jermaine Benoit for a fourth-quarter sack.

They can thank their new defensive approach.

"I'm very pleased with the effort defensively. We're learning the discipline of defense," St. Louis coach Mike Martz said. "It's going to take some time. We know it. But we're willing to work at it."

Marc Bulger tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Robinson early in the fourth quarter and the Rams beat the Dolphins 17-10 Monday night.

The Rams retooled their defense after last season, hiring a new coordinator and new line, secondary and special teams coaches. They also added six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Aeneas Williams, linebackers Mark Fields and Davis, linemen Cedric Jones and Tyoka Jackson and safety Kim Herring. St. Louis also used all three of its first-round draft choices on defenders: tackle Damione Lewis, safety Adam Archuleta and tackle Ryan Pickett.

Warner, the NFL's MVP in 1999, played only one series and didn't attempt a pass. His backup, Joe Germaine, was 11-for-13 and ran for a score. Last year's MVP in the NFL, Faulk, didn't even play.

With almost all of the frontline players for both teams watching from the sidelines, Bulger, in his second year after not getting in last season with New Orleans, hit two key passes as the Rams drove 57 yards in six plays.

On third-and-1 at the Miami 49, he tossed a 15-yard pass to Trung Canidate, who sprained a ligament in his knee on the play. Bulger found Robinson on a play-action pass on second-and-goal.

"It sure feels good to get that first touchdown, but I've got a long way to go," Bulger said. "Last year in New Orleans I never even saw the field. So I'm already ahead of a things here. That's not to say that I don't have a long, long way to go."

Canidate caught four passes for 77 yards and also rushed for 26 yards.

Rams' Justin ACL damage?
The St. Louis Rams fear that backup quarterback Paul Justin may have suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee during Monday's Hall of Fame exhibition game, ESPN's Scott Walker reported.

Justin was injured in the second half of the Rams' 17-10 victory over the Dolphins. He was 1-for-2 passing for 23 yards.

Justin, 33, will undergo further tests this week.

The Dolphins' best shot at tying the game ended when Josh Heupel, who led Oklahoma to the national championship last season, threw a pass through the end zone with 1:53 remaining.

Another pass by Heupel into the end zone fell incomplete on the final play.

Miami gained 25 yards on its first play of the exhibition season, a pass from Jay Fiedler to Rob Konrad. On the next play, however, Fiedler's pass was tipped by linebacker Don Davis and was intercepted by Dexter McCleon.

The Dolphins avoided any glitches on their second possession, going 70 yards in 11 plays capped by Lamar Smith's 2-yard run. Fiedler was 3-for-3 on the drive for 43 yards -- each pass good for a first down.

"I was pleased with our first offense," Miami coach Dave Wannstedt said. "I think Jay was a little nervous on the opening drive. We ran the ball well and Jay made some plays."

The Rams scored the next 10 points, all with Germaine at quarterback. He completed both attempts for 25 yards, leading to Jeff Wilkins' 34-yard field goal, then hit on all five of his passes in a 59-yard drive that he capped by keeping up the middle for a 2-yard touchdown.

"They've got me doing a little more running," Germaine said after carrying twice for seven yards. "Four years at Ohio State, I never scored."

Germaine passed for 156 yards, double anyone else in the game.

"Whatever it takes to move the chains: running, throwing, a draw, a sneak -- I'm all for it," he said.

St. Louis was 10-6 in the NFC West last year and earned a wild-card berth in the playoffs, losing to New Orleans 31-28.

The Dolphins' Olindo Mare kicked a 45-yard field goal on the last play of the half to tie it at 10.

With the score still 10-10 late in the third quarter, St. Louis drove to a first down at the Miami 1. After being stopped for no gain on first down by Dolphins safety Shawn Wooden, Canidate fumbled the ball and it was recovered in the end zone by Wooden.

Backup quarterback Ray Lucas strained his back and didn't play in the second half for Miami. The Dolphins also lost defensive end Jason Taylor with a shoulder injury and running back J.J. Johnson with a knee injury.

The Dolphins are coming off a surprising 11-5 season in which they won the AFC East and then won their first playoff game before losing 27-0 to Oakland.

"Well, we haven't peaked yet," Martz cracked. "But we're better at this stage this year. The first quarter we flopped, but as the game wore on we made the plays."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


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