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Warner struggles as Rams drop to 5-7

12/2/2002

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Backed by a dominant defense, the
Philadelphia Eagles proved they can win with their No. 3
quarterback. The St. Louis Rams still haven't won without theirs.

Question on the Eagles: How big was this win for the them?
To win another game without your best player, it says a lot about the coaching staff and the defense. Philly's D scored the only touchdown in this game, which is what you need from your D when your star QB is out. Defense is the difference right now between Philly and Miami. Both teams are missing their starting QBs, but the Eagles' D is picking up the slack.

Question on the Rams: How big was this loss for them?
It's devastating for the organization, because they were seen as Super Bowl favorites before the season. The Rams haven't played well with Kurt Warner at the helm since last year's NFC championship game. Backup QB Marc Bulger was winning with the same personnel, so I question the QB change. With Warner, I'm not sure if it's after-effects from his injury or his timing -- or just that we've already seen the best of Kurt Warner. It looks like the Rams have a QB decision to make this offseason.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Bobby Taylor returned an interception of Kurt Warner 23 yards
for a touchdown, and third-string quarterback A.J. Feeley did just
enough to help Philadelphia beat the Rams 10-3 Sunday in a rematch
of last season's NFC championship game.

The NFC East-leading Eagles (9-3) shut down St. Louis'
once-potent offense, forcing five turnovers and sacking Warner
eight times, including four by backup defensive end N.D. Kalu.

"When we go out and play and there's no letdown in any quarter,
there's no team we can't beat,'' All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins said.

Feeley, starting his first game since his junior season at
Oregon in 1999, completed 14 of 30 passes for 181 yards, and lost
one fumble. He played because Donovan McNabb is out with a broken
right ankle and Koy Detmer has a dislocated left elbow.

"It felt great. It's been a long time since I played a whole
game,'' said Feeley, who started eight games his junior season,
before getting hurt and losing his job to Joey Harrington.

Warner, the NFL MVP last season, was 20-for-42 for 218 yards and
two interceptions. He also lost a fumble in the first quarter, and
lost 9 yards when he dropped the ball on a pump fake.

The Rams (5-7), who beat the Eagles 29-24 in the conference
title game 11 months ago, are 0-6 when Warner starts. They won five
straight when No. 3 quarterback Marc Bulger stepped in after backup
Jamie Martin went down in his first game playing for Warner, who
broke his pinkie in Week 4.

"We made mistakes all across the board,'' said Warner, whose
right hand was wrapped in ice after the game. "In the past, we've
always been able to overcome it. For whatever reason this year, we
haven't.''

The Eagles took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter when Taylor
stepped in front of a pass intended for Torry Holt and ran it back
for a TD.

David Akers made a 31-yard field goal with 4:59 left in the
first half. The Eagles had a first down at the St. Louis 12 after a
41-yard pass from Feeley to Todd Pinkston, but they had to settle
for the field goal.

Jeff Wilkins' 22-yard kick cut it to 10-3 right before halftime.

St. Louis, which had the No. 3 offense in the NFL, finished with
just 250 yards.

"Defensively, we knew we had to play well,'' Taylor said. "We
had no injuries on defense. We had no excuses.''

Marshall Faulk, who missed the last two games with a sprained
right ankle and a strained tendon in his left foot, ran for 29
yards on nine carries. The Rams lost All-Pro tackle Orlando Pace in
the first half because of a hamstring injury.

"We're trying to win,'' Rams coach Mike Martz repeated three
times when asked why Faulk played even though he wasn't fully
healthy.

Feeley didn't get much help from his receivers. Cecil Martin and
Antonio Freeman dropped early throws, and Brian Westbrook dropped a
long pass early in the second quarter. Freeman dropped one in the
third quarter, and James Thrash couldn't hang onto another in the
fourth. And Feeley had a 24-yard TD pass to Thrash nullified by a
penalty on left tackle Tra Thomas.

"He played well, he was composed, he was into it,'' Eagles
coach Andy Reid said.

Feeley might be Philadelphia's starter for a few more games.
McNabb could miss the rest of the regular season and possibly the
playoffs. Detmer was expected to be out two-to-five weeks.

Philadelphia can clinch the division title with a win next week
at Seattle and a loss by the New York Giants at Washington.

Warner returned last week and threw for 301 yards and two
touchdowns, but the Rams lost to Washington 20-17. He had Isaac Bruce open in the end zone on third-and-10 in the third quarter,
but underthrew and was intercepted by Troy Vincent.

Both teams traded fumbles on consecutive plays late in the
second quarter. Rookie safety Michael Lewis forced a fumble by Holt
that was recovered by Taylor at the Rams 29. Dorsey Levens gave it
back on the next play when he was hit by Tommy Polley.

Game notes
Taylor's TD was the second of his eight-year career.
He returned an interception 18 yards for a score against the New York Giants on Oct. 3, 1999. ... Isaac Bruce got his 600th career
reception on a 28-yard catch in the second quarter. ... Thomas, a
Pro Bowl selection last season, had three penalties, including the
one that voided the TD pass, and allowed one sack in the first
half. ... Akers, an All-Pro last season, is 24-for-26.