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Gordon rushes for TD, Bulger passes for two

9/29/2003

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Rams found the solution to
becoming a dominant team again: playing the Arizona Cardinals.

The Rams held the ball for more than two-thirds of the game,
getting good work from Lamar Gordon, and limited the Cardinals to
161 yards total offense in a 37-13 victory Sunday. That came a week
after a one-point loss in Seattle in which they lost a 13-point
fourth-quarter lead.

Question on the Cardinals: So do Boldin and Johnson have a future as Arizona's top two receivers?
There's no doubt about it. Boldin has come in and become a leader on this team at an exceptionally young age. He wants to be one of the best receivers in the league and is on his way. The biggest question is are they going to be Cardinals in the future. The Cardinals have done a terrible job of retaining their own talent and it'd be a shame to let two more good, young players go elsewhere.

Question on the Rams: Has Bulger been good enough to end the QB debate?
Yes, Bulger is the best quarterback on the Rams. He's won with Marshall Faulk and without him. He's won with less weapons than Kurt Warner and has earned the starting job. Quite simply, Bulger has won. At a certain point a coach has to look at what a player is doing now for his team and not what another player did in the past. That time is now for Coach Martz.

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

"I was a little concerned, but we practiced extremely well,"
coach Mike Martz said. "They were upset by what happened and they
wanted to rectify that."

The Cardinals (1-3) were 0-for-8 on third down, the first time a
team has been shut out on third down this year. The last time the
Rams held an opponent to zero third-down conversions was Dec. 11,
1983, in a 21-7 loss to the Patriots when New England was 0-for-11.

"If you don't do things that you're capable of doing, you get
your behind torn up like we did today," said Emmitt Smith, held to
25 yards in 12 carries and scored on a 1-yard run, his first TD as
a Cardinal.

As Marshall Faulk nursed a broken hand that will sideline him
four to six weeks, Gordon ran for 81 yards on 21 carries and scored
the game's first touchdown in his first start of the season. Gordon
capped the Rams' first drive with a 3-yard TD run.

"I was feeling it, getting in the groove, and the line was
dominating," Gordon said. "We were having fun out there."

Marc Bulger threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third in
his third start since replacing Kurt Warner, including a 7-yarder
to Torry Holt that put the game away at 30-13 early in the fourth.
He was 28-for-41 for 272 yards.

"We were able to run the ball and pretty much do what we
wanted," Bulger said. "When you can dictate the game, that's
huge."

The Rams (2-2) led 20-7 at halftime. Josh Scobey had a 100-yard
kickoff return in the third quarter that briefly cut the deficit to
10 points, but the Cardinals couldn't keep the St. Louis offense
off the field -- the Rams had an 83-36 advantage in plays and held
the ball for 42:27.

St. Louis had four scoring drives that lasted more than 10
plays, and ate up more than eight minutes before Bulger's 2-yard
run for the final touchdown.

"There's no way you're going to have a successful game against
that offense or any offense playing that kind of defense,"
Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis said. "They converted third downs at
will. We blitzed, they converted. We covered, they converted."

Jeff Blake was 10-for-17 for only 88 yards.

"We didn't have the ball enough to make anything happen,"
Blake said.

Rookie Anquan Boldin caught seven passes for 86 yards for
Arizona, setting NFL records for most catches (30) and yards (464)
in his first four career games.

Bulger scrambled before hitting Dane Looker on a 6-yard score
near the end of the first quarter for a 14-0 lead, and Jeff Wilkins
added field goals of 24 and 53 yards in the second. Bulger also had
a 7-yard TD pass to Torry Holt that made it 30-13 in the fourth
quarter.

Wilkins, who is 10-for-11 this season, added a 31-yarder in the
third quarter for a 23-7 lead before missing on a 39-yarder late in
the third.

Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce caught four passes for 58 yards,
and set the franchise career record for receiving yards. Bruce has
9,790 career yards in 10 seasons and previously had set franchise
marks for receptions and receiving touchdowns.

Bruce was overshadowed on Sunday by Holt, who tied his career
best with 12 catches for 133 yards.

Game notes
Gordon saw limited action in the fourth quarter due to a sprained left wrist. ... The Rams opened the game with touchdowns
on their first two drives for the first time since Dec. 30, 2001,
when they beat the Colts 42-17 -- also their last 40-point effort.
They scored on seven straight possessions at home over a two-game
period before Bulger's interception at the end of the half. ...
Cardinals OG Leonard Davis missed his third game with a sprained
ankle. ... Wilkins' 53-yard field goal was his longest since a
54-yarder against the Saints on Oct. 28, 2001. His career best is
57 yards against the Cardinals in 1998. ... Blake surpassed 20,000
yards passing in the second quarter. ... Holt has 19 career
100-yard receiving games, two this season.