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Rams' Bruce tops 10,000 career yards in 34-24 win

10/19/2003

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- From Brett Favre's perspective, facing the St.
Louis Rams' defense was just like trying to beat the Buccaneers.

Question on the Packers: Is it injuries or a lack of talent that is most responsible for their defensive struggles?
A lack of speed on the defensive side of the ball is killing this team. Too often they are being beaten to a spot by opposing offensive players. They must address this need in next year's draft or in free agency.

Question on the Rams: How have the Rams thrived despite all of the injuries?
Marc Bulger has been the cure for what ails the Rams. He's seamlessly stepped into Kurt Warner's shoes and led this team despite having an average running game.

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

The Rams' unheralded unit, led by former Bucs assistant Lovie
Smith, was the key to a 34-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers on
Sunday. They stuffed Ahman Green, slowed Favre and forced four
turnovers.

"I'm not saying that team's as good as Tampa yet," Favre said.
"Are they as disciplined as Tampa yet? No, nobody is. Are they
close? Yes, they are."

Marc Bulger threw three touchdown passes to raise his record at
home to 9-0, and Isaac Bruce became the 18th player in NFL history
to top 10,000 yards receiving for the Rams. But it was the defense
that allowed St. Louis (4-2) to overcome Bulger's two interceptions
and some second chances handed out by the Rams' special teams.

"A couple of turnovers, some tipped balls, but there's nothing
you can do about that," Bulger said. "Our offensive line and the
defense stole the show."

The game plan concentrated on controlling Green, not Favre.

Green entered with three straight 100-yard rushing games,
totaling 433 yards in that span, then was held to a season-worst 35
yards on 20 carries. He broke free only once, on a 21-yard screen
pass for a touchdown in the second quarter.

"Favre is going straight to the Hall of Fame as soon as he's
done, and he's great," Rams defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said.
"But Green is the key to the whole deal, and we focused on that."

Green also fumbled for the second straight game, ending a drive
at the Rams 29 late in the first half. His fumble in overtime last
week led to a loss to the Chiefs.

"You've got one guy hanging on you and another guy comes in and
pokes at the ball," Green said. "What can you do?"

The Packers ended up with 372 total yards, but 76 came on a
touchdown run by Najeh Davenport with 1:48 to play.

"Our defense is pretty quick," defensive tackle Brian Young
said. "We were able to fill the gaps when we needed to."

Favre threw two touchdown passes for Green Bay (3-4), but his
effort at a comeback fizzled after a 1-yard TD toss to William
Henderson pulled Green Bay to 21-17 in the third quarter.

Favre's career record in domes fell to 12-21. He went 23-of-32
for 268 yards with an interception, a big comedown after leading
the Packers to an average of 36 points the previous three games.

"I am impressed not only with their scheme, but with the level
of intensity," Favre said. "I thought they were a good team going
into the game and that has not changed one bit."

The Rams' offense had problems, especially early, as Bulger
looked indecisive at times.

Also, the Rams' special teams had 12 men on the field in the
first half, handing the Packers a fourth-and-short that they
converted en route to a touchdown. The Rams handed out another
first down in the third quarter with an offsides penalty, and
Jerametrius Butler was called for holding on the first two kickoff
returns.

The Rams won without running back Lamar Gordon, who left in the
first half with a left ankle injury, leaning instead on undrafted
third stringer Arlen Harris. They did the job on defense without
outside linebacker Tommy Polley, who left with a dislocated left
elbow in the third quarter.

Torry Holt caught four passes for 67 yards and two TDs.

Bruce had nine catches for 129 yards, his second 100-yard game
of the season. He topped 10,000 yards in the fourth quarter. Bulger
and Dane Looker also hooked up on a 20-yard scoring play in the
third quarter with Looker somehow tight-roping down the sideline
the last 10 yards.

Both teams made a lot of mistakes in the first half, combining
for five turnovers. The Rams did more things right as Bulger threw
a pair of touchdown passes to Holt, and Harris added a 3-yard run
for a 21-10 lead.

The Packers lost three fumbles, one each by Green and Davenport,
and another when the ball hit up-back Al Harris on punt return
coverage.

Bulger and Holt took advantage of that turnover on a 39-yard
pass play for the game's first touchdown. Bulger again connected
with Holt for a 9-yard slant pattern with 57 seconds to go, capping
a 10-play drive.

Game notes
Rams SS Adam Archuleta was among the inactives with a
sprained left ankle, but hopes to play next week. ... Holt has
seven touchdown catches, tying his career best for a season with 10
games to go. ... Favre has thrown a touchdown pass in 16 straight
games, six shy of the franchise record Cecil Isbell set in 1942.
Favre's career best is 18 in a row from 1997-98.