ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Marshall Faulk still knows how to get into the
end zone, zooming past Hall of Famers Walter Payton and Jim Brown
on the career touchdown list.
Question on the Vikings: How does Tice shake the Vikings out of their funk for the stretch run?
There's nothing the coach can do to shake the Vikings up. Right now, it all comes down to the players. They need someone to step up in a leadership capacity on both sides of the ball and forcefully let it be known that they need to play better. The Vikings' offense played poorly today in a game that everyone knew would be a shootout. That's unacceptable, and the end result was an embarrassing loss to the Rams.
Question on the Rams: So is a healthy Faulk still one of the two or three best backs in the league?
Today he was, but next week and the week after, it's impossible to tell. But today Faulk did an outstanding job against the Vikings. He kept pressure off QB Marc Bulger and took advantage of a porous Viking run defense. Today was the Marshall Faulk show.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
He had his third straight 100-yard game after going 10 games
without one. It was even better that he passed a couple of
childhood heroes, giving him 127 career touchdowns. Faulk now has
one more TD than Brown and two more than Payton and is fifth on the
"That's pretty good," Faulk said. "Those are huge names, guys
that I idolized, of course."
Faulk missed five games earlier this year with a broken left
hand and surgically repaired right knee and returned to the lineup
three games ago averaging a puny 2.8 yards a carry. The last three
games he has 311 yards, a 5.1-yard average and four touchdowns.
"I don't know what all the way back is, but we are playing good
right now and running the ball effectively," Faulk said. "It's
just all working now."
Faulk had 108 yards on 17 carries and scored on runs of 18, 5
and 7 yards. He also concocted a 41-yard end-around pass from Isaac
Bruce to Dane Looker that set up one of Faulk's touchdowns.
"I can't wait to get home to hear them say, 'Marshall,
Marshall, Marshall' on TV," coach Mike Martz said.
The Rams (9-3) solidified their NFC West lead -- they're tied
with the Eagles for the best record in the NFC -- and won their 12th
straight game at home. The North Division-leading Vikings (7-5) are
sinking fast after a 6-0 start.
"Well, that wasn't very good," coach Mike Tice said. "That
wasn't very good at all. We're just very disappointed. I don't know
what else to say."
The Rams had a pair of one-play touchdown drives created by
turnovers. Faulk broke free off left tackle for the game's first
score, and Marc Bulger scored on a 12-yard scramble after Tyoka
Jackson intercepted a Daunte Culpepper pass that was tipped by
Tommy Polley, making it 34-17 in the third.
The defense scored a third quick touchdown when Aeneas Williams
scooped up a fumble by Culpepper and returned it 90 yards in the
fourth quarter. Williams' 12th career touchdown was set up by the
third of four sacks by Leonard Little, returning to the lineup
after missing a month with a torn pectoral muscle.
"The guy does it every single week," Jackson said. "He missed
four weeks, and if he wasn't rusty he'd have gotten six sacks."
Bulger also was impressive with his arm, limiting mistakes after
throwing 10 interceptions in the previous four games. He shook off
a second-quarter pickoff by Brian Williams that led to a Vikings
touchdown and was 15-for-20 for 222 yards and one touchdown, again
emphasizing Torry Holt.
The NFL's leading receiver battled Randy Moss to a standstill,
catching eight passes for 102 yards -- his eighth 100-yard game of
the year. Moss caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter
and had 10 catches for 160 yards.
The Rams' special teams also contributed. Jamie Duncan blocked
the Rams' first punt since 1996, a string of 119 games, to set up
Faulk's first touchdown. Eddie Johnson bobbled the ball and took
extra stutter-steps before letting the ball go.
Besides his touchdown pass to Moss, Culpepper kept the Rams'
defense guessing in the first half with three carries for 65 yards,
including a 42-yarder and an 18-yard carry to the 5 to set up Moe
Williams' 1-yard fourth-down plunge that tied it at 17 with 51
seconds left before the half.
That was it for the Vikings. Starting at the Rams 19 with 47
seconds left, Bulger hit Faulk for 30 yards and Holt for 18 to set
up Jeff Wilkins' 51-yard field goal on the last play of the half.
Culpepper was 33-for-47 for 330 yards and one touchdown, but was
sacked eight times. Offensive tackle Mike Rosenthal got beat by
Little for half of them.
"I didn't know what he was doing, I didn't see the film," Tice
said. "I'm trying to watch 22 freaking guys out there.
"I just know they manhandled us up front with the blitz."
Holt has 25 career 100-yard receiving games, tying Jerry
Rice for the most in the first five seasons. He leads the NFL with
92 catches for 1,387 yards and Moss is second with 82 catches for
1,239 yards. ... Wilkins, who entered the game with an NFL-leading
111 points, is 28-for-30 on the season on field goals and 2-for-2
from 50 and beyond. ... The Rams' point total is their highest
since a 48-14 victory Nov. 11, 2001, at home against the Panthers.