Final

Bengals 10

(8-7, 3-5 away)

Rams 27

(12-3, 8-0 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 21, 2003

 

1 2 3 4 T
CIN 0 10 0 010
STL 7 10 3 727

Cincy in trouble in AFC North

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Playing for a first-round bye and at least one playoff game at home, where they've won a franchise-record 14 in a row, was more than enough incentive for the St. Louis Rams.

Marshall Faulk scored two touchdowns, Torry Holt had his 10th 100-yard receiving game and Grant Wistrom tied his career best with 2½ sacks as the Rams avoided a letdown a week after clinching the NFC West. In the process, they knocked the Bengals from a first-place tie in the AFC North with a 27-10 win.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Bengals: Regardless of whether they make the playoffs, what are some areas of need for '04?
The Bengals need to secure a stud defensive lineman, particularly one who'll be a stalwart for more than a few years. That's why as tempting as it may be for them to get a veteran in free agency, it might be a better idea for them to get one in the draft. That way they'd have a player who'd contribute for the next 10 to 15 years as opposed to five or six.

Question on the Rams: How much of an impact will the Isaac Bruce injury (ankle sprain) have on the Rams?
The impact this injury has on the Rams will depend on how well the rest of the offense steps up. This injury won't affect WR Torry Holt too much because he's going to get double-teamed no matter who's playing opposite him. That means the play of QB Marc Bulger and especially RB Marshall Faulk is extremely important. If those two guys can continue their high level of play, the Rams will be in good shape.

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

"We had probably the best week of practice we've had all year," Wistrom said. "We went out focused every day and that's the way this team has played all year long.

"We've always had a very business-like attitude."

Baltimore shut out Cleveland and leads the Bengals (8-7) by a game heading into the final weekend, with the Bengals finishing at home against the Browns and Baltimore home for the Steelers. The Bengals hold all the relevant tiebreakers if the teams end with the same record.

"The mind-set is that things are not in your hands any longer, but take care of what is in your hands, and that is the football that you have next to play," quarterback Jon Kitna said. "Regardless of what happens with Baltimore, you want to go out and win your last game."

Kitna was intercepted a season-high three times and the Bengals were shut out in the second half.

Chad Johnson had seven catches for 115 yards, setting a franchise single-season record with 1,326. He also might have invited another fine from the NFL because he wore orange shoes in violation of the uniform code.

Johnson was fined $10,000 for a preprinted sign after he scored the first touchdown in a victory over the 49ers last week, the third time he's been fined this season for touchdown celebrations. During the buildup to the Rams game he said he had two more games this season, apparently meaning two more fines.

"It hurts to practice hard all week and come out with a loss," Johnson said. "They're the greatest show on turf, we're the greatest improvement on grass."

The Rams, who broke a 7-7 second-quarter tie and were never caught, finished 8-0 at home. Their winning streak in the Edward Jones Dome broke a record they set from 1998-2000.

"I know people understand how difficult that is to do in this league, but we have an advantage here," coach Mike Martz said. "And we are very proud of that advantage, the 12th man, and the St. Louis fans."

The Bengals were held to 99 yards rushing by a team that had been allowing 160.5 yards the last five games, ending a run of six straight 100-plus games.

"The first quarter they ran a little bit," defensive end Leonard Little said. "We adjusted and they didn't get anything else."

Marc Bulger was 24-for-38 for 229 yards, with touchdown passes of 28 yards to Holt in the second quarter and 9 yards to Faulk early in the fourth. That score put the Rams ahead 27-10.

Holt caught 10 passes for 124 yards to help the Rams compensate for the absence of Isaac Bruce, out with a mild high ankle sprain sustained last week.

Faulk had 121 yards on 22 carries, his fifth 100-yard game in six weeks. His touchdown catch was his first in his last 11 games, dating to Oct. 20, 2002, against the Seahawks.

"I don't worry about the numbers and how they stack up," Faulk said. "As long as I move the chains and score the touchdowns and do the things that make this offense go, I'm satisfied."

Both teams were missing a receiver, with the Bengals' Peter Warrick out following arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday.

Tommy Polley picked off Kitna's pass in the first quarter. Adam Archuleta got his first of the season in the third quarter. Jerametrius Butler ended the Ravens' best chance to score in the second half with an end zone interception midway through the fourth quarter.

Kelley Washington, the replacement for Warrick, caught a 2-yard TD pass from Kitna in the second quarter.

Game notes


WBA Welterweight boxing champion Cory Spinks of St. Louis, wearing an Archuleta jersey, was introduced on the field before the game. ... Holt has 10 100-yard receiving games, breaking the franchise record set by Bruce in 1995. He's tied with Charley Hennigan, Herman Moore and Marvin Harrison for the second-most 100-yard games in NFL history, and one off the record set by Michael Irvin in 1995. ... Eddie Brown held the Bengals' single-season receiving record with 1,273 yards in 1988.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERCINSTL
cinFG0:04Shayne Graham 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 50 yds, 0:43
1017
stlFG4:51Jeff Wilkins 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 67 yds, 2:26
710
FIRST QUARTERCINSTL
stlTD2:02Marshall Faulk, 1 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 51 yds, 4:10
06
SECOND QUARTERCINSTL
cinTD8:43Touchdown
Drive info: 9 plays, 57 yds, 5:11
67
FIRST QUARTERCINSTL
stl1:59
Drive info: 9 plays, 51 yds, 4:10
07
SECOND QUARTERCINSTL
cin8:40
Drive info: 9 plays, 57 yds, 5:11
77
stlTD0:52Touchdown
Drive info: 8 plays, 55 yds, 2:23
716
THIRD QUARTERCINSTL
stlFG3:45Jeff Wilkins 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 48 yds, 5:05
1020
FOURTH QUARTERCINSTL
stlTD14:54Touchdown
Drive info: 7 plays, 45 yds, 11:41
1026
SECOND QUARTERCINSTL
stl0:47
Drive info: 8 plays, 55 yds, 2:23
717
FOURTH QUARTERCINSTL
stl14:54
Drive info: 7 plays, 45 yds, 11:41
1027