Final

Titans 27

(1-2, 0-2 away)

Rams 31

(2-1, 1-0 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 25, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
TEN 10 0 14 327
STL 0 17 7 731

Top Performers

Passing: M. Bulger (STL) - 292 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Brown (TEN) - 20 CAR, 83 YDS

Receiving: T. Holt (STL) - 9 REC, 163 YDS, 1 TD

Bulger has three TD passes, pick, two fumbles

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Rams needed a last-minute defensive stand for a victory over the Tennessee Titans, and Leonard Little flashed back -- not to his team's 2000 Super Bowl win, but to a fresh memory from seven days ago.

-->
It was over when ...
Steve McNair's pass in the end zone to Drew Bennett was incomplete. The Titans turned it over on downs with just 29 seconds remaining, and Marc Bulger took a knee to end it.
Game ball goes to ...
Adam Archuleta, whose 85-yard return of a McNair interception in the second quarter got the Rams, trailing 10-0, on the board. The Titans never fully recovered after that.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen On third down the Rams need to start thinking about what Marshall Faulk can do for them. The Rams have to find a spot for him because he's still a great player. If that means lining Faulk up in the slot as a third or fourth receiver then so be it. He's a great talent and while Steven Jackson is the future, they have a great option in Faulk and need to utilize him while they have him.
-- Eric Allen

Marc Bulger threw three touchdown passes and the Rams survived a controversial replay ruling in the fourth quarter to hang on for a 31-27 win Sunday. Last week the Rams held off a down-to-the wire drive by the Arizona Cardinals to win by five points.

"I had thoughts of last week," Little said. "We played pretty good last week except for the last drive, and we knew if they got into the red zone they'd have a chance to throw it into the end zone.

"They never did get that far," he said.

The Rams (2-1) won their only Super Bowl when Mike Jones' overtime-saving tackle of Kevin Dyson at the 1 preserved a 23-16 victory over Tennessee. In their first meeting since, the Titans drove to the St. Louis 23 in the final minute and had two shots at the end zone before running out of downs.

"I thought it was coming together, we did the things we had to do at the end," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "We had time, we just ran out of downs."

The Titans converted three turnovers into 17 points while the Rams got an 85-yard interception return from Adam Archuleta for a touchdown.

Torry Holt caught nine passes for 163 yards in the first three quarters and Kevin Curtis' 10-yard catch on the first play of the fourth quarter was the go-ahead score for the Rams.

Steve McNair was 24-of-39 for 261 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Titans (1-2). It took Tennessee, which was leading 10-0 and appeared close to another score early in the second quarter, a long time to recover from Archuleta's return.

Bulger was 21-of-28 for 292 yards with an interception; he also fumbled three times, losing two. The third was recovered in the fourth quarter by first-round draft pick Alex Barron, who was making his pro debut.

The Titans, who made it to the Super Bowl in 2000 with the help of a questionable lateral known as the "Music City Miracle," cut the gap to four points on a similar play in the fourth quarter.

With the Rams leading 31-24, Bulger's swing pass to running back Steven Jackson appeared as though it might have gone forward before falling incomplete. But there was no whistle and Peter Sirmon scooped up the ball and returned it 41 yards to the Rams' 29 with 10:26 left.

The Rams challenged the call and the St. Louis offense and Tennessee defense stayed on the field throughout the review process, an indication that the call would be overturned. But referee Tom White said there was inconclusive evidence and the play stood.

"I do that every day, that's what I do for a living," Bulger said. "That's a hot route. But it's neither here nor there now, we won and we don't have to go kill the ref."

The Titans said White did the right thing.

"Our people upstairs said it was clearly a lateral," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "You have to have an awful lot to overturn it, and I was right there and I felt like it was a lateral."

A third-down sack by Little forced a 39-yard field goal by Bironas that cut the Rams' lead to 31-27 with 6:02 to go.

Fans booed the officials at every opportunity the rest of the game.

The Titans outgained the Rams 111-5 in the first quarter and scored on a 16-yard pass from McNair to Ben Troupe and a 41-yard field goal set up by an interception by Tank Williams. Bulger said the Rams were confused at first by Tennessee's defense.

"Half is not enough protection, half is my fault and half is them just doing a good job," Bulger said. "I know it's 150 percent, but I'm a little tired now."

Archuleta's third career interception reversed the momentum. He jumped on a short route for Drew Bennett and had a wide-open field for the 85-yard return that got the Rams on the board early in the second quarter.

Energized, the Rams added a 46-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins and a 13-yard touchdown pass from Bulger to Marshall Faulk for a 17-10 halftime lead. They increased it on a 32-yarder from Bulger to Holt in the third quarter.

Game notes


CBS reported Sunday that Titans running back Travis Henry would be suspended for four games Monday for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Henry had no yards on three carries and caught one pass for 16 yards. ... The Rams are 14-1 against the AFC since 1998. ... Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce missed the second half with turf toe but expects to be back next week. ... Archuleta's interception was the third of his career and first since Dec. 21, 2003, against the Bengals.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
TEN
STL
1st Downs1822
Passing 1st downs
1016
Rushing 1st downs
75
1st downs from penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
3-122-7
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays6553
Total Yards335360
Yards per play5.26.8
Total Drives1313
Passing248259
Comp-Att
24-3921-28
Yards per pass
6.08.1
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-134-33
Rushing87101
Rushing Attempts
2421
Yards per rush
3.64.8
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-40-3
Penalties11-8011-75
Turnovers34
Fumbles lost
13
Interceptions thrown
21
Defensive / Special Teams TDs11
Possession32:5027:10

Passing Leaders

TENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNair24/392616.7222-13
STLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Bulger21/2829210.4314-33

Rushing Leaders

TENCARYDSAVGTDLG
Brown20834.2020
McNair144.004
STLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Faulk6508.3014
Jackson12484.0019

Receiving Leaders

TENRECYDSAVGTDLG
Bennett69616.0043
Kinney7649.1018
STLRECYDSAVGTDLG
Holt916318.1132
Curtis55611.2121

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERTENSTL
tenTD6:28Ben Troupe, 16 yd pass from Steve McNair (Rob Bironas kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 53 yds, 3:55
70
tenFG4:07Rob Bironas 33 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 7 yds, 2:03
100
SECOND QUARTERTENSTL
tenTD12:44Adam Archuleta, 85 yd interception return (Jeff Wilkins kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 43 yds, 12:24
107
stlFG8:00Jeff Wilkins 38 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 21 yds, 4:06
1010
stlTD2:15Marshall Faulk, 13 yd pass from Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 61 yds, 2:03
1017
THIRD QUARTERTENSTL
stlTD9:38Torry Holt, 32 yd pass from Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 89 yds, 3:19
1024
tenTD3:28Brandon Jones, 4 yd pass from Steve McNair (Rob Bironas kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 33 yds, 3:24
1724
stlTD2:47Antwan Odom, 25 yd fumble return (Rob Bironas kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 21 yds, 0:00
2424
FOURTH QUARTERTENSTL
stlTD15:00Kevin Curtis, 15 yd pass from Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 79 yds, 12:29
2431
tenFG6:08Rob Bironas 31 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 3 yds, 3:58
2731