ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Celebrating victories in St. Louis is nothing
new for Kurt Warner. It was running off the field to the visitor's
locker room that distinguished his latest triumph.
The St. Louis Rams' former hero won his first game in the town
where he produced a pair of Super Bowl teams and a pair of MVP
awards, throwing three touchdown passes in a 38-28 victory against
his old team on Sunday.
"As special as it was, I'm two years removed now and I don't
feel like I'm as much a part of this organization as I did when I
first left," Warner said. "You still have a lot of friends, I
still love those guys over there and still enjoy competing against
Warner's first game in St. Louis since the team released him
before the 2004 season was not nearly as dramatic as his emergence
in 1999 from Arena League success. Still, he doubled his season
total for touchdown passes in six starts and threw a pair of
fourth-quarter scores that gave the Cardinals (3-7) breathing room
at the finish.
This was Warner's first victory in five starts with Arizona.
"It's a continuation of the Kurt Warner story," coach Dennis
Green said. "He's got a lot of football left in him."
The Rams (4-6) took another blow to flagging playoff hopes and
lost quarterback Marc Bulger, the man who replaced Warner in 2003,
for the second time this season with a shoulder injury. Bulger, who
missed two games earlier, left with a bruise late in the third
"We expected to come in and win and get back to 5-5," safety
Mike Furrey said. "It's devastating, it's disappointing."
Bulger also sustained a mild concussion on one of three sacks by
Adrian Wilson, who also had a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
Wilson piledrived him with a blindside hit.
"I don't know if he was expecting somebody to pick me up or
not," Wilson said. "I don't know if they had a protection problem
or what, but it obviously hurt their quarterback."
Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald both topped 100 yards
receiving for the Cardinals, who split the season series with the
Rams. Boldin caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, and
Fitzgerald had nine receptions for 104 yards and a 7-yard score
late in the fourth quarter.
Neil Rackers also continued a perfect season with three field
goals, including a 51-yarder in the third quarter. He's 31-for-31
on the year, and his field goal total is a franchise season record.
Fitzgerald's touchdown was one of three by the Cardinals in the
final 8:11 that blew open the game, one of the scores set up by a
90-yard kickoff return by Reggie Swinton and a second by a lost
fumble by Rams backup quarterback Jamie Martin.
The go-ahead score was a 9-yard catch by rookie Adam Bergen, his
first career touchdown, that along with a 2-point conversion catch
by Boldin put the Cardinals ahead 24-17.
Warner was 27-for-39 for 285 yards to lead the Cardinals to a
season-high for points, and only their second 30-point effort of
the season. He threw for 327 yards but no scores in a 17-12 loss at
home to the Rams in Week 2.
The Cardinals stuffed the Rams' running game, holding Steven
Jackson to 6 yards on 12 attempts. Jackson had the team's only two
carries for minus-2 yards in the second half.
"They came out stopping the run," Jackson said. "They wanted
us to prove we could move the ball down the field and until we do
that I'm pretty sure that's what a lot of teams are going to do
Warner's return was something shy of an emotional homecoming
given the Cardinals passed on a chance to get him a pregame ovation
when they elected to introduce their defense instead. Warner got
his first -- and only -- big cheer when he led the offense on the
field for the first time early in the first quarter.
"You just never know, you're on the other side of the fence and
you're wearing a different uniform now," Warner said. "I knew
coming in I wasn't going to weigh a lot of what the response was,
positive or negative."
He waved twice to the crowd before settling over center, upon
which time the fans promptly deserted their former hero and began
cheering to drown him out.
Isaac Bruce's 46-yard catch in the third quarter put the
Rams ahead 17-16 and was the 76th of his career, tied for 20th
place with Fred Biletnikoff and Harold Jackson. ... Warner fell 15
yards shy of becoming the Cardinals' first quarterback to throw for
300 yards in three straight games. ... Rams OG Blaine Saipaia, who
split time with Adam Timmerman, sustained a concussion.