Final

Broncos 10

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Rams 18

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, September 10, 2006

Edward Jones Dome, Saint Louis, MO 

1 2 3 4 T
DEN 0 7 0 310
STL 3 9 3 318

Top Performers

Passing: M. Bulger (STL) - 217 YDS

Rushing: S. Jackson (STL) - 22 CAR, 121 YDS

Receiving: T. Holt (STL) - 7 REC, 80 YDS

Wilkins' record six FGs help Rams surprise Broncos

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jeff Wilkins' nickname is "Money," as in money in the bank. Thanks to the St. Louis Rams' new-look defense, his franchise-record six field goals were just enough of a deposit.

It was over when ...
The Rams' defense forced its fifth turnover with 2:26 remaining, as Jake Plummer's third interception of the game was picked off by Corey Chavous.
Game ball goes to ...
Jeff Wilkins, who accounted for all the Rams' scoring with a franchise-record six field goals (from 51, 48, 26, 38, 29 and 24 yards) on seven attempts. He also became the first Ram ever to score 1,000 points.
Scouts Inc.'s take ...
The Broncos self-destructed under the guidance of Plummer, who had three interceptions and one fumble. Running back Tatum Bell, who amassed over 100 yards, also had a fumble. Five turnovers will make it tough for any team to emerge with a victory. Denver's problems can be attributed to the pressure and disguises of the defense, led by linebacker Will Witherspoon and Leonard Little, who each forced a fumble. Chavous was a physical presence and made it hard for the Broncos get into a rhythm.

Wilkins bailed out a shaky offense, accounting for all the scoring in an 18-10 opening victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. In the process, he became the first Ram to score 1,000 points.

"He's almost automatic and when he misses one, you sit there and you're a little bit dejected because you think he's always going to make them," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We know when the game's on the line or it's really, really important, he's going to make it. He has for years now."

The Rams' aggressive schemes on defense forced five turnovers. Jake Plummer's third interception, by Corey Chavous with 2:26 to go, was the clincher.

"They made a couple of big plays, but we didn't let it shake us up and say, 'Oh wow, here it goes,'" middle linebacker Will Witherspoon said. "We dug back in and stuck our feet in the ground and went back at it."

Plummer, who was 13-for-26 for 138 yards, expects Broncos fans will be clamoring for first-round pick Jay Cutler. The Broncos committed 16 turnovers all last season and only seven interceptions.

"I'm sure they will," Plummer said. "They've been calling for him since he got drafted."

Scott Linehan's NFL coaching debut was a success, but much of it was owed to Jim Haslett, the new St. Louis defensive coordinator who was Saints head coach the previous six seasons.

"I couldn't be more proud of our team," Linehan said. "I think there's no such thing as style points in winning."

Defense ruled for both sides in a game that bore no resemblance to the last time the Rams and Broncos opened the season, a 41-36 shootout won by St. Louis in 2000. The only touchdown was a 1-yard run by Denver's Mike Bell in the second quarter.

Linehan was hired by the Rams after his success reviving the Dolphins' offense last season, and he helped the Vikings rank at the top of the league three straight seasons before that. His attack mostly sputtered in the opener, though, with Bulger looking shaky at times and the Rams mostly settling for short gains.

Linehan scoffed at criticism when the Rams' first-string offense scored no touchdowns in 11 preseason possessions. In the opener the regulars were 0-for-11 again, including the end of the game when they killed the clock at the Denver 6.

Wilkins, who tied his career best of six field goals with the 49ers in 1996, hit two long field goals, from 51 and 48 yards, and also connected from 26, 38, 29 and 24 yards.

"I always try to predict for myself to try and get ready, but six wasn't anywhere near the prediction this week," Wilkins said. "But I'll take it. I love the opportunity."

In the fourth quarter, Witherspoon tipped Plummer's pass for Rod Smith into the arms of Fakhir Brown, and Brown's 20-yard return gave the Rams possession at their 40 with 2:26 left.

Rookie Tye Hill, the Rams' first-round pick, and Chavous also had interceptions. Leonard Little had two of St. Louis' four sacks, forcing a Plummer fumble that ended up giving the Rams the ball at the Denver 3.

The Broncos' defense kept it from becoming a blowout, holding the Rams to only six points off three consecutive takeaways in the first half. St. Louis ran 23 straight plays in Denver territory at one point, but the offense kept stalling.

St. Louis held a 12-7 lead at halftime. Wilkins missed a 44-yarder on a fifth attempt in the half.

The Broncos' lone highlight came in the second quarter when coach Mike Shanahan, trailing 12-0 and frustrated by a lack of production, elected to go on fourth-and-1 from the Denver 31. Bell got 2 yards and the Broncos ended with an 11-play drive capped by Bell's 1-yard run with 26 seconds to go in the half.

Game notes


Wilkins' seven attempts tied Bob Waterfield's franchise record set Dec. 9, 1951, against the Lions. Waterfield set the previous franchise record of five field goals made in that game. ... Rams center Andy McCollum, who made his 156th consecutive start, sustained a serious left knee injury in the second quarter. ... Rams defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy broke his right hand in the first quarter and played wearing a cast. ... Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce had five catches for 64 yards and passed Henry Ellard and Shannon Sharpe for 11th on the NFL career list. He has 818 catches. ... Broncos defensive end Courtney Brown was inactive with a knee injury. ... Denver wide receiver Rod Smith had three catches for 34 yards, becoming the first undrafted player to total 800 receptions. He's 15th on the career list.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DEN
STL
1st Downs1716
Passing 1st downs
79
Rushing 1st downs
96
1st downs from penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
5-123-15
4th down efficiency
1-10-0
Total Plays5565
Total Yards259320
Yards per play4.74.9
Total Drives1012
Passing98195
Comp-Att
13-2618-34
Yards per pass
3.35.3
Interceptions thrown
30
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-403-22
Rushing161125
Rushing Attempts
2528
Yards per rush
6.44.5
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-10-5
Penalties4-3010-94
Turnovers50
Fumbles lost
20
Interceptions thrown
30
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession27:1132:49

Passing Leaders

DENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Plummer13/261385.3034-40
STLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Bulger18/342176.4003-22

Rushing Leaders

DENCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bell151036.9039
Bell10585.8136
STLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson221215.5037
Fisher372.304

Receiving Leaders

DENRECYDSAVGTDLG
Walker34113.7018
Smith33411.3019
STLRECYDSAVGTDLG
Holt78011.4023
Bruce56412.8034

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDENSTL
stlFG3:48Jeff Wilkins 17 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 15 plays, 69 yds, 7:46
03
SECOND QUARTERDENSTL
stlFG13:27Jeff Wilkins 30 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 14 yds, 1:51
06
stlFG10:28Jeff Wilkins 21 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 6 yds, 1:30
09
stlFG5:56Jeff Wilkins 43 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 38 yds, 2:34
012
denTD0:29Mike Bell, 1 yd run (Jason Elam kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 79 yds, 5:22
712
THIRD QUARTERDENSTL
stlFG11:34Jeff Wilkins 40 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 36 yds, 3:33
715
FOURTH QUARTERDENSTL
denFG14:24Jason Elam 41 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 34 yds, 3:08
1015
stlFG6:28Jeff Wilkins 16 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 82 yds, 5:36
1018