St. Louis at Buffalo

Faulk, Warner show Rams are ready to rock

SportsLine.com wire reports
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Kurt Warner saw enough in Marshall Faulk's brief but impressive performance to believe the St. Louis Rams offense is ready.

Kurt Warner has another strong performance, solidifying his hold as starting QB. 
Kurt Warner has another strong performance, solidifying his hold as starting QB.(AP) 
Faulk scored twice in his preseason debut, including a 26-yard reception, in the St. Louis Rams' 28-24 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night.

Faulk showed little sign of rust or the affects of the high ankle sprain that hampered last season.

Playing only the first half, Faulk had 43 yards rushing on 11 carries, including a 6-yard touchdown run, in which he bounced off a tackle, and made a quick burst up the right side. He added seven catches for 70 yards, and was involved in 69 percent of the Rams' first-half offense.

Those are encouraging signs for a unit seeking to return to its former "Greatest Show on Turf" heyday after struggling during last season's 7-9 finish.

"All we expect is what we did in the three years prior to last year," Warner said. "There's no question we feel we have the capabilities of doing that again."

It was OK, said Faulk.

"So far so good. This is preseason," Faulk said. "But at least I got a sense of a feel for game speed."

The outcome was determined in the second half.

After squandering a 14-0 lead, the Bills second- and third-stringers pulled out the victory on Joe Burns' 13-yard touchdown run with 2:03 remaining.

The Rams (1-2) have lost five straight preseason road games, going back to their 24-10 win at Buffalo in 2001. Buffalo (2-1) played before an announced crowd of 62,286, the third largest in the franchise's preseason history.

Faulk overshadowed what was an encouraging outing by Buffalo's Drew Bledsoe-led offense, which finally got clicking after two sub-par outings. Bledsoe completed his first seven passes and engineered scoring drives on the Bills' first two possessions.

"I think we showed what we are capable of when we don't make mistakes is what I took out of that game," Bledsoe said. "When we don't make mistakes, we're efficient. I know we can do a great job offensively."

Bledsoe finished 22-of-29 for 231 yards and two touchdowns -- an 8-yarder to Bobby Shaw and an 18-yarder to Eric Moulds -- and an interception.

That's a significant turnaround from his first two preseason games, in which he went a combined 9-of-19 for 74 yards and no touchdowns.

"He was into it. The ball was coming out of his hands real quick," coach Gregg Williams said. "It was good to see him and Eric hook up offensively."

More impressive was the chemistry between Faulk and Warner.

That was particularly evident when Warner hit Faulk for a 26-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14. Warner threaded the pass over the middle and hit Faulk in stride, a step ahead of linebacker Jeff Posey.

"We just have such a great feel for the game. We're always on the same page. And that's what makes it so nice," Warner. "You just have a feel with what he's going to do, and I know where I can throw the ball and how he's going to adjust. He makes everything better."

Warner strung together his second straight strong outing, finishing 13-of-15 for 125 yards passing in playing the first half.

Rams coach Mike Martz was impressed by how his starters played, but disappointed by how the game ended, calling the play of his third-stringers "sloppy."

St. Louis backup Marc Bulger, on his second possession of the third quarter, had a 66-yard touchdown completion to Kevin Curtis, putting the Rams ahead 21-14.

Bills Backup Alex Van Pelt hit Clarence Coleman for a 3-yard touchdown pass.

The Bills lost starting left tackle Jonas Jennings, who didn't return after sustaining a concussion late in the second quarter.

The Rams lost safety Kim Herring, who will miss up to eight weeks with a broken bone in his left forearm.

The Rams were playing without several starters, including center Dave Wohlabaugh (broken thumb), defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (ankle), Kevin Garrett (broken wrist) and cornerback Aeneas Williams.

Notes

  • Bills RB Travis Henry left the game after twisting his left foot during Buffalo's second possession. Henry was wearing a protective boot on his foot after the game, but coach Gregg Williams said that the player is fine.
  • Bills' third-string QB Travis Brown dislocated the middle finger on his throwing hand. Williams said Brown's status is still being evaluated.
  • Backup kicker Owen Pochman rounded out the Rams' scoring with an 18-yard field goal.
  • The Bills committed four turnovers, including one interception each by their three quarterbacks.


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Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
 
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QTR,
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Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDBobby Shaw, 8 Yd pass from Drew Bledsoe (Rian Lindell kick is good), 9:37. Drive: 9 plays, 71 yards in 5:23.
TDEric Moulds, 16 Yd pass from Drew Bledsoe (Rian Lindell kick is good), 2:31. Drive: 8 plays, 65 yards in 3:45.
2ND QUARTER
TDMarshall Faulk, 6 Yd run (Owen Pochman kick is good), 12:22. Drive: 11 plays, 71 yards in 5:09.
TDMarshall Faulk, 26 Yd pass from Kurt Warner (Owen Pochman kick is good), 2:42. Drive: 8 plays, 60 yards in 4:06.
3RD QUARTER
TDKevin Curtis, 66 Yd pass from Marc Bulger (Owen Pochman kick is good), 13:14. Drive: 1 play, 66 yards in 0:11.
FGOwen Pochman 18 Yd, 2:41. Drive: 11 plays, 43 yards in 5:35.
4TH QUARTER
TDClarence Coleman, 3 Yd pass from Alex Van Pelt (Rian Lindell kick is good), 11:59. Drive: 4 plays, 16 yards in 2:10.
TDJoe Burns, 13 Yd run (Rian Lindell kick is good), 2:03. Drive: 2 plays, 26 yards in 0:28.
St. Louis
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
M. Bulger9/1513910
K. Warner13/1512510
K. Farmer2/41500
RushingATTYDSTDLG
M. Faulk1143110
A. Harris181808
K. Warner218012
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
K. Curtis279166
M. Faulk760126
S. McDonald228023
T. Holt223012
I. Bruce222016
T. Edwards318014
M. Furrey115015
D. Looker115015
A. Harris312013
B. Manumaleuna1707
Buffalo
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
D. Bledsoe22/2923121
A. Van Pelt4/63711
T. Brown0/4001
RushingATTYDSTDLG
J. Burns839113
T. Henry424019
O. Gary32009
S. Morris1404
A. Van Pelt2-100
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
E. Moulds9115120
J. Reed344029
B. Shaw443123
M. Campbell42009
J. Burns118018
A. Rone113013
T. Henry2906
C. Coleman1313
P. Crosby1303
Complete Player Stats