He had his third consecutive 100-yard game after going 10 games without one. It was even better that he passed a couple of childhood heroes, giving him 127 career touchdowns. Faulk now has one more TD than Brown and two more than Payton.
"That's pretty good," Faulk said. "Those are huge names, guys that I idolized, of course."
Faulk missed five games earlier this year with a broken left hand and surgically repaired right knee and returned to the lineup three games ago averaging a puny 2.8 yards a carry. The last three games he has 311 yards, a 5.1-yard average and four touchdowns.
"I don't know what all the way back is, but we are playing good right now and running the ball effectively," Faulk said. "It's just all working now."
"I can't wait to get home to hear them say, 'Marshall, Marshall, Marshall' on TV," coach Mike Martz said.
The Rams (9-3) solidified their NFC West lead -- they're tied with the Eagles for the best record in the NFC -- and won their 12th straight game at home. The North Division-leading Vikings (7-5) are sinking fast after a 6-0 start.
"Well, that wasn't very good," coach Mike Tice said. "That wasn't very good at all. We're just very disappointed. I don't know what else to say."
The Rams had a pair of one-play touchdown drives created by turnovers. Faulk broke free off left tackle for the game's first score, and Marc Bulger scored on a 12-yard scramble after Tyoka Jackson intercepted a Daunte Culpepper pass that was tipped by Tommy Polley, making it 34-17 in the third.
The defense scored a third quick touchdown when Aeneas Williams scooped up a fumble by Culpepper and returned it 90 yards in the fourth quarter. Williams' 12th career touchdown was set up by the third of four sacks by Leonard Little, returning to the lineup after missing a month with a torn pectoral muscle.
"The guy does it every single week," Jackson said. "He missed four weeks, and if he wasn't rusty he'd have gotten six sacks."
Bulger also was impressive with his arm, limiting mistakes after throwing 10 interceptions in the previous four games. He shook off a second-quarter pickoff by Brian Williams that led to a Vikings touchdown and was 15-for-20 for 222 yards and one touchdown, again emphasizing Torry Holt.
The NFL's leading receiver battled Randy Moss to a standstill, catching eight passes for 102 yards -- his eighth 100-yard game of the year. Moss caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and had 10 catches for 160 yards.
The Rams' special teams also contributed. Jamie Duncan blocked the Rams' first punt since 1996, a string of 119 games, to set up Faulk's first touchdown. Eddie Johnson bobbled the ball and took extra stutter-steps before letting the ball go.
Besides his touchdown pass to Moss, Culpepper kept the Rams' defense guessing in the first half with three carries for 65 yards, including a 42-yarder and an 18-yard carry to the 5 to set up Moe Williams' 1-yard fourth-down plunge that tied it at 17 with 51 seconds left before the half.
That was it for the Vikings. Starting at the Rams 19 with 47 seconds left, Bulger hit Faulk for 30 yards and Holt for 18 to set up Jeff Wilkins' 51-yard field goal on the last play of the half.
Culpepper was 33-for-47 for 330 yards and one touchdown, but was sacked eight times. Offensive tackle Mike Rosenthal got beat by Little for half of them.
"I didn't know what he was doing, I didn't see the film," Tice said. "I'm trying to watch 22 freaking guys out there.
"I just know they manhandled us up front with the blitz."
- Holt has 25 career 100-yard receiving games, tying Jerry Rice for the most in the first five seasons. He leads the NFL with 92 catches for 1,387 yards and Moss is second with 82 catches for 1,239 yards.
- Wilkins, who entered the game with an NFL-leading 111 points, is 28-for-30 on the season on field goals and 2-for-2 from 50 and beyond.
- The Rams' point total is their highest since a 48-14 victory Nov. 11, 2001, at home against the Panthers.
The Associated Press News Service
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