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St. Louis at New England

Faulk grab lifts Patriots over Rams; St. Louis streak ends

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Short-handed but sure-handed, the New England Patriots grabbed another win.

Kevin Faulk grasped a 15-yard touchdown pass just inbounds with 3:13 left -- holding onto the ball despite being hit by St. Louis Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa -- and the Patriots had their go-ahead touchdown.

Deltha O'Neal pulled in another ball on a juggling interception with 1:08 remaining and the Patriots rallied for a 23-16 win Sunday.

Inconsistent most of the day without three sidelined running backs, the Patriots (5-2) held on when it mattered most, winning a tight game six days after routing Denver 41-7. The Rams (2-5) played without injured runner Steven Jackson and lost for the first time since Jim Haslett succeeded the fired Scott Linehan after an 0-4 start.

"We're behind in the fourth quarter and it was up to us to come back in the face of a little adversity," quarterback Matt Cassel said. "There's going to be, I'm sure, a lot of (tight games) down the road."

And, barring still another injury to a depleted backfield, Faulk will be there to help.

In his 10th season, all with the Patriots, Faulk has come through in many roles -- runner, receiver, returner and old reliable.

"It seems like you can always count on Kevin, no matter what phase of the game it's in," coach Bill Belichick said. "Whatever he can do to help us win, he'd do -- mop the floors, he'd mop them."

The Patriots' best pass-catching running back held onto Cassel's TD pass on the left edge of the end zone. Two receptions by Randy Moss gained 26 yards and set up the winning touchdown.

"That's something I learned from Randy," Faulk said, "not sticking your hands out early, letting the ball come to you, right in the breadbasket."

Faulk shouldered a bigger running load than usual with Laurence Maroney out for the season and the top two backups in the ground game, Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan, sidelined. But Faulk did what he does best -- catch the ball -- just in time.

"He is going to make catches where most people wouldn't even touch the ball," fullback Heath Evans said.

Until then, St. Louis' Josh Brown and New England's Stephen Gostkowski each kicked three field goals. BenJarvus Green-Ellis' 2-yard run on the Patriots' first possession had given them a 7-3 lead. Then the Rams went ahead 10-7 on a 69-yard pass play from Marc Bulger to Donnie Avery.

"The numbers don't count if you can't get the win," said Avery, a rookie who also had receptions of 35 and 44 yards.

The 69-yarder was the longest pass play of Bulger's career, 2 yards more than his hookup with Torry Holt on Oct. 15, 2006, against Seattle.

"Four weeks ago, we would have looked at this game as a win" because it was close, Bulger said, "but we're disappointed."

The Rams couldn't overcome the absence of Jackson, their leading rusher and receiver who missed the game with a strained right thigh muscle. And defensive end Leonard Little left in the first half with a hamstring injury.

"They had excellent field position all day and we didn't," Haslett said.

Faulk led the Patriots with 60 yards on 13 carries and added four receptions for 47 yards. Cassel was 21-for-33 for a career-high 267 yards as the replacement for Tom Brady.

The winning drive began at the Patriots 47 after a punt. Cassel was sacked for an 8-yard loss by rookie Chris Long on the first play. But then he connected with Moss for gains of 23 and 3 yards before a 7-yard run by Faulk gave the Patriots a first down at the Rams 28.

Cassel threw an 8-yard completion to Moss and Faulk ran 5 yards before Cassel lofted the winning throw into Faulk's hands.

"We knew we had to play perfect and we didn't play perfect," Tinoisamoa said. "Cassel made a great throw. Faulk made a great catch."

Notes

  • Moss had seven catches for 102 yards, his 58th game with at least 100. Marvin Harrison is second in NFL history with 59.
  • The Rams played for the first time in Gillette Stadium, which opened in 2002. The Patriots are 24-4 against first-time visitors there.
  • Patriots CB Ellis Hobbs left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Kevin Faulk secures this fourth-quarter pass from Matt Cassel for the game-winning touchdown.
 
Kevin Faulk secures this fourth-quarter pass from Matt Cassel for the game-winning touchdown. (Getty Images)
 

 

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Sun. Oct. 26Final
373316
7601023
STL - Pass: M. Bulger (18-34, 301), Rec: D. Avery (6-163)
NE - Pass: M. Cassel (21-33, 267), Rec: R. Moss (7-102)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
FGJosh Brown 20 Yd, 8:49. Drive: 12 plays, 66 yards in 6:11.
TDBenJarvus Green-Ellis, 2 Yd run (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good), 1:43. Drive: 13 plays, 73 yards in 7:06.
2ND QUARTER
TDDonnie Avery, 69 Yd pass from Marc Bulger (Josh Brown kick is good), 14:14. Drive: 5 plays, 88 yards in 2:29.
FGStephen Gostkowski 30 Yd, 1:49. Drive: 12 plays, 68 yards in 5:15.
FGStephen Gostkowski 27 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 4 plays, 37 yards in 0:19.
3RD QUARTER
FGJosh Brown 44 Yd, 8:03. Drive: 6 plays, 17 yards in 3:23.
4TH QUARTER
FGJosh Brown 25 Yd, 12:25. Drive: 8 plays, 57 yards in 3:55.
FGStephen Gostkowski 41 Yd, 8:22. Drive: 6 plays, 28 yards in 2:13.
TDKevin Faulk, 15 Yd pass from Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good), 3:13. Drive: 7 plays, 53 yards in 3:44.
Players of the Game

R. Moss
Rec 7
Yds 102
Avg 14.6
TD 0
Kansas City

D. Avery
Rec 6
Yds 163
Avg 27.2
TD 1
 
St. Louis
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
M. Bulger18/3430111
RushingATTYDSTDLG
A. Pittman1983018
T. Minor4804
K. Burton1000
D. Kreider1000
D. Avery1-10-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
D. Avery6163169
D. Hall447019
K. Burton241027
T. Holt328011
A. Pittman32208
New England
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
M. Cassel21/3326712
RushingATTYDSTDLG
K. Faulk1360014
M. Cassel722011
B. Green-Ellis91614
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
R. Moss7102030
W. Welker779020
K. Faulk447118
J. Gaffney117017
B. Watson113013
D. Thomas1909
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
CIN 6 Final
HOU 35
IND 21 Final
TEN 31
SEA 34 Final
SF 13
NYG 21 Final
PIT 14
CLE 23 Final
JAC 17
ATL 14 Final
PHI 27
KC 24 Final
NYJ 28
SD 32 Final
NO 37
BUF 16 Final
MIA 25
WAS 25 Final
DET 17
TB 9 Final
DAL 13
ARI 23 Final
CAR 27
OAK 10 Final
BAL 29