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Another Aerial Show Keeps Rams Unbeaten

October 02, 2000|From Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — After the St. Louis Rams had scored 57 points and accumulated 614 yards, Kurt Warner wanted more.

Warner passed for four touchdowns Sunday as the defending Super Bowl champions remained unbeaten by defeating the winless San Diego Chargers, 57-31, in another awesome display of offensive power.

Warner completed 24 of 30 passes for 390 yards, showing no signs of slowing down a season after winning the league and Super Bowl most valuable player awards. The Rams (5-0), who compiled the second-largest yardage total in franchise history, are averaging 43.4 points.

"I've never seen anything like that," Charger quarterback Jim Harbaugh said. "They score so fast their defense is right back on the field."

Warner had a quarterback rating of 158.3, a perfect game under the league's complicated formula. Not good enough for Warner, who gave the offense a B-plus even though the Rams never had to punt.

"No, we got a few field goals in there," Warner said. "We've got a little more than that in us."

After complaining mildly that he passed only 19 times theprevious week, Warner opened the game with 14 consecutive passes. He completed 21 of 26 for 290 yards and three touchdowns in the first half and left late in the third quarter with the Rams leading, 40-17, en route to their 14th consecutive victory in the Trans World Dome.

Warner connected on 10 of his first 12 passes, just missing on a long attempt in the end zone to Isaac Bruce and a short pass that an off-balance Marshall Faulk dropped.

"We knew their strength was against the run, so we were going to attack their weakness," Warner said. "Once we started moving the football and doing the things we wanted in the passing game, why stop?"

The Rams led at halftime, 30-10, extending their NFL record to 11 consecutive regular-season games with 30 points or more. By then, they were well on their way to earning a week off--a carrot dangled by Coach Mike Martz for the team's open date if they won.

If they had lost, the Rams would have practiced Wednesday and Thursday.

"A week off is unheard-of in the NFL," tight end Roland Williams said. "I've been telling some of my buddies from Cleveland and Jacksonville and Green Bay, and they were dumbfounded."

Warner passed for an NFL-record 1,557 yards the first four games. Now he has 1,947 for five games, and he also didn't have any passes intercepted for the first time.

Isaac Bruce and Faulk each caught two touchdown passes, and Torry Holt had one.

The scoring total was the Rams' best since a 49-37 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs last season. It was their highest point total in the regular season since a 59-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 10, 1996.

Last season, when their season point total was the third highest in NFL history, the Rams' high-water mark was 43 points against the New Orleans Saints.

Among the big plays, Warner passed to Bruce for 53 and 37 yards, Az-Zahir Hakim for 51 and Faulk for 29. Reserve running back Justin Watson had a 49-yard run in the fourth quarter and added a 12-yard touchdown run with about three minutes to play, finishing with 102 yards in 14 late carries.

The Chargers are 0-5.

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