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Collins Carries Giants Past Unreliable Rams

September 16, 2002|From Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Kerry Collins was nearly flawless for the New York Giants.

The St. Louis Rams are only looking more and more imperfect.

Collins helped his team build an early 17-point lead and the Giant defense made all the big stops in a 26-21 victory over the defending NFC champions Sunday.

"I think we have higher expectations and desires than a lot of people think, or that we're capable of," Giant Coach Jim Fassel said. "Our guys weren't going to stop unless they were going to win."

Collins completed 14 of his first 15 passes for the Giants (1-1).

"Everybody was writing us off before this game," Collins said. "But we've got some good leaders."

The error-prone Rams are 0-2 for the first time since they went 4-12 in 1998, the season before Kurt Warner led them to their first Super Bowl title. St. Louis' offense has produced 37 points in two games, and the Rams have trailed at the half in their last four games, including a 14-3 deficit in their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.

At least they're good at describing their predicament.

"We keep tying our shoelaces in knots and stumbling over ourselves," running back Marshall Faulk said.

Jason Sehorn scored the fifth touchdown of his career on a 31-yard interception return, and Matt Bryant kicked four field goals for the Giants. Faulk fueled the Rams' second-half comeback with a pair of touchdowns and finished with 87 yards in 14 carries. But he was stuffed on fourth and inches and fumbled. Michael Strahan recovered at the Ram 40-yard line with 2:53 left.

The Rams got the ball back, but William Peterson sealed the victory for the Giants when he intercepted an underthrown ball from Warner with 1:43 left. Warner was 26 for 39 for 266 yards and two interceptions as a no-huddle offense the Rams used for the first time this season wasn't a factor.

"I made too many mistakes and I lost this game for this team," Warner said. "I didn't get it done."

Collins, who threw three interceptions in the Giants' narrow opening loss to San Francisco, was 22 for 26 for 307 yards and kept his mistakes to a minimum against a defense that gave him plenty of time to pick his targets.

"I thought he played a real smart game," Fassel said. "My opinion coming out of the first two games is that I think we can throw the ball on people."

Adam Archuleta intercepted a tipped pass in the third quarter to give the Rams the ball at the Giant 37. St. Louis trailed only 20-14, but Warner fumbled it back two plays later at the New York 17.

Sehorn's interception return of a ball tipped by Kenny Holmes, who had a sack earlier in the same series, had given the Giants a 17-0 lead with 9:44 to go in the first half.

Sehorn and Ram Coach Mike Martz engaged in a war of words last season when Sehorn criticized the coach for being impatient and Martz responding, "All I know is we run by Jason Sehorn."

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