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ST. LOUIS 23, CHICAGO 21

Rams Awaken From Slumber

November 17, 2003|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — Coach Mike Martz's gamble and Marshall Faulk's gallop gave the struggling St. Louis Rams the boost they needed.

Trailing the Chicago Bears, 14-3, in the third quarter Sunday, Martz signaled his offense to go for it on fourth and one from the Ram 40-yard line.

And Faulk made the decision click.

He broke off a 52-yard run that set up a touchdown -- getting the Rams back in the game -- and they rallied to beat the Bears, 23-21, on Jeff Wilkins' 31-yard field goal with 38 seconds left.

"We were sputtering so bad on offense and misfiring, and we had to make a play. I knew if we were going to win the game, we had to make one of those plays," Martz said.

The Rams (7-3) weren't through taking risks on a misty and overcast day at Soldier Field. After Marc Bulger's four-yard touchdown pass to Torry Holt, following Faulk's long run, cut Chicago's lead to 14-10, St. Louis surprised the Bears with an on-side kick. Arlen Harris recovered at the Ram 41 on a play upheld by video review.

"I don't agree with the call. I don't think they should have been awarded the ball," Bear Coach Dick Jauron said. "I think the ball hit one of their players and they blocked us before the ball had a chance to go 10 yards."

But the Rams got the ball right back and in 13 plays moved for a score, using another fourth-down conversion from the Bears' 37. Bulger flipped a four-yard pass to Brandon Manumaleuna with 12:46 to go, giving the Rams a 17-14 lead.

"We were just trying to make things happen. It was slippery and ugly out there," Martz said of the on-side kick.

Wilkins' go-ahead field goal in the closing seconds came after the Rams moved 67 yards behind six completions from Bulger, including a key 21-yarder to Holt on third down. The drive was aided by consecutive penalties for illegal contact and illegal use of the hands on the Bears.

Jerry Azumah returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards for Chicago (3-7), but the Bears couldn't get close enough for a field-goal attempt, and Chris Chandler threw incomplete on the final play.

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