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ST. LOUIS 30, ARIZONA 27 (OT)

Rams Alone in First

November 24, 2003|From Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — Through good and bad, and there was plenty of both, Marc Bulger is the St. Louis quarterback.

Four interceptions and a lost fumble gave Ram Coach Mike Martz every reason to pull Bulger in favor of Kurt Warner. He didn't, and Bulger directed scoring drives at the end of regulation and in overtime to lead the Rams to a 30-27 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Jeff Wilkins tied it with a 22-yard field goal at the end of regulation, then won it with a 49-yarder with 10:22 left in overtime to give St. Louis its seventh victory in eight games. The Rams (8-3) are alone in first in the NFC West.

"If I wasn't confident in Marc, he wouldn't have been out there at the end of the game -- end of story," Martz said. "If I was going to do anything I'd have done it in this game. This is the last time I'm going to say this: Marc Bulger is our quarterback."

It was the second straight week Wilkins kicked a game-winner. His 31-yarder last week beat the Bears in Chicago, 23-21.

Jeff Blake threw two second-half touchdown passes to rookie Anquan Boldin and the Cardinals (3-8) rallied from a 14-point third-quarter deficit to take a 27-24 lead.

Bulger led the Rams on a 16-play, 82-yard drive to the Arizona seven -- converting two third downs and a fourth down on passes to Torry Holt -- and Wilkins' 24-yard field goal tied it, 27-27, as regulation ended.

St. Louis took the ball in overtime, moving from its 14 to the Arizona 31. Bulger ran 18 yards on the drive, and threw nine yards to Dane Looker to move into field-goal range.

"I can't apologize for how I play and throw," Bulger said. "I'm going to keep throwing it downfield regardless if I have 10 interceptions, until Coach Martz tells me not to. That's the way I play. I'm an aggressive player."

Boldin caught six passes for 123 yards to fall a yard shy of tying the NFL record for the quickest to 1,000 yards receiving by a rookie. He has 66 catches for 999 yards.

After completing his first nine passes to give St. Louis a 14-0 lead, things turned sour for Bulger, who was 28 of 44 for 329 yards and a touchdown. Two of the interceptions were by Renaldo Hill, who returned the first 70 yards for a touchdown and set up the tying touchdown with the second.

Marshall Faulk ran for 100 yards and a touchdown. Holt caught nine passes for 145 yards. Marcel Shipp rushed for 95 yards for Arizona.

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