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Rams' Defense Stops to Conquer

October 20, 2003|From Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — From Brett Favre's perspective, facing the St. Louis Rams' defense was like trying to beat the Buccaneers.

The Rams' unheralded unit, led by former Tampa Bay assistant Lovie Smith, was the key to a 34-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The Rams stopped Ahman Green, slowed Favre and forced four turnovers.

"I'm not saying that team's as good as Tampa yet," Favre said. "Are they as disciplined as Tampa yet? No, nobody is. Are they close? Yes, they are."

Marc Bulger threw three touchdown passes to raise his record at home to 9-0, and Isaac Bruce became the 18th player in NFL history to top 10,000 yards receiving for the Rams. But it was the defense that allowed St. Louis (4-2) to overcome Bulger's two interceptions and some second chances handed out by the Rams' special teams.

"A couple of turnovers, some tipped balls, but there's nothing you can do about that," Bulger said. "Our offensive line and defense stole the show."

The game plan concentrated on controlling Green, not Favre.

Green came in with three straight 100-yard rushing games, totaling 433 yards in that span. The Rams held him to a season-worst 35 yards in 20 carries. He broke free only once, on a 21-yard screen pass for a touchdown in the second quarter.

"Favre is going straight to the Hall of Fame as soon as he's done, and he's great," Ram defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "But Green is the key to the whole deal, and we focused on that."

Green also fumbled for the second straight game, ending a drive at the Ram 29 late in the first half. His fumble in overtime last week led to a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

"You've got one guy hanging on you and another guy comes in and pokes at the ball," Green said. "What can you do?"

The Packers ended up with 372 yards, but 76 came on a touchdown run by Najeh Davenport with 1:48 to play.

Favre threw two touchdown passes for Green Bay (3-4), but his comeback try fizzled after a one-yard touchdown toss to William Henderson pulled Green Bay to 21-17 in the third quarter.

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